Three contenders including incumbent officiating president Pashupati Murarka, former senior vice president Bhaskar Raj Rajkarnikar and former vice president Bhawani Rana filed their nomination today for the top post of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) despite formers presidents’ appeal to forge consensus among all for unanimous candidate.
Rana filed her candidacy at 1 pm, whereas Muraraka and Rajkarnikar filed their candidacy in the afternoon. Incumbent vice presidents Dinesh Shrestha and Kishor Pradhan supported hotel entrepreneur Rana, whereas another vice president Shekhar Golchha supported industrialist Muraraka, and Advertising Association of Nepal (AAN) supported media entrepreneur Rajkarnikar.
As the private sector has been passing through the difficult time, the past presidents have appealed to chose a unanimous president. Though some of the entrepreneurs still are hopeful of unanimous president, others rule out any such possibility.
In the last election one-and-half year ago, Rajkarnikar and Muraraka both had contested the election from the same panel for the post of president and senior vice president. But Rajkarnikar lost to Pradeep Jung Pandey. Rana had contested from Pandey’s panel.
But the post of president of the umbrella organisation has remained vacant since March 18, when the then president Pandey was arrested by the police, in a three-decade-old corruption case. The mid-term election — for the first time in the FNCCI’s five decade long history — for the 17th president – or some might call it 16th as they might not count Pradeep Jung Pandey after his termination from the president’s post –  is slated for July 3.
According to FNCCI statute, Murarka has become officiating president after Pandey was removed from the top post.
According to Muraraka, the private sector needs a dynamic leadership during the current difficult times. Similarly, Rana claimed that her candidacy is to strengthen the private sector. Both Murarka and Rana claimed that they are for consensus for the sake of institution, not for any individual.
The FNCCI, as an umbrella organisation of the private sector, is government’s economic policy advisor, however, the five decades old institution has passing through rough times due to internal conflict.
If Rana wins the election, she will create a history as the first female president. Likewise, if Muraraka wins, he will be second president from the Marwadi community after Binod Chaudhary in FNCCI. Despite repeated attempts for unanimous presidential candidate, knowledgable sources claimed that the elction will be held between Muraraka and Rajkarnikar and Rana will withdraw her candidacy.
Seven of the nine past presidents – including Mahesh Lal Pradhan, Padma Jyoti, Pradeep Kumar Shrestha, Rabi Bhakta Shrestha, Chandi Raj Dhakal, Kush Kumar Joshi and Suraj Vaidya – organising a press meet on Monday called for unity in the private sector. However, they have failed to strike deal between Rajkarnikar and Muraraka. But all nine – including Ananda Raj Mulmi and Binod Bahadur Shrestha – also said that they will continue their attempt to unify the FNCCI.

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