Kathmandu: Home Minister and Nepali Congress leader Bal Krishna Khand and former Finance Minister and CPN (UML) leader Bishnu Prasad Poudel have pledged to their voters to shift the provincial capital to Butwal.
Both Khand and Poudel are standing in the election to the Member of the House of Representatives (HoR) from Rupandehi district. Making Butwal as the capital of Lumbini Province is almost like the main election agenda in the district.
“We have understood the voices and opinions of all citizens in the district. We do not want to say anything why and what happened yesterday. But we will bring back the provincial capital to Butwal from the Rapti Valley of Dang,” both leaders are cited as saying to their voters during the election campaigning.
The Lumbini Province Assembly had decided to establish the provincial capital in Deukhuri of Dang. However, the people in Butwal had been protesting this move saying Deukhuri lacked the infrastructures required for the provincial capital and it was not suitable. The topic of provincial capital has become the election agenda for the citizens in Rupandehi in this election.
The residents of the district have expressed displeasure with the Province Assembly’s decision to make Deukhuri as the provincial capital. “The province capital was shifted to another place from Lumbini, which is the birth place of Lord Gautam Buddha and a centre of faith of at least one-third population of the world. There are more economic and industrial activities here compared to other places of the province. An international airport is also operated here. So, where else other than Butwal is fit for provincial capital,” they argue. Both Khand and Poudel are totally agreed with these arguments of the voters.
According to them Butwal has all the facilities and infrastructures required to be the provincial capital and it is also suitable location. “No other place than Butwal will be the capital of Lumbini Province. We are making efforts to shift the capital to Butwal,” Home Minister Khand said.
Khand is the candidate of HoR member from Rupandehi district, constituency no 3.
Stating that he was also supportive of the demands and aspiration of the local people to announce Butwal the capital of the province, he argued that other than the city could not be the capital of the cultural and historic province.
“On the one hand, it is the right of the Province Assembly, and then the province capital was announced elsewhere. However, the decision is not something that is inscribed in a stone. It can be removed. So, we will go for that.” The district has been developed as a center for economic development, and the province has been a main destination for investments and a development model, he said.
“The international airport has come into operation in the province with efforts of us all. It has its own dignity and faith. So, we are developing it as a main destination for religious and cultural tourism in the world. Elsewhere than Butwal cannot be its capital as well,” he said.
Paudel is running from Rupandehi constituency 2 under the House of Representatives from the CPN (UML).
Apart from the province capital issue, he has other problems to hear—physical infrastructure development, problems of landless squatters, education and health problems and the issue of livelihoods of local people among others.
In response, he claimed that he all the times worked for the development of the district while pledging to take initiatives to resolve all problems facing the local people in the days to come.