Tharus' vote dominant in Tikapur
TIKAPUR, July 2: In the second Constituent Assembly election of November 2013, the biggest three political parties - Nepali congress, CPN - UML and the CPN - Maoists were left behind by the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF) in Tikapur Municipality, Kailali. The forum was popular among Tharus and its victory in the election was due to their support. Similar scenario is likely to repeat in this year's local level election.
Election had taken place here on Wednesday amid people's overwhelming participation. The vote counting so far has indicated Forum's domination over other parties. The difference of votes between the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Forum and other parties is huge.
While the election results of five wards have been announced so far, MJF has already registered its victory in four. In the one ward, CPN - UML won. Now, there is eager wait for four other wards where MJF is in strong lead.
There are around 14,000 Tharu voters in Tikapur. The total number of voters is 39,192. It is estimated that Tharu votes determine the election result as other communities do not have such huge chunk of voters. Tharus in Tikapur openly support MJF. On the other hand, MJF has also fielded Tharu candidates for all the posts except for two. Hence, this time there is a strong speculation that Tharus votes have been swept by MJF only. The big other parties have assessed this.
The big parties had tried no less to woo Tharu voters. They had promised lots of rewards for Tharus if they support them in the elections. However, unlike MJF, their representatives were not so dominantly from Tharu community as that of MJF. Now, the election results are getting mixed reactions from the party leaders. While some have viewed it as 'not so good' indication for communal harmony, some others have taken it as something very natural.
Communal harmony is viewed as a bit more pressing issue after the Tikapur incidence where eight police personal and a toddler were mercilessly killed by agitators. This had happened following protest for separate Tharuhat province. The ugly incidence had not only weakened Tharus' demand but also created rift between communities in Tikapur for long. Locals had lamented the loss of traditional communal harmony in the town. It had taken quite long for the people to get back to normalcy after the incident. In the local level election, political parties had emphasized on development, peace and brotherhood in the town. Now with MJF taking the lead some have expressed fear for the future of communal harmony in Tikapur.
However, there are still many leaders who love to take it positively. According to Janakraj Chaudhari, who had been elected during the second CA election from MJF and became lawmaker, Tharus' votes going to Tharu candidate, do not threaten to communal accord in the region. The result, he claimed, is just an election result and it must be viewed that way only, he insists.
“The result is just an election result. It's not that a big deal. The people have different culture, their culture is harmony and nothing can disturb it,” he said. “I do not see any way the victory of Tharu candidates for MJF can pose any threats to social harmony here,” he added.
He further stated that locals must be aware even if people with vested interest, try to instigate unsocial thoughts the mind, they should check such behaviors.
“Whoever has won this time are representatives of all the people. Whether they are Tharu candidates or from other community, when they assume office, they are everyone's representative,” he stated.
Leader of Nepali congress Fakirsingh Kadayat agrees. He stated that the victory of Tharus is a matter of pride and pleasure. Since there is huge majority of Tharu community in the region, Tharus coming ahead as leaders is good, he said. He conceded that Nepali congress and other parties were not able to win the heart of Tharu community. “We have to accept the election result that reflect that the residents still don't trust major parties like the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML or the CPN (Maoist Center),” he said.
Bhairab Rawal, leader of CPN - UML remarked that it is not necessary to link the victory of MJF or Tharu candidates as for or against communal harmony. If Tharus chose their candidates, its fine, he said. “If Tharus have chosen people from their community, it's very natural. We have also voted for faces more familiar to us. Such things are party of democracy and they should be taken as positive aspects of democracy,” he stated.