DHARAN, June 26: As the poll competition among the political parties gets stiff, all political parties in Dharan have their eye on the settlements of landless people the city for votes.
As the landless make up 25 percent of the total voters in Dharan Sub-Metropolitan City, different political parties have been centering their election campaigns to lure the landless voters.
The parties have been trying to woo the landless voters, expressing commitment to provide them land ownership certificates, permanent residences and other government benefits 'if they win'.
“Parties are taking the landless voters as the decisive voters. But the landless voters will chose the party which convince them with attractive offers,” Kumar Karki, general secretary of Nepal Basobas Basti Samrakshan Samaj, an organization working for landless people, told Republica. “In each election, the parties are using landless people as a vote bank.”
The city has 74 different settlements that are inhabited by landless people. However, the landless people have been demanding land ownership certificates and right to permanent residence as their common agenda for the last two decades.
“Land ownership certificates and right to permanent residence have been our common agenda for a long time. The political parties have time and again committed to fulfill our demands but they have been betraying us. So, we want to be sure this time that the parties are going to address our demands this time,” said Hari Rai, chairperson of the same organization, and a landless of Dharan. “We are also deprived of drinking water service and electricity.”
The landless people have strongly put their demands to the political candidates who visited them during their door-to-door campaigns.
“We have been living in this settlement without electricity, drinking water and other government support but no one has come to see our grievances,” said Sabitri Suway, another landless person.
Likewise, another landless Kanchha Tamang said that they are planning to vote a common party which will address their demands. “We have made up our mind to vote the candidate who is committed to providing us land ownership certificates, drinking water, electricity and other services. It is difficult to figure out right now which candidate will fulfill our demands though all are making promises to address our agenda,” said Tamang.
According to the landless people, the mayoral candidate of Nepali Congress has expressed his commitment to solve the landless people's problems. He has assured them that party has also mentioned it in its manifesto. However, candidates from the CPN (Maoist Center) and CPN-UML have also expressed commitment to solve the problems in their election manifesto.