RAJBIRAJ, Sept 12: In Tirhut Rural Municipality of Saptari, Dalit communities accounts to almost half of the total voters. Despite having 44 percent of the total voting population, ie 7,369 voters out of the total 16,818 voters, none of the political party has given election ticket to Dalit aspirants.
The second majority of voters belong to the Yadav community, accounting to 40 percent of the total voting population. All the political parties, except the main opposition CPN-UML, have given ticket to members of Yadav community in major posts for the upcoming third phase of local elections.
The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) has supported Dev Narayan Goit (Yadav) as its mayoral candidate in Tirhut while Geeta Devi Yadav got the ticket for the post of deputy mayor. The main ruling coalition partner CPN (Maoist Center) fielded Dinesh Yadav to vie in the mayoral post.
Likewise, Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN), a new political party formed recently after a merger of six fringe Madhesi parties, fielded Bijaya Kumar Yadav for the mayoral post. Another Madhes-centric party Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) has given election ticket to Hemanta Kumar Baharkhed (Yadav) while Loktantrik Forum chose Dependra Kumar Lagarwar (Yadav) as its candidate.
Meanwhile, UML has nominated Gafur Miya, who belongs to the Muslim community, for the mayoral post. The party selected Ambika Kumari Yadav to vie for the post of deputy mayor in the upcoming election scheduled for September 18, which is now just six days away.
This shows that the aspirants from the Dalit community are snubbed not only for the post of mayor but also for deputy mayor. Dalits in Tirhut are visibly very disappointed.
The situation is the same in Dakneswari Municipality, where Dalit voters account to 43 percent of the total voters. Yet, none of the party has given election access to the aspirants from the community to vie for the mayoral post.
The situation is no different in Shambhunath Municipality. Despite accounting to 35 percent of the total voters, only Kabita Sardar, a Dalit candidate for the post of deputy mayor from NC, has been provided election ticket.
Similarly, 29 percent of the total voters in Kanchanrup Municipality are from the Dalit community. Yet, the political parties there also have supported candidates belonging to Chaudhary, Gupta (Rauniya), Yadav communities and hill Brahmins for key positions in the election. The same is true for Saptakoshi, Mahadeva, Khadak and Bodebasain rural municipalities, where Dalits account for 22 to 27 percent of the total voters.
According to Bhola Paswan, director of Dalit Sarokar Manch, Dalit voters accounts to at least 22 percent of the voters in all local units in the district except in the district headquarters Rajbiraj.
“We were very much hopeful that political parties would choose local representatives based on population distribution. But our hopes have now turned into disappointment,” he said, expressing disappointment over those parties who promised for rights, identity and equal representatives.
Ramani Ram, the only Constitution Assembly member representing the Dalit community in Saptari, said he is utterly disappointed to see that political parties are treating the community only as vote banks. “Those who are poor and lack awareness cannot spend much in elections, which have become very expensive in the present context. That is why Dalits are snubbed by the political parties,” he added.