HETAUDA, May 10: The local elections which are being held after a hiatus of nearly 20 years have brought excitement not only in the towns and cities, but also in the remotest villages.
Apart from one sub-metropolitan city and one municipality, the election fever has gripped the eight rural municipalities of Makawanpur district. Candidates vying for various positions have been organizing household campaigns on a daily basis to woo the voters.
The four major political parties - the ruling CPN (Maoist Centre) and Nepali Congress (NC), the main opposition CPN-UML and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) - are the main contenders. Development issues including enhancing access to electricity, drinking water, education, agriculture and health services have been the common promises of most of the candidates.
Makwanpur has eight rural municipalities, namely Bagmati, Makanpurgadhi, Bakaiya, Indrasarobar, Manahari, Bhimphedi, Raksingrai and Kailash. NC, UML and Maoist Centre have formed an alliance in Bhimfedi Rural Municipality, Hetauda sub-metropolitan city and Thaha Rural Municipality. Candidates in the rest of the local units are vying independently.
Bagmati Rural Municipality, the once eastern business hub of Makwanpur, is seeing increased election-related activities. Chohu Bahadur Thada and Sumitra Rai are NC's candidates for the chairperson and deputy chairperson of the rural municipality. Similalrly, the UML has fielded Raj Kumar Timilsina and Dhankumari Thing for the post rural municipality chief and deputy chief respectively. The Maoist Centre has fielded Sarkesh Ghalan and Bachhu Gole Khadka, while RPP has fielded Dil Bahadur Bal and Uma Kumari Moktan as the chief and deputy chief respectively.
The growing election fever has also spread to Manahari Rural Municipality, which is widely considered as the western business hub of the district. Like in most of the places, a fierce competition is expected among the four major political parties in Mnahari. Another local unit, Raksingrai Rural Municipality has a strong presence of the underprivileged Chepang community.
Some people of the community have also opted to compete in the elections representing major parties.
Kailash Rural Municipality is one among the most rural regions in the district. Election candidates of various parties have reached there, promising development and prosperity to the locals in return of their votes.
A total of 530 candidates are vying for various posts in the election of the district. There are 215 voting centers and 227,059 voters in Makwanpur.