As the election date draws closer, candidates of the provincial and parliamentary election are seen more vocal and clearer about their agendas. Those in the contest have been trying to woo voters with all their might. In this context, Republica talked to the candidates from Ilam. Excerpts:
Provincial Assembly 1 (a) candidate from Nepali Congress
My candidacy is purely for democracy and development. At the same time, I am highly concerned about the issues here, in this constituency. They expect infrastructural changes. There are dreams and aspirations. People know me as an active leader and the hopes are even higher. I will not disappoint them. The only thing is they have to support me duly. I will work relentlessly to promote tourism, agriculture and industries. We do have immense resource for everything.
For instance, if we can develop only tourism, which is quite possible here, we can simultaneously succeed in other sectors as well. We have envisioned to adopt modern form of farming. Massive marketing of agricultural products is a must to help farmers reap the benefit of their hard work. So far, we have seen them working hard and yet they are always very poor. The middlemen are the ones who take all the profit. So, overall, my agenda is to work for holistic development of this place and for democracy and development.
Khinu Langaw Limbu, Provincial Assembly 1 (a) candidate from left alliance
Few women are contesting the polls. I am very much grateful to the alliance for this opportunity. I represent women, marginalized and disadvantaged groups. I understand this and I vow to work to bring changes that have been expected from me. If we talk about agenda, infrastructural development is the first thing we need. In absence of proper roads, we are not able to do quite much here.
Every kind of development is determined by transportation service. So, I have planned to upgrade all the rough roads here. Blacktopping those roads will be my priority. In every municipality, we are going to ensure at least minimum level of facilities of all kinds. Another possibility of this constituency is tourism. We all know that. But we have not been able to do much about that so far. With my victory, this place will get a leader who will work with clear vision and commitment for real development and employment for all youths.
Durga Kumar Baral, Provincial Assembly 1 (b) candidate from Nepali Congress
My association with the party is very long. I have worked relentlessly for democracy. In the local level election, I was supposed to be a candidate for the mayoral post. But at the eleventh hour, I was sidelined by the party. Then only, I had a kind of feeling that I would be considered for this time. And I thank the party for proving me right. We do have potential for hydro power here. If we could exploit this single thing, we can uplift the face of our place at once. So, if I come to power, I will put in my strong efforts for this.
Apart from hydro project, tourism and agricultural projects are in my pipeline. For tourism, the first condition is of course better transportation service. At present, there are serious issues in this sector. Our vehicles do not ply on many of the roads during rainy days. We must strive for better infrastructures. We also have few issues regarding the name and demarcation of our province. That is also a major thing to solve.
Provincial Assembly 1 (b) candidate from left alliance
All of you know about me very well. And you know why I have become a candidate. Kajiman Kagate has always been dedicated to development and social change. This left alliance has given me ticket thinking that I will indeed be an agent of the needed change.
Elderly mothers, fathers, young women, men, everyone know me as a zealous youth who they love for genuine reasons. They know that I am always for the soil and for the people. People are happy with the works I did when I was associated with several local organizations. Now, if am elected this time, I am going to change the face of the entire province. I do have that spirit and vision.
Dambar Khadka, Provincial Assembly 2 (a) candidate from Nepali Congress
I have always remained very active as a social worker. The party has rightly evaluated and given me the ticket. When I was still a student in college, I worked very hard for the party. Ultimately that was for democracy and peace.
My goal is to give continuity to all the ongoing developmental projects. I have been working in the district for the past 25 years and I know what is happening and what actually need to happen. I would love to make Ilam one of the most beautiful and most developed districts of the country.
Ram Bahadur Rana Magar, Provincial Assembly 2 (a) candidate from left alliance
I owe my ticket not only to the party but also to the voters. Actually, they created a kind of pressure. They have seen my performance and they trust me. I do feel that they are going to massively support me in the election.
So, my journey, my victory is going to be for a common cause. I shall make my people, my party, my country proud. I do have vision and concrete plans for Ilam. Ilam is a naturally blessed place. But we have not been able to do justice to it. I want to focus on tourism. This can be the number one tourism spot only if we could make few improvements. We can draw enough number of tourists from abroad and from India. For that, we got to upgrade our roads. Hospitals, schools, colleges, and so on are in my list. However, road is the first and foremost priority.
Khagendra Dewan, Provincial Assembly 2 (b) candidate from Nepali Congress
Nepali Congress stands for democracy. Nepali people have always chosen it at the time of crisis. They trust Nepali Congress more than any other party. And it quite imperative also for stability in the country. I carry the message and spirit of my party. I work hard, I will be working harder to translate my promises into reality. I have made a few promises to the voters.
They know that I am a man of action. I represent youths as well. I feel that they all are going to vote for me massively. I am of the opinion that we, the new generation, must make a difference. We do have better plans and visions. For instance, we need to adopt modern approach to develop our agriculture, tourism and other sectors. I think my victory is sure and certain.
Dhiren Sharma, Provincial Assembly 2 (b) candidate from left alliance
This constituency is my own village. So I do have fair knowledge of its history, geography, culture and social issues. When we were underground, I was actually protected by the people. So, we do have a kind of bonding. And it is due to their love and support that I got this ticket. I feel that the big leaders have failed to address people’s woes. I have to become a bridge to fill the gap. We cannot do anything if we try to move alone.
We have to embrace everyone, all the groups and work together. Here, we can massively develop agriculture and tourism. Ilam is a very rich place in itself. It only needs a great leadership. Our youths need not go abroad. We can create enough job here only. We can open cottage industries. We can engage people by opening hotels, restaurants. We should also think of religious tourism. Ilam offers every possibility.