Local poll fervor grips country

Published On: March 4, 2017 01:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 4: As the country prepares to hold local elections for the first time in nearly two decades, excitement among people across the land is steadily on the rise. The election is now just 72 days away.

This election fervor is palpable not just in Kathmandu, the country's political-hub; but has also generated excitement and hope throughout the country. Republica's correspondents from various districts report about campaigning by the political parties and about locals becoming excited.

Political leaders in Sindhuli district, who were previously scattered around various parts of the country, are  heading back to their hometowns and villages to begin preparations for competing in the local elections. They are already begining to organize their campaigns in the villages to boost their electoral prospects. 

All the major parties, including Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Center) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), have intensified the wooing of local voters. 

The election fervor is also to be observed in the country's second largest city of Pokhara in Kaski district. Bhakhan Singh Tamu, politbureau member of CPN (Maoist Center), said the locals are becoming excited.

“When the last local election took place, I didn't vote although my name was in the voters' list. I was just 18 at the time and became  involved in the people's war.  This election is going to be a new experience for me,” said Tamu, who is now 38.

The current voters' list in Kaski includes thousands who were too young to vote or not even born at the time of the previous local election.

Tej Narayan Adhikari, secretariat member of the UML Kaski chapter, said lack of local elections for the past two decades has deprived a whole generation of the opportunity to participate in local  politics. “Those who wanted to get involved in local politics had no outlet. The coming election will be truly  historic,” he added.

In Siraha, the locals are taking the coming local election as an opportunity for local development. Harakatti village  used to be known as the granary of the district due to its high agriculture yield. All this changed after the Gagan River changed its course and devastated all the fertile land with sand deposits. Since then, the locals have been struggling to bring some much-needed development to the village.

As the upcoming election will secure local representation, the locals are hopeful their voices would  be heard. In lack of local representation, government officials have been arbitrarily misusing the development budgets. Examples of this abound in Harakatti, it is stated.

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