BIRGUNJ, March 14: The country's southern neighbor India is holding Lok Sabha elections in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The voters will elect representatives for 543 seats for the next five years. Although not eligible for voting, locals living on the Nepali side of the border are following its development with keen interest. The Indian elections have become the talk of the town for Nepali settlements along the borders. The fervor is highly evident as locals discuss it from morning tea to social media. But such enthusiasm is not unexpected, said those with understanding of politics.
“Nepali people have stakes in India's elections on different levels. A strong democracy in India will have a profound impact on its neighboring countries and Nepal is no exception,” said Bijayakanta Karna, professor of political science at Tribhuwan University. According to him, election slogans, chants and political programs of Indian elections will leave deep impacts on Nepal. “It is natural for the Nepali people living along the Indian border to want good representatives for them.”As the election nears, security will be tightened in the areas. Nepali customers going to shop across the border will be fewer in numbers while the presence of Indian citizens on the Nepali side will also lessen. Every activity related to the elections will have an effect on the Nepalis living on the border, making it natural for them to take interest in the Indian elections, said political analysts.