Narhari Sapkota/Republica T-shirts printed with election symbol of various political parties showcased in a shop in Gorkha district headquarters on Wednesday.
GORKHA, May 11: It looks like no less than a festival. Bus parks are jam-packed. People carrying bags and suitcases are seen all around. Thanks to the election to the upcoming elections. People are returning home from their workplaces in cities and towns in other parts in the country. They say though traveling is costly, they do not want to miss the right to vote in the election which is happening after nearly two decades.
“If you look at the vehicles, they have stopped leaving for other destinations, people are only coming home. They will leave only after the election,” said Kapil Dhakal, 25 who got back home from Chitwan for the election. A resident of Bhimsen Rural Municipality, Dhakal added that like him most of his co-travelers did not want to miss the opportunity to elect their representative.
Since returning home he has been occupied in election-related activities. Sharing his appraisal of the public sentiment, he has found his villagers analyzing candidate’s capabilities rather than his or her political base as a selection criteria.
He feels that people’s mindset towards political parties have changed due to the long standing political instability in the country.
“If you ask me, I am going to vote for electing a youth leadership. There are many like me who have been actively campaigning for electing credible and able candidate,” he said.
The public is interested in voting for candidates who can take care of building at least necessary infrastructures that can contribute to the overall development of their area.
But above all, the district’s new leaders have another priority to focus on as soon as they take over their new responsibility. Reconstruction and resettlement of victims those are still languishing in temporary shelters and tents.
“We are looking for candidates who can expedite the resettlement process of earthquake victims. Apart from that, we want our representative to implement development plans that can boost our economic growth. Immediate actions that we are looking for is creating employment opportunities,” Dhakal noted.
“Youths like me have rushed to home despite many hassles in order to elect candidates who will promote the optimum utilization of local resources and create job opportunities. Many have already reached home; many are still on the way. This election is has brought everyone home,” he further said.
Around 40 public buses come to Gorkha district headquarters on a daily basis from different places. From the district headquarters, dozens of vehicles carry these passengers to their villages. “Mobility is very high due to the election,” Dhakal said.
Gorkha market looks busy not only due to the voters who are approaching home for election. Security personals and staffs deployed for election have made it equally a happening place.
68 polling booths too sensitive
District Administration Office (DAO) has categorized 68 polling booths in the district as very sensitive. There are a total of 260 polling booths in the district. According the office around 3500 security personals have been deployed to ensure free and fair election. “We have deployed security forces considering the sensitiveness of the area. We have around 3500 security personal to enforce security arrangements,” said CDO Jitendra Basnet. He added that the force includes temporary police, Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force.
Business at peak
Business across major towns, and the district headquarters itself has boomed in the recent weeks. Eateries, fancy shops and small stalls of several kinds of commodities are doing good business. T-shirts, flags, beverages, alcoholic drinks, snacks, stationeries, among others, are high in demand. Similarly, greater use of vehicle has triggered higher demands for fuel in the district.
“The market is doing brisk business. The election has given the feel of a grand festival,” said Nabil Sharma, a shopkeeper from Bhimsen Rural Municipality.
“Candidates might have spent millions in their campaign. Lots of people are returning home and they have been buying things for their families, relatives and friends. This has pumped in lots of money in the local economy,” he added.
Govt offices wear deserted look
It looks unusual. Government offices look totally empty since last few days. For instance, The DAO used to issue around 25 citizenship everyday while no more than five service seekers are coming for the card nowadays, the office says.
“No wonder, election has become people’s only business now. They are not coming even for most important thing like citizenship card,” said Local Development Officer, Narayan Acharya. “People have kept every other important work on hold. They want to fully devote their time to election,” he added.