Senior citizens hope to take one last shot at polls

Published On: April 18, 2017 12:00 AM NPT By: Daman Rai

“If it won't happen this time, I don't think I will ever get another chance to vote again as I don't have much time left,” says 82-year-old Goma Dahal.

Ageing people say it is their last chance to cast vote 
KHOTANG, April 18: It has been more than 19 years since octogenarian Goma Dahal of Rupakot cast vote the last time. She was sixty- three years old during the local elections of 1997. At that time she didn't need a stick to walk.  But at 82, she can't walk without the help of a stick now.  Although she has turned weak and frail waiting for the elections, her spirit is still the same.

Some of her friends who participated in the local elections of 1997 have passed away. But she is desperately waiting to cast vote in the local elections which has been slated for May 14. 

“I am really excited for the elections and I hope it will be conducted in the stipulated date,” said Goma, adding,  “If it won't happen this time, I don't think I will ever get another chance to vote again as I don't have much time left.”

There are many others like her who have grown old waiting for the elections.  Seventy-nine years old Phatik Kumar Dahal of Rupakot Majhuwagadhi Municipality says almost all the elderly people in his locality have expressed keen desire to cast votes. “We are just like the setting sun as we don't know when we will disappear,” said Phatik.  “If elections take place, won't have to die without casting votes,” he added.

There are around 50,000 elderly people in two municipalities and eight rural municipalities of Khotang.  For many youths, the local elections will be their first experience so they are very excited to cast votes. But the elderly are no less excited as it will be their swan song.

It has been more than two decades that the country has not conducted local level elections. This time, locals don't want elections to be postponed. Elderly people are desperate to choose their representatives who can listen and solve their miseries. According to Durga Prasad Ghimire, chairperson of Senior Citizen Association, the announcement of elections has excited the senior citizens. Despite their old age, they are found participating in the promotional campaigns, mass gatherings and other election-related activities. 

“They all want to see change in their village before they die and that's why they are keeping their fingers crossed,” said Ghimire.

There were altogether 99,664 voters in the elections of the Constituent Assembly in 2013. However, more than 1, 15,644 voters are expected to participate in the upcoming local elections. All of them are counting days to vote in the elections.

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