DANG, Nov 16: Thabang, the hotbed of the Maoist revolution in Dang, had shown firm reservation against election campaigns in the past. Stating that politicians whom they elected had neglected their plight, Thabang residents boycotted political events in the past. As a positive sign, the locality opened itself to local level elections held recently.
Subsequently, the local elections were held enthusiastically in the area. However, the fervor has failed to last.
This remote area of Dang is currently quiet as if it is totally untouched with the election fervor. Lack of election-related activities is so apparent that some of the locals claim that there will be hardly any participation in the elections from here. They claim that the feel of election has hardly entered the area.
“First thing is that they will not come out for voting. And even if some do, the percentage of voter turnover won't be over 20 percent,” said Kamal Roka, coordinator of Nepali Congress in Thabang Rural Municipality. “I think voters will not go to polling booths,” he added.
There are around 12,000 voters in this rural municipality and Roka stated that people here are not interested in elections. In fact, most of them have already made up their mind of not participating in it, he said.
“There could be two reasons for their participation in the local level elections. One is that they might have participated in local level elections just because they felt that they will get local government and then they won't have to wait for the center's approval for developing their area. And second is that because the elections involved local people, who are part of their community,” he said.
“But now, they feel there is no essence of this election. The wait for development has been too long for them. It seems that the feeling of isolation is buried deep inside them,” he added.
After the Maoists came to peaceful politics, Thabang had expected a lot from the party. It was overjoyed that the rebels it nurtured were on the right track. However, over the time, it got deeply disappointed to see that once their purpose was over, Thabang was no more able to grab the Maoist leaders' attention, Roka opined. As Thabang continued to remain neglected, the locals also turned their back to the leaders. In the first and the second CA election, Thabang residents showed zero interest.
Though local level elections went peacefully in June this year, the same is simply not likely to happen with the upcoming elections. Locals have outrightly opposed participation in election rallies and other campaign activities. And as such, the left and the democratic alliances have failed to make headway in the area.
The extent of their hate towards politicians reflected in a recent political event organized by parliamentary election candidate, Barsha Man Pun. In order to interact with the Thabang locals, Pun's team organized a mass meeting in the area and advertised that the event would also provide free health checkup facility. Despite the cover, the event saw minimal participation, most of whom were party cadres.
“Some of Pun's cadre from other parts of the district had followed Pun to Thabang. Besides them, almost no one participated from the area in the interaction program,” Roka asserted.
When Thabang locals are not interested to support even the left alliance, other parties expecting anything from them is simply futile, Roka said. Perhaps because that is well understood, other parties, like the Nepali Congress and RPP have not even tried to buzz in here.
“During the local level election campaigning, Nepali Congress was able to garner some support from the residents. The participation had led observers to speculate that the inclination of the residents might be shifting away from the leftist ideologies. However, when the results came through, it was evident that left ideology remained dominant,” Roka said.
“But this time, they are not even participating in election campaigns organized by left parties, let alone other parties. They simply don't want politics around,” he added.
Amar Singh Pun, candidate for parliamentary election from the Nepali Congress reported to Republica that the locals have warned not to carry out election-related activities in their area. “They are not allowing us to organize any election campaign activities in the area,” he said.
Amar Singh was expecting that the atmosphere in the locality would be as it was during the local elections. However, the ground reality turned out to be very different. His team was not even able to organize programs after the locals warned that only parties who have real developmental agendas should speak there.
“Community leaders said that they will let any leaders organize events in their locality unless the leaders have some real development plans for them. They denied letting us organize the events there. I reported the same to the concerned committee,” Roka shared.
He added that Thabang is fed up tall promises and politicians who make them and have now made firm resolution that they will not welcome any leader or party in their area unless they come up with some substance. “Thabang locals are done with political languages. They want real people who promise real things and do real things,” Roka said.