Voter sentiment: We will vote for competent candidate, not just any politician

Published On: April 22, 2017 08:48 AM NPT By: Daman Rai

KHOTANG, April 22: Shivaraj Rai of Lamidada village is loud and clear which candidate would he vote in the upcoming local elections. Though he has ideological preferences, he is not going to make them the basis in choosing the candidate.

He is looking forward to vote for the candidate that he finds the most capable to be chief of his village council. He opined that since the chief is the one who can make difference to the way they are living,  he is going to support a competent and capable person, not just a political party cadre that supports an ideology. “I am looking forward to vote for the most promising, creative, selfless and competent candidate for the post of village council chief.

After all, only such a person can plan and implement development activities in our area,” he said. 

Its not only him who is looking for electing an able administrator to the post, but his fellow villagers also are looking forward to do the same, Rai said. “Everyone is discussing candidates’ strengths and weaknesses for the post. Almost everyone is interested in knowing the potentials of the candidates instead of their political background. It feels party politics is not going to affect public opinion this time,” he said.

Nirmala Rai of Majhuwagadi - 6 has similar thoughts. She is adamant on voting for the best candidate no matter which party the candidate is representing. “We might have preferences to ideologies of one or the other political party. But if there is capable candidate from parties other than your preferences, you should support that candidate keeping aside your ideological preferences. We need a capable candidate to do the executive job. That is how I take it,” she stated. “The winner must stay here with us and lead planning and implement development programs for our place,” she added.

Nirmala shared that she feels that candidates who do not have good public image have little chance to win in the election.  Locals cannot be hoodwinked by candidates, we know everyone’s character and know how they have performed in the past, so a prospective candidate should calculate their chances of winning by reflecting on their deeds so far,” she said. 

“We want someone who can develop our place as a model rural municipality. Those who have the vision and capability to translate their word into action are the ones who are going to get elected with overwhelming support,” she asserted. 

Local elections are slated for May 14. While the voter are getting better ideas on who they want to vote, political parties however are pitching their candidates without considering the voter’ sentiment. “Political parties are not giving their hundred percent in putting their best candidates. They have failed to feel the pulse of the voter,” noted Chhatra Kumar Rai of Bijaykharka. “The Rural Municipal Executive should be able create jobs, introduce new plans for economic and social development of the society. Such candidates are the need of the hour. Voter are keenly analyzing various candidates’ commitment and their public image. But political parties are not catching this voter’ sentiment,” he added. 

Economic empowerment is what now every Nepali wants and in such a scenario, no one is going to vote for someone just because of their preferences for a political party’s ideology, Kumar maintained.

The country is going to hold local elections after nearly two decades. In the race are people with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ public image. In Khotang, all the major parties - Nepali Congress, CPN - UML, CPN - UML (Maoists - Unified) and RPP are busy to pick their candidates. The selection of most parties seems to be focused on the candidate’s loyalty to the party leaderships. 

Political parties should have set some qualifying standards for nominating a candidate but most of the parties have not even put forward minimal criteria, he said. “Our representative cannot be someone who cannot read and write or someone who has earned a bad reputation. Groupism within party may give chance to incapable candidate, but voter must keep this in check while voting,” he added.

People are worried that they will have to suffer for at least five years if they ‘mistakenly elect the wrong candidate’. Khabiraj Rai of Halesi village stated that people should be given chance to elect best from the good ones. “Village councils and municipalities that have come to existence just recently are not very strong yet. They need to be strengthened economically and systematically. This change is not going to be easy,” Khabiraj said. He added that honest and dedicated representative of people alone can ensure the development of good system. “We want someone who can open the door to change. We are very backward. We have to do a lot in little time,” he stressed. 

Khotang locals demand that they want their administrator to boost the economy by developing tourism, agriculture, cottage and other industries. “Only those who have such vision are going to be our representative,” Khabiraj said.

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