People are excited about the local level elections to be held in Province 2 on September 18. They say they are going to choose genuine candidates instead of supporting political parties. As the election campaigning continues in full swing, Republica talked to the locals of Gaur regarding their take on candidates. Excerpts:
A local in his mid-forties
It is a very pleasant matter that we are going to get local representatives after so many years. When there was lack of local body it felt like a vacuum. It is good that the government took the bold decision to hold elections. First of all, I am very happy about it. We all must take it as a very positive sign. As about choosing candidates, we need to pick those who are willing to work for public and towards developing the locality. Intelligent, honest and capable person would be my choice. And that is supposed to be everyone’s choice. Our vote is very precious. We are going to hand over power to them for long time. So, we must be very conscious. It won’t work if vote now and regret our choice later. We have great development potential but we need someone who can harness them. Tourism and agriculture, especially, should be developed here so that more income generation activities are created. Candidates, who can tap into these sentiments and woe the voters with solid plans, will win the election.
Koshila Devi Paswan
An elderly Dalit woman
I am concerned about old age allowance. It is very important for us. We must get it without hassles. I will vote for those who are going to promise me that they will provide us allowance to our doorstep. When you are old, it’s good to have such facility. It’s very discomforting for us to visit the local office for getting the allowance. Sometimes we are sick and there is nobody to take care of us. In such situations, we are in need of money, medicine, and care. If the government takes care of this, this will be great welfare for the elderly. Our blessings will be always with the younger generation. I am also concerned about women’s rights. Those who are not going to torture poor women, those who treat everyone equally are our favorite. We are going to vote for such noble persons. Some people are very rude. They treat us lowly. Dalits have always faced discrimination. We want better leadership. This time, we are going to vote for very good persons.
A youth activist
Youths are used only during campaigns and movements. But they are soon forgotten by the leaders when they gain their objectives. We are now looking for different leadership. At least someone who has better vision will get our vote. The one who has the capacity to ensure holistic development, who understands the roots of the society and who is willing to bring needed changes is our priority. Most of the contestants are only politically driven. They have least interest in serving the nation and public. So, we youths here are voicing for good candidate instead of ‘popular’ candidate. Our vote is going to be decisive, I feel.
A Muslim youth
The candidates who have been there with the people during their highs and lows are going to be my choice. These representatives are from here only. So, we have very nicely felt their pulse. We can distinguish between them without much effort. We know who is going to really work for people and who is going to only make money after getting to the position. So, at least I am firm in my decision that I will not vote for wrong candidate. I have been telling the same to the people. We should not vote for party but for person. If you go with party politics you are going to give power to wrong person for next five years and that is going to be very unfortunate. We are going to help genuine candidate from the core of our heart. We got chance to recognize them also due to the recent floods.
A Muslim woman
This election is going to take place after two decades. It is very much remarkable. Earlier we were saddened by the news that here it’s going to take time. However, though in the third phase, now we are participating in the elections and it feels great. Here in the local level, Muslim women’s number is remarkable. Their support is vital for any candidate. Even though they are otherwise backward in many things, this time they are showing different spirit. They votes are up for the best candidate. They say - vote for genuine ones irrespective of the party they support. This is a great change among women. I feel that we are going to get the most deserving candidates. Muslim women have been taking part in several kinds of awareness programs of late. This has quite helped them understand politics and society. Also the reservation for women has been remarkable. So, here we are for such candidate who is going to recognize everyone’s identity, dignity, rights. The leadership which craves for health, education and overall development and women and all should be there. Muslim women are for only such candidates.
Bachan Devi Musahar
A Dalit woman
Dalits are the most underprivileged people. There is need to do something very concrete for them. They have got opportunity to come to power through this election, it is very much remarkable. However, for the betterment of all the Dalits, the government needs to have better plans and polices. Our situation is pathetic. In terms of education, health and job opportunities we stand nowhere. Caste discrimination continues to suppress us. We are living in the 21st century; however, people practice discrimination severely. This is a sign of a very backward society. For the long term solution of Dalits’ problem, the government must be very serious. Even in the election now, few Dalits are contesting higher posts. This is also something that is very remarkable. We need to make Dalits more capable.