The elections to the federal parliament and provincial assemblies are expected to be different from the previous ones. Many voters seem to be more inclined towards new and young candidates. They see hope in independent candidates and new parties. Voters’ resentment against old established parties and their candidates is palpable. In this context, Anushka Nepal from ApEx interviewed 10 first-time voters to find out what they have to say about the upcoming elections and what they expect.
Shimran Poddar, 21
Being a first time voter, I want to give my vote to someone who is willing to make changes from the grassroots level. I want to see changes that benefit the locals directly, from their businesses to their basic needs. I will be voting from Sunsari and I want someone who is genuinely willing to represent and work on the issues faced by people from the area.
Rabindra Khadka, 22
The best candidate for me in this year’s election would be someone like Balen Shah, which I don’t see in my constituency. As a youth, I want to see a candidate like Shah, who after being elected the mayor of Kathmandu has done admirable works. Although this is not a mayoral election, someone with the same energy and ambition like Shah’s would have been a good fit to represent my constituency. But unfortunately, I don’t see that in any of the candidates.
Santosh Kandel, 21
If I was a voter from Kathmandu-4, I would without a doubt vote for Gagan Thapa. He is someone I think has a vision for this country. In my own constituency, I do see some promising new candidates, but they are unlikely to win. Nepali Congress usually gets the majority of votes from Kathmandu-1. I think it is time for our community members to move past the parties and vote for the candidate based on his or her capability.
Rose Singh, 21
I believe a political candidate should be chosen on the basis of merit and nothing else. It is high time that the issues faced by our society were addressed with proper policy measures to restore people’s faith in governance. So it is imperative for parties and candidates to preserve and promote the values of democracy.
Rajesh Regmi, 28
I am 28 years now and I have never voted in my life. The reason is I do not find anyone worthy. They all have tall promises for voters, but none are likely to fulfill them after the election. I wanted to vote this year, but, honestly, I couldn’t find any promising candidate from my constituency in Bajura. I would have voted if the ballot paper had ‘none of the above’ voting option. So, I won’t be voting this time as well.
Nikki Gautam, 22
It is high time we brought politics back to the people from the exclusive domain of a select few who are using it to cling onto power. We are people of dignity and integrity, and the old political parties and their leaders should acknowledge our needs. We need better roads, better health care and education, and better public services. Is that so much to ask? I don’t expect the old parties and their candidates to change. I demand it with no expectation. And I hope I am not the only one. It is important to vote wisely this time. I urge others to do the same.
Gehendra Dangi, 21
I am a voter from Surkhet. The candidates we elected to the House of Representatives in the past failed to address the problems faced by my constituency. I suspect that it will be the same way this time. This election, I will be voting for someone who has done comparatively better than others.
Nishant Giri, 20
I don’t have much idea about the parties, but I know that not a single one of them has lived up to the promises they have made so far. I will vote for someone who my family thinks is best. Personally, I feel that none of the parties are worthy of my vote. I will basically follow the advice of my parents. I do not have any favorite candidate or a party.
Suman Rai, 28
I do not have much of an idea on politics and I have been living outside Nepal for several years. I want to vote this year, but I genuinely don’t see someone quite worthy. Also, there are a lot of new candidates and new parties. And it is hard to believe that any of the candidates or parties will fulfill what they have promised.
Dipen Niraula, 22
Until a few months ago, I was excited about the parliamentary polls but when I saw the political parties fielding the same old, tried, tested and failed candidates, I was left frustrated. If you have this same set of people to vote and choose, why do we need the polls? Let’s select them without any contest and save all the expenses. I am in Kathmandu for my study and work but my hometown is Itahari. Why should I spend money to travel there to vote for the same candidate?