After much uncertainty, the preparations of Nepali Congress for its 14th general convention are finally gathering steam. The Grand Old Party has already organized ward-level conventions and municipal conventions are due soon, while the general convention is scheduled for November 25-29. The lead-up to the main event has been interesting for the party as many youngsters, including teenagers, have been elected as ward and regional level representatives. Pratik Ghimire of ApEx interviewed 10 such young regional representatives: Why join politics so young, we asked them?
Barsha Rani Shrestha, 18
Damak Municipality-7, Jhapa
In the ward that I live in, the presence of women in politics is virtually nil, and I wanted to do something about that. I want to represent women in my area in order to fight for their rights. Four other senior leaders also wanted the position I was eventually elected to, but they later agreed to withdraw and I became the consensus candidate. I know I have landed a prominent role and with it comes responsibility, but I am ready for the challenges ahead.
Even during my childhood, I found politics interesting and I later decided to join student politics. To be honest, in recent times, the Nepali Congress has erred from the path envisioned by BP Koirala. This is the reason why the party has had to face many setbacks. I think this is the right time to revive Koirala’s ideology, and only the youths can do that.
Binod Raj Joshi, 21
Malikarjun Rural Municipality-8, Darchula
The prime motivation for me to get involved in mainstream politics was my passion to take up leadership roles. There can be no national transformation without politics at its core. Lately, a discourse has started on the transformation of Nepali politics, and I decided to jump in—I am not among those who wait for the opportunity. I want to fight for my spot because it helps sharpen my skills. I don’t want to be one of those ordinary youths who only abuse the system for their benefit.
Dinesh Bhatta, 21
Shikhar Municipality-9, Doti
I belong to the geographically remote far-west region. Growing up, I had limited access to books, but I used to listen to political news and interviews on the radio. They helped hone my passion for politics and ever since, I had nurtured a dream of becoming a leader to develop my region. That was also why I joined mainstream politics and the Nepali Congress.
Jem Singh Rai, 24
Halesi Tuwachung Municipality-6, Khotang
Every situation comes with its challenges. Nepal is facing a host of challenges these days, and the youths are the ones who can find solutions to these challenges. We have the responsibility to take the Nepali Congress to newer heights as the country can move ahead only when the political parties have a strong base. This is why I joined mainstream politics. I want to help with nation-building and this convention gives me that opportunity.
Kareena Puri, 19
Melamchi Municipality-9, Sindhupalchok
Youths are the nation’s pillars. It is the youths and their convictions that have led to substantive changes in Nepal. Unfortunately, leaders from the older generation like to cling to power. Everyone knows these politicians have lost their sense of direction. Youths like me are now in politics so that we can change the system. Nepal is a young nation and only youth leaders can understand the needs and aspirations of their fellow youths.
Padama Bhushal, 22
Galyang Municipality-4, Syangja
I have a huge passion for leadership and politics is one means to get to a leadership position and help the society. As a woman, I have faced a fair share of challenges and there was a time I thought of quitting. But if I give up, the new generation will ask me why I let the status quo continue. So I took part in the convention and secured the position through consensus. My goal is to inspire women and society.
Sachin Timalsena, 28
Yangwarak Rural Municipality-1, Panchthar
Most Nepali youths believe in democracy. Young people understand politics and know how to respect other people’s opinions. This is why youngsters are actively joining politics. The Nepali Congress is a democratic party and its convention starts from the ground level. This helps youths to grow. This is the reason I chose the Nepali Congress.
Sagun Kandel, 23
Galkot Municipality-8, Baglung
A few factors motivated me to join politics. The first is that I don’t like the old faces running the country. They have repeatedly failed the system and the country. There is no spark in their leadership. Moreover, nobody is interested in fulfilling our dream of democratic socialism.
Saraswoti GC, 20
Sunkoshi Rural Municipality-2, Sindhupalchok
If we want change, we need to come forward. We do not have educated women in politics and their participation is negligible. Being a literate female youth, I started my political career with Nepal Student Union, the student wing of Nepali Congress. But when the NSU failed to hold its convention on time, I thought of getting involved in mainstream politics.