close-icon

Parties disappoint voters again

Cilla Khatry

Cilla Khatry

Parties disappoint voters again

It’s the same old faces—those that have been elected and reelected—from which we will have to choose from once again

Balen Shah’s victory in the local elections in May earlier this year gave people a lot of hope. It seemed like the beginning of a much-needed change, said those ApEx spoke to. People wanted good, capable candidates—those who worked in favor of the people, rather than being driven by their biases and agendas. Political parties, they thought, would realize this and nominate worthy names for the federal parliament and provincial assembly elections scheduled for Nov 20.

But the names that have been registered at the Election Commission reflect a different truth: It’s the same old faces—those that have been elected and reelected—from which we will have to choose once again. Madhab Maharjan, owner of Mandala Book Point in Jamal, Kathmandu, says he is unhappy with the way things have turned out. “I can stamp the ballot paper randomly as it doesn’t matter who is elected. It’s the same lot anyway and we know how they are,” he says.

Nepali politics has always been a closed circle. Politicians favor their own. This, Maharjan points out, has been a trend in our society for eons and is unlikely to change soon. People must vote sensibly—choose the right person, rather than blindly follow a particular party, he says. Bhakti Shah, a transgender activist and member of Blue Diamond Society, says he is upset over the lack of representation of the LGBTIQA+ community in the upcoming elections. “With just nine percent of direct election candidates being women and only one from our community, the nominations paint a bleak picture,” he says.

Grishma Ojha, a faculty member at Thames International College, says she has no faith in politics. The inclusive spirit of the constitution hasn’t been honored by the political parties. The required quota for women hasn’t been met and marginalized communities have, once again, been sidelined. Ojha is going to vote as it’s a right she believes she must exercise. But she wishes people had the option of rejecting all the candidates on the ballot paper, as they do in many other democratic countries. “Only then will things change,” she says.

Political analyst Indra Adhikari says political parties’ blatant disregard of inclusion in candidate selection is shameful. Worse, she says, they will get away with it as the political nexus is strong. “Our party structure is such that there is no space for fresh faces and unless that changes, little else will,” she says.