Pancha Kumar DC, 27, holds his wife Rajanpura Rokaya’s hand as they queue at the Gauriphanta border point in Kailali district in far-western Nepal. The couple, who hail from Sani Triveni Rural Municipality-2 of Karnali province, is on its way to Bengaluru, India. They are in search of jobs.
“We are neighbors to our Province Chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi. But what difference does that make?” DC asks. “He seems to have forgotten all his electoral vows.”
DC had voted in the 2017 elections. “The leader I voted for won and his party is in the government,” he says. “But even the two-third majority federal government failed to meet our expectations. Now they have dissolved an elected House and are fighting among themselves. We are distraught.” The DC couple prefers living in their own village but with no jobs or stable income, they had no option but to leave to make their ends meet.
The brother duo of Padam Koli, 27, and Niraj Koli, 23, of Dasharathchanda Municipality-5, Baitadi, also voted in the last elections. “We had high hopes that this time the government would create local jobs and people would no longer have to go to India," Padam says. "But now, we are bitterly disappointed to see them fight among themselves.”
Federal elections have been announced for April-end after the dissolution of the House of Representatives. Niraj, who works as a security guard in India, says he has no intention of coming home to vote this time. “Our votes seemingly do no more than add to the prosperity of our leaders and their families.”
The Koli brothers live with their elderly parents back home. Padam is married. Both says they will earn enough money in India to finance the education of their little brother, the youngest of the three. “But we’re still not sure what he’ll here after his studies. As things stand, he too will ending up searching for a job in India,” Niraj says.
A faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party has hit the streets after the dissolution of the federal House of Representatives. Opposition parties are also on the streets. They need people to support their respective movements. Many local leaders are already knocking on the doors, asking people to join their agitation.
“Some leaders came to our house and told us to join their protests,” says Bam Bahadur Bam of Gauriganga-9, Kailali, who was previously employed as a security guard in Pune, Maharashtra. “We refused to go but they kept coming. One reason I am going to India now is to avoid them.”
“Nepalis headed for India seem disgusted with the political situation in the country,” says Prakash Madai, program manager at Nepal Institute of Development Studies Nepal, an NGO working in the field of immigration. “People had been hoping for the creation of new employment and entrepreneurship opportunities after the formation of a strong government. That hope now appears dead.”