KATHMANDU, Nov 10: When the election is near, political leaders do not hesitate to make hollow assurances and their promises seem nothing less than utopia to people.
Leaders contesting the polls from constituency 7 of the Kathmandu district have pledged to ensure 24 hours water supply to the household taps, blacktopped roads, proper sewage system and other developments works if they win the election. If one is to trust them, people won´t have to suffer any woes after the election.
However, people of Kathmandu-7 are not much surprised with the grand offerings. They know all to well that politicians tend to act in overgenerous manner around the election time.
"The marketing strategy of all the leaders seems to be same. They are relying on fake promises to influence people," said Narayan Maharjan of Goldhunga-2, Kathmandu, adding that sometimes he finds such overblown promises quite amusing.
He said that people of his settlement are reeling under acute scarcity of drinking water. The candidates have committed to ensure water supply but they provide no details when we ask how.
Nakali Maharjan, 60, of the same VDC, said that it is not difficult for her to meet the leaders as they have been making rounds of the settlement every day. "But we know that they will disappear as soon as the election is over," she said. Maharjan´s husband Somlal said that his family has to spend half an hour to fetch water. Somlal´s family has other problems too but he does not see any benefit in sharing them with the leaders as he knows that they are helpless. "We know their limitations better than they themselves," he added.
The people say that leaders speak as if they have some kind of magic rod, which they will use to resolve the woes of people. Their promises include making view towers to lure tourists and even ending the road expansion drive.
All of them claim to be locals and more familiar with the constituency than their rival candidates.
Rambir Manandhar, the CPN-UML candidate of the constituency, claimed that all the development works of the constituency is a result of his party´s contribution. "Those who claimed to make New Nepal have done nothing. People have realized that their problems can be addressed only if they vote for our party," he said.
His development agendas include turning Passang Lhamu Highway into four lanes and Ring Road into 10 lanes. "People of my constituency have been reeling under water shortage. We can bring water from Kerung of China if we can improve the condition of that highway," he said.
Manandhar said he has other development programs as well. He claimed that water of Bishnumati can be used if trunk lines are built on both sides of the river. He further said that constituency 7 can be transformed into a tourist destination.
"I have already served the area as ward chief and contributed a lot to its development," he claimed. Manandhar said that he has no competition and that his rivals will compete only for the second and the third positions.
Hisila Yami, UCPN (Maoist) candidate from the constituency, who was elected from the constituency in the previous election, claims that she knows everything about the constituency and is committed to sort out all the problems faced by the residents of the area. When asked what she has done in the constituency after winning the last election, she said that she built view tower in Goldhunga and will build more in Ichangunarayan, Jitpurfedi and other parts of her constituency.
She also claimed that she has discovered new source of water in Nagarjun jungle that can resolve the ongoing water woes of the people of her constituency.
She said that the people of the VDCs within the constituency have been demanding development.
Yami further said that she would encourage home stay in remote VDCs that will boost tourism and help the locals earn money. She had got 12,276 votes in the previous CA election while her closest rival Rajendra Shrestha of CPN-UML secured 8,815 votes.
Pramila Devi Singh Dongol of Nepali Congress (NC) claims that people of her constituency are fed up with the hollow promises of the communist leaders and in this election they will elect her. Dongol, who came third in the previous election, said, "I have asked people to give me a chance to serve them. This constituency has already elected communist leaders four times in the past, but the problems remain the same. I will bring change if I win," she claimed. She said she is well known in her constituency and people will cast vote for her contribution.
Raju Prasad Timalsena, a non-gazetted officer at Goldhunga VDC, said candidates of all major political parties have been trying their best to win the trust of the voters. He said that people have been raising development issues with the candidates. "People are well aware. They have been asking candidates to concentrate on the major tasks of the CA and development agendas," he said.
According to Timalsena, there would be triangular battle between NC, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) in the constituency.
Madhesi parties are also contesting from the constituency, though all their candidates are of hill origin. Bharat Bahadur Malakar is a candidate of Tarai Madesh Democratic Party (TMDP), Lalitman Shrestha of Madheshi People´s Rights Forum-Nepal and Yogendra Das Shrestha of Madheshi People´s Right Forum- Democratic.
Before and after winning, they say they make wild promises to develop Nepal into Switzerland, Singapore, Korea, and what not. But do they know how these countries developed, what kind of leadership is required. Like the Indian Court gave the voters right to reject all candidates by marking none of the above, we should be allowed to reject the failed leadership. Having to vote these failures over and over to power is the biggest impediment to development.