Bhaktapur-1 voters too ‘disillusioned’ to vote

  • Newar settlements here are NWPP’s strongholds

Bhaktapur, November 16

Although Nepal Workers and Peasants Party has remained undefeated in all the five elections held after the restoration of democracy in Bhaktapur constituency-1, locals have complained that the representative they elected was mostly out of reach and were too ‘disillusioned’ to vote in the upcoming provincial and parliamentary elections.

The core Newar settlements in the constituency are the NWPP’s strongholds.  However, locals of areas like Nagarkot, Duwakot and Sundal of Changu Narayan Municipality feel they are being marginalised in their own district.

The upcoming elections have failed to bring much excitement to the locals here. Major political forces like the Nepali Congress and the left alliance seem to have given less priority to the constituency as chances of their victory there appear slim.

However, Shyam Karki, 37, of Bageswori said, “Once we elect representatives, they become inaccessible. So the NWPP’s hegemony is unlikely to continue for long.”

Some women working in the fields in Sundal expressed their concern about brick factories destroying arable land and polluting the air. They said they believed NWPP leaders backed brick kiln owners. There are more than 60 brick kilns in this area.

Ram Tamang, 54, a hotelier at Nagarkot, said the local administration in Bhaktapur was only concerned about the core tourist areas. “Had the revenue collected from tourists visiting Bhaktapur Durbar Square also been used for upgrading the road to Nagarkot, we would have been more than happy.”

NWPP Chair Narayan Man Bijukchhe remained the party’s sole candidate in five parliamentary elections held in the past.

This time, however, the party has fielded a younger candidate Prem Suwal for the parliamentary seat. Suwal is also the party’s secretary and former mayor of Bhaktapur.

Asked what he had to say about locals’ complaints, he said, “These allegations are the outcome of conspiracies hatched by the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML.”

There are 94,164 voters in Bhaktapur constituency -1.