Election drives wedge between siblings

Bajura, June 5

Manasur Malal and Hastabir Malal of Bachhyan, Himali Rural Municipality, Bajura are brothers by relation. They were in good terms just until a few weeks ago. But with the election to the local level just round the corner, they hardly speak with each other.

It’s not only the Malal brothers who have fallen out with each other lately; the upcoming local election has in fact driven a wedge in the entire village that comprises 49 households of Malal, Budha, Chandara and Karki castes.

“Just until one month ago, everything was okay, but now that the election fever has taken over the village, the villagers have been divided along political lines,” said Amar Budhathapa. According to him, the village had skirmishes between the supporters of rival Nepali Congress and CPN-UML for three days just a few weeks ago. “The row was so intense that

the supporters of rival political parties even went to cut the supply of drinking water to each other,” he added.

The political divide has also caused supporters of one political party to boycott the facilities or programmes related to the rival group. The village hosted three wedding feasts in the past one month, and the rift along the political line was quite apparent there too. Not a single NC supporter attended the wedding feasts thrown by UML supporter Manlal Budha and Birendra Budha. Also, no UML men showed up in the wedding feast organised by NC supporter Birkha Karki, said local Dil Bahadur Budha.

The rift has got more teeth now with both parties picking their candidates for ward chairperson from the same village. While NC has chosen Ammalal Karki as its ward chairperson candidate, UML has fielded Chhapkilal Budha.

“People say elections bring prosperity and unity but in our case it has engendered hatred and conflict,” lamented Ranga Chandara, 72, adding people in the village are afraid to walk alone in the village for fear of attack by the rival party.

In the wake of acrimony between the groups of rival political parties, district administration office had hosted a meeting and managed to negotiate a peace deal between the rival political groups. But, such a deal has yet to bring the villagers back to speaking terms. On his part, district police office chief DSP Dal Bahadur Bogati said police personnel have been deployed in the village in order to prevent any untoward incident.