Elections fervor missing in Bote Community

PALPA: With the second phase of the elections to the House of Representatives and State Assemblies just around the corner, election fever catches up almost all settlements in Palpa. But, the marginalised Bote community residing in Dailatung of Bagnaskali Rural Municipality-7, is yet to be touched by the otherwise festival with the people of this community lacking any excitement.

They are engrossed in meeting their daily needs so much that it seems no occasions like elections can make any difference in their lives. Now they have specific concern this time.

The construction of a bridge over Kaligandaki River has taken away their sources of income for sustenance, they complained.

As a result, the Bote people who are making a living through a boat riding (for others) on the river, are struggling for managing two square meals, they said. Food, roof and clothes are the first priorities of this indigenous people.

Some members of 17 Bote households of Dailatung have gone to India for manual works to meet basic needs of the family after they were displaced from their ancestral occupation, according to Bote community leader Gajbir Bote.

However, election candidates here are unaware of the real situation and grievances of this community. They have neither have tried to even feel the life they are living from closely. On the other hand, the Bote people here are undecided on whom they are to vote for, as no political party leaders has reached out to them for votes.

They complained that political leaders and candidates often show up in their settlement only during the election publicity campaign, but never converse with them face-to-face. "We hear political leaders and candidates talking about the development plans and giving assurances for creating employment opportunities to the locals only during election campaigns. We have never seen any leader at our doorsteps to take stock of our situation," they said. They have complained that no leader or organisation has so far reached out to them for development work.

The Bote people reside in Rambha Rural Municipality and Rampur Municipality in the district besides Bagnaskali. As per the 2011 national census, Palpa is home to 802 Bote people and this community makes up some 0.31 per cent of the total district population.