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The Ranju Darshana phenomenon

Friday, May 19th, 2017

ranju darshanaFrom the Nepali Press

NOTE OF DISSENT Column by Editor Krishna Jwala Devkota in Naya Patrika, 19 May

After winning the 1959 parliamentary elections by a narrow margin, a seemingly disappointed Ganesh Man Singh vented ire at a victory rally in his Kathmandu constituency: “You silly voters, you come out in droves to welcome me, but why didn’t more of you vote for me?”

Dubbed ‘The Iron Man’ of Nepal’s democracy struggle against the party-less Panchayat system, Singh led the 1990 Democracy Movement. As a native of Kathmandu, Singh’s leadership of the capital-centric movement was unopposed. So, when his wife and son lost the 1991 elections, the always blunt Singh publicly called Kathmandu’s voters “fools”.

Indeed, election results in Kathmandu have often been surprising, with heavyweights losing and newcomers pulling off upset victories.

As the head of the interim government after the fall of the absolute monarchy in 1990, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai was praised for steering Nepal’s successful transition to multi-party democracy. But Kathmandu’s voters did not trust him. UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal was widely seen as Prime Minister-in-waiting in 2008. But he bit the dust in the first Constituent Assembly elections. Maoist boss Pushpa Kamal Dahal suffered the same fate in 2013.

These surprise results are telling evidence that Kathmandu’s voters can lift candidates and bring them down. Kathmandu is the biggest beneficiary of government schemes, but is often anti-incumbent. Voters in Kathmandu behave in unpredictable ways. They will elect candidates whom they do not even know, just to show their dissatisfaction with the establishment. In the twilight years of the absolute monarchy, virtually unknown Nani Maiya Dahal contested and won elections. In the 2008 elections, most Maoist candidates in Kathmandu were outsiders and did not know their voters. Even so, they got elected. The Maoists thought they had conquered Kathmandu, but the same voters wiped them out in the 2013 elections.

The cow, the election symbol of the Hindu royalist RPP, was a surprise winner in Kathmandu in 2013. The results of local elections in Kathmandu show the cow has been washed away by Bagmati River. Even its tail is nowhere to be seen.

As the results of Kathmandu civic polls trickle in, Bibeksheel Nepali Party’s Ranju Darshana is receiving surprisingly more votes than expected. The waist coat, Darshana’s election symbol, may be too short this time, but she is just 21, and has the time to prepare herself for the next elections. But will Kathmandu give her so many votes next time?

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4 Responses to “The Ranju Darshana phenomenon”

  1. Shyam Thapa on Says:

    The denizens of Kathmandu need change in the mindset, attitude, and behaviour of the rulers. They need more, trust, honesty, sincerity and hard work from the people they vote for. More than all they need basic services like water supply, efficient public transport, liveable city with no pollution and corruption. That is why Ranju received so many votes, particularly from the youths of the city. It is beginning of change in Kathmandu and I am sure Bhibheksil party will create sensations in next election with more awareness among the people. The city needs young, honest, energetic, vibrant people like her who will work for the people and for themselves. Three cheers for Bhibheksil party. Keep the good work and spirit going and you will change the country.

  2. Kshitij Tiwari on Says:

    When you say THE….. Phenomenon in the title, people expect that phenomenon to influence a series of activities.. not the other way around (absolutely not).
    Your title is not justified and the article is very blunt, whilst all the way talking about what happened in the history and finally dedicating few last sentences to Ranju… So my question remains what is THE RD Phenomenon?

  3. Shalav on Says:

    While Ranju may be a phoenomenon, people are slowly learning and getting more impressed by Bibeksheel Nepali party. It is youth-focused, transparent, and participatory. Now, if they can find young leaders who are also honest, then they will change the landscape of Nepal for the better. Good Luck!

  4. Birendra on Says:

    NC and UML and MAO, all should be dismantled and destroyed. In their place , Bibeksheel, Shaja should shine. We can have 2 party systems of honest men and women instead of a clusters of dishonest and corrupted politicians. The future of Nepal lies in the hands of young Nepalis, not the corrupted and discredited and immoral, old men.

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