Rabin Sayami in Nagarik
The Madhes-based RJPN and the Netra Bikram Chand-led Maoist party are boycotting local elections, but their cadres are contesting as independent candidates. This is proof that the ballot is superior to the bullet in a democracy.
Ballots have brought revolutions that even armed struggle has not achieved. In Nepal, the Maoists failed to topple the monarchy even after 10 years of bloody war, but an elected assembly abolished the 240-year-old monarchy. The RJPN and the Biplav Maoist have chosen not to study recent history, and are resorting to violence to push through their agenda. Their local cadres, however, know where real power lies and how to achieve it.
In Thabang in Rolpa district, independent candidates of the Biplav Maoists are in the electoral fray to become village chief and deputy. In this once-stronghold of the rebels in the midwestern hills, people boycotted the last local elections in 1997. None of them turned out to vote in the second Constituent Assembly elections, either. But this time, Amrit Gharti of the Biplav faction is contesting polls on 28 June to become Thabang village council chief. This confirms that competing in elections is the only way to gain power. The central leadership of the Biplav Maoists has failed to understand what its cadres in Thabang have already understood.
Ditto for the RJPN. Its cadres are independently contesting elections in Rupandehi, Kapilvastu and Banke districts in defiance of their party’s central-level decision to boycott and disrupt elections. It also shows that RJPN leaders, who live mostly in Kathmandu, do not have the pulse of their own grassroots supporters and have not grasped the general public mood in the Madhes. Parties that ignore the ground reality and do not heed the voices of the people cannot be called democratic. The RJPN and the Biplav Maoists must understand this at the earliest.