--BY MADAN LAMSAL
On a Tuesday before the recently held first phase local elections, the roads were choked with traffic jams everywhere in the valley. After an enquiry, it was revealed that the jams were caused by the long queues of the aspiring candidates and their supporters who had gathered around government offices to file their nominations for the local polls. Nobody seemed to be bothered about the potholes on the roads and the dust and pollution. Not only the candidates but also their cadres, family members and well-wishers were decked up like wedding guests. Maybe it was because the elections were taking place after a hiatus of almost two decades, that they had captured the roads and looked as excited and elated as a grandfather whose grandson was getting married! Seeing them walking around wearing garlands of flowers and vermilion smeared on their faces and bands playing music, as if they had already won the elections, even the kids were clapping cheerfully.
And what could you say about the candidates - from as young as 21-year olds to octogenarians! From political cadres to the current vice-president of FNCCI to gold entrepreneurs and former police officers. Even some smugglers, it was said. Similarly, there were many rebel candidates. Grandpas and granddaughters from the same family were also candidates. The wife was vying for the post of deputy mayor while the husband competing for ward chairman. The wife fielded by one party, the husband by another. Some candidates had discarded the DV (diversity visa) to the US, while others had resigned from government jobs.
And the speeches were, so hilarious! And the electoral manifestoes of the parties were no less than joke books. From building Nepal's own railway network to making it the richest country in the world, the manifestoes were full of tall promises matching the tales of the famous children's fiction Alice in Wonderland.
The funniest of all were the electoral alliances. Parties forged electoral alliances though their ideologies and manifestoes were poles apart. We saw an electoral alliance between the ultra-leftist Maoists and ultra rightist RPP - just aimed at winning. Similarly, at some places arch rivals Nepali Congress and UML formed electoral alliances. Wow, what electoral alliances! We got to see such partnerships only because of the local polls.
The case of one aspiring candidate is worth mentioning. With his candidacy, this aspiring candidate chartered a helicopter all the way from Kathmandu to Bharatpur. But at the end, he was betrayed because the leader of his party picked someone else as the candidate. This aspiring candidate didn't seem to understand the very essence of the Nepali model of parliamentary democracy - one needs to please the politicians and make them happy to get them to reward you! The truth is if you want to do anything significant in Nepal, you should know how to get the top politicians' blessings on time.
For example, an impeachment motion was registered against Chief Justice Sushila Karki because she did not visit any politicians to get their blessings. DIG Nawaraj Silwal couldn't make it to the post of top cop and somebody else was appointed the IGP of Nepal Police for the same reason. Blessings are needed not only in the political sector but also in other sectors. Take the example of FNCCI. It's an open secret that Bhawani Rana wouldn't be able to become the senior vice-president first and now the president of FNCCI had she not got the blessings of former FNCCI presidents.
Thus, many underdogs were able to bag key positions through the blessings of political and business leaders, while many who were far more deserving were let down just because they did not have such blessings. Therefore, everyone needs to understand this while time still remains - if you want to do something in Nepal, get the blessings of the politicians without losing time. Start buttering them up from today. Otherwise, you will regret it later, like Silwal!