By Trilok Sharma (KATHMANDU, 10 May) – Ranju Darshana’s candidacy for the mayor post of Kathmandu Metropolitan City is indeed a turning point in the history of Nepali political leadership. Never ever before any male or female candidate of Darshana’s age and low profile have ever hit print and social media so hard and have brought such sensation before. The ten posts that you scroll down in Facebook- in one way or another one post has to do with Darshana’s candidature.
What does this mean in Nepali political landscape?
The message is clear that politically aware today’s Nepalis with deep thirst of good governance are in no mood to get rule anymore by proven political clowns whose horse-trading have repeatedly hurt their sentiments. They were desperately in search of options. And, now they have few which are of course not sufficient for overall development of nation. But can be very good beginning for breaking the status quo culture of Nepali politics.
A 21-year Darshana, bachelor student of development studies, who reached to this level in about four years of her political career may not have administrative experience as her other competitors, but when it comes to honesty, hardworking, social service, pleasing personality and energy level, she is far ahead than others. Just watched some of her interviews or speech videos or participate in her campaign and you will sense these merits in her.
Two days back she was campaigning in Bafal, ward number 13, in Real Banquet premises, a 300meter distance walk on foot from my rented room. “The girl has energy and has promised to bring water in our area. I don’t see any reason not to vote her,” remarked a local retail shopkeeper to me who had participated in her program when I went for shopping in his shop in evening.
UN Youth report reads young people of 15-25 age groups constitute a one-fifth of the world population. And, about 1.6 percent of parliamentarians around the globe are in their twenties.
If it is so, what is wrong with Darshana’s candidacy?
Of course nothing is wrong. But for no apparent reason this has become a headache for some political cadres who are in their 20s and feel proud on their beyond repair established political parties and who love to say ‘Dai’ (elder brother) to their politicians who are already in their 60s or above and whose socio-economic condition and political status are patronage of such ‘Dai’ politicians. For them their ‘Dai’ is evergreen youth and they are always small ignorant kids in front of them.
Everybody wants to remain youth forever. But this doesn’t mean to get someone favor one should keep on flattering him who is of grandpa age with pleasing words like ‘Dai’. There should be the limit of sycophancy. It is absolutely ridiculous to expect change from such sycophant cadres and voters. They will die but will keep casting vote to their ‘Dai’ closing eyes to his all misdeeds and will never think for a moment to give a chance to Darshana and freshers with potential like her.
Hunting right time they may approach with their seniors to harass Darshana and her colleagues and may boast, “Kids, politics is not tea of your cup.” Yes, this is the right time where she needs to stand strong and yell at their face, “The game has just started and it’s going to over until I win.”
No doubt these blind followers ‘Bhai’(younger brother) cadres are the ones who are largely responsible for making Nepali politics dirtier and dirtier by taking side of their obsolete defamed leaders and throwing dirt to handful of good ones. Their dirty and prejudiced mind has now started to victimize Darshana too. They have blamed that her party Bibeksheel Nepali has western funding and Darshana all of a sudden came to limelight not because of her caliber but because of media.
Except this one eyed cadres who only see half truth, there is also a large chunk of well educated Nepalis who see no point to caste vote and select their leader who are not popular enough. For instance, on a different note in class my master’s part time faculty with surname Upadhayay announced, “I knew Ujjwal Thapa will get defeated. So, I made choice to enjoy my day watching recently released Hindi movie Bhag Milkha Bhag.”
Thapa, the present chair of Bibeksheel Nepali, was an independent candidate affiliated with this party in the second Constituent Assembly election held on November 19, 2013.
Interestingly, it is not only Mr. Upadhayay but Mr. Thapa too who knew the election result. But he kept on standing bold and doing his regular duty honestly. His this virtue has made him now the main man of Bibeksheel Nepali and role model for thousands of Nepali youths interested in politics and social work.
Let this time neither Mr. Upadhayay nor we make this mistake as every vote counts and means a lot for new faces like Mr. Thapa and Darshana.
In history of Nepali politics it is only the Bibeksheel Nepali which has disclosed all its financial details in its website and is campaigning from very beginning ‘Clean Money, Clean Politics.’ Apart from this, it has also uploaded each and every details of party that needs to be brought in public notice, including vision of Darshana for Sundermandu (beautiful Kathmandu) after assuming Mayor office, in its website.
Govinda Narayan Timilsina, the founding chair of this party, was my favorite lecturer while I was master’s student at Tribhuvan University. Being his student for two years, I know a lot about him- his personal life, professional life and the factors that triggered him to give up abroad life and establish Bibeksheel Nepali to brush up Nepali politics. To what extent he will achieve his goal is another thing, but I can swear and assure you that he is the best tutor, politician and human that I have ever come across in my life.
Having closely observed the governance system and functioning of political institutions of India, Japan and the United States, along with strong academic and self study, Mr. Timilsina is cautious enough to give proper direction to his party.
The another blame that local media and some international media including China’s Xinhua news, played a pivotal role to bring incompetent Darshana to public eye is partially true. This is not the whole story.
Her party Bibeksheel and her leading role immediately after and in the aftermath of 2015 April earthquake, 2015/2016 five months long economic blockade, endeavor to give momentum to Dr. Govinda KC fight against medical mafia demanding impeachment to the then CIAA boss Lok Man Singh Karki and now the latest one peaceful protest against widely criticized government step to impeach Chief Justice Sushila Karki, were the major events when general public got notice of Darshana and her party’s work.
Besides this, her party had also played important role to pressurize the authorities of National Reconstruction Authority to expedite its construction work before onset of last year monsoon as thousands of stranded earthquake victims were helplessly living in temporary camps.
This civic engagement of her party was widely admired by locals and captured by media. The party leadership was also smart enough to smartly advertise its work via social media. As Darshana was one of the few core members of party who had worked day in and day out for social welfare, she got opportunity to raise her head above and now mayor ticket for forthcoming local election as another reward which she truly deserves.
This is the real picture behind the rise of Darshana and Bibeksheel Nepali party in Nepali politics. Probably, the first political party in the history of Nepal with no solid foundation of political ideology, no funding support, no experts, no founding members, activists and well-wishers with grey hair but has succeeded to make entry in this heroic way.
Now, it’s up to us whether to choose Darshana’s Bibeksheel or continue to get ruled by callous showman politicians who have always made us feel disgrace and low energy to live and identify ourselves as Nepalis in this world. You have all right to make your choice but I am resolute from heart to give a shot to her this time. My best wishes for her successful political career.
Sharma is an executive member of Nepal-China Mutual Cooperation Society (NCMCS).