Mishra strives to make inroads into NC bastion

  • Elections 2017

Nov 10, 2017-

Swarna Bikram Shah, 40, of Bhimsengola Marga, used to be one among those who often say “Things are bad, but I’m not just that into politics”. Frustrated with same old faces in politics and same political agendas over the years, he even chose to boycott elections in the past. 

But this time around, Shah says he is finding something exciting. Shah is a voter in Kathmandu Constituency 1.

“I will certainly vote this time, for we have a new candidate from a new party, who looks promising to me,” he said, adding that “I’m expecting some change.”

Kathmandu-1 is one of the most talked about constituencies for the upcoming federal elections scheduled for December 7. It has been a stronghold of the Nepali Congress (NC) for long.

The NC has fielded Parkash Man Singh and the left alliance has selected Anil Sharma for the federal elections in the constituency. 

The new face Shah of Bhimsengola is talking about is Rabindra Mishra of Bibeksheel Sajha Party. Mishra is a former journalist who quit his BBC job to make a foray into politics. 

For a newcomer like Mishra, the fight is set to be tough, as he is pitted against Singh, a seasoned politician who won both Constituent Assembly elections from the constituency. Left alliance’s Sharma is a Maoist Centre leader and brother of Minister Janardan Sharma. 

As election campaigns are gaining momentum, Mishra, who massively uses social media to promote his party and candidates and seek support, is gradually making inroads in Kathmandu-1. 

Mishra’s Bibeksheel Sajha Party was the first to start poll campaigns in the constituency, and with the election fever growing, Mishra has expedited his door-to-door campaigns. 

While groups of younger generation are often seen rallying behind Mishra and his party, he is gradually making himself known among senior citizens as well. 

“I came to know about you when my son and daughter-in-law shared your video on Facebook,” Padma Sunder Rajbhandari told Mishra when they came face to face on one of the inner streets of Bhimsengola on Thursday.  

And this enthused Mishra. 

“Youths were already with us. Now, even people as old as 80 years of age are walking along with us during our door-to-door campaigns. We have been receiving tremendous response from voters,” said Mishra.   

According to Mishra, political parties have failed the public and the nation as a whole miserably and the country is set to see the rise of a new political force like the Bibeksheel Sajha Party. 

“Had these parties and their leaders not messed things up, there would not have been the need of an alternative force. We want to restore the system, make it functional and bring change in the country,” added Mishra.

The Bibeksheel Sajha Party is a unified force of Sajha Party led by Mishra and Bibeksheel Nepali Party led by Ujwal Thapa. 

The Bibeksheel Sajha Party aspires to emerge as a national party through the upcoming elections. 

“Lots of the NC and CPN-UML’s committed voters have pledged their support to us. Some of them are already campaigning with us. This in itself is a huge change. This is going to change the course of Nepali politics,” said Mishra.

Dhruva Prasad Dangal is one of the many voters who have already decided not to vote for “any traditional political party” this time. 

“I have been voting for these parties but they have delivered almost nothing. We want political stability and good governance, which can be ensured with an educated and change-seeking leader like Mishra. He is a small spark that could bring a big change,” said Dangal. 

Shila Shrestha, 50, said she would be switching her support this time. “For a change, I will cast my vote to the Bibeksheel Sajha Party,” she said without mincing her words. 

For Mukunda Prasad Adhikari, a local resident of Kathmandu Ward 31, Mishra “does not represent the same dirty political culture”.

Published: 10-11-2017 07:42

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