SIRAHA, Nov 27: The first phase of elections to the House of Representatives and Province Assemblies has already concluded in 32 districts. When the people of remaining 45 districts including Siraha are eagerly waiting for the arrival of December 7, the day fixed for the second and final phase of elections, to exercise their franchise right, a Dum (Dalit of Tarai) settlement in Lahan is an exception.
As the election fever catches up every settlement, hotels and shops in Lahan, the district headquarters, the Dum settlement adjoining it, has not seen the arrival of any election candidate or a political party, asking them for votes.
The settlement, home to seven Dum households, lies in Matirwa of Lahan Municipality-1.
“We have neither yet seen any political candidate at our village nor anyone else to make us aware of the right voting process when the twin elections are around the corner,” said one Bijay Marik. He said they even don’t know about the faces in the election race from their constituency.
The Dum people who are in 21 in number are residing on the public land as they do not have their own land. The number of voters is 10. They have the complain that no political party reached to their doorsteps during the election campaign. They do pig rearing and make bamboo products for livelihood.
Besides, they have grudges over those people who visited the settlement with the promises of better road facility, easier process for the citizenship certificate and other official documents, free medical treatment and so on during the local level elections, but did not feel necessary to give them a second glance since the election.
“Our community is plagued by poverty, illiteracy and lack of awareness and such problems are synonyms of the Dum settlements in other parts of the Tarai. Our votes count in the victory of many leaders but the life we are living since we know never changes for better,” said a local Renu Marik.
Chapali Marik of the same locality has the similar story to share with. She said they have been living here since four generations. They don’t have their private land. In every previous election, political leaders approached us with promises of doing something to improve our living standard, but they never lived up to their words, she recalled.
This time, they want to see election candidates literally committed to the development of their locality and having hearts of internalizing their issues at their doorsteps.
The Lahan Municipality is part of the Siraha constituency 1. Pradeep Giri of Nepali Congress, Ganga Prasad Yadav of left alliance and Rajlal Yadav of Federal Socialist Forum- Rastriya Janata Party Nepal alliance are among others in the race for the federal election from this constituency. RSS