RUKUM, May 2: With the recent political developments casting doubt over holding the local polls, the election fever has fizzled out in Rukum district and the people have decided to move on with their normal activities for making their living.
Locals of eastern parts of the district, including Sisne, Bhume and Putha Uttar Ganga rural municipalities, have already headed toward Dolpa to pluck Yarsagumba, an aphrodisiac herb that fetches a good price in the international market.
The locals decided to give priority to their livelihood not just because of the recent turn of events that took place on Sunday, but after the government's decision to hold the elections in two phases.
The government's decision has pushed election in Rukum a month later on June 14.
“This change in election date also provides the locals with plentiful time to participate in the election if they choose so, encouraging them to utilize the spare time to pluck yarsa,” said Prithivi Bahadur Budha, a local.
If the election happens despite the uncertainties, Budha believes that the locals can easily make it back to cast their votes. “Previously, I had decided first to cast vote in the election and then head to Dolpo. But I have changed my mind and decided to go to Dolpo first to pick yarsa and then return in time to cast vote in the election,” he added.
Due to the recent political developments, the excitement among the locals has faded and they have left their villages to pick yarsa.
Picking yarsagumba during its season and selling the prized herb is the main source of income for many locals. It fetches them anything between Rs 100,000 to Rs 500,000 and the earning could be maximized by omitting the middlemen involved in the deal.
Some locals have expressed strong views in support of the local elections “Although we cannot make livelihood without selling yarsa, the local elections is more important to us than making livelihood at the moment,” said Bhir Bhan Gharti of Sisne Rural Municipality.
“Although we gave more importance to the elections over making our livelihood, the government didn't respect our feelings. It announced to hold the elections in two phases,” he added.