Parties holding felicitation programs to woo elderly voters

May 10, 2017 01:40 AM Raju Adhikari


JHAPA, May 10: As part of their poll campaigns, political parties in Jhapa are trying to woo the senior citizens by conducting various programs in their honor.

Earlier, political leaders and cadres were never concerned about the elderly people but these days they are organizing programs to honor them. There was a time when the same leaders would turn a blind eye to the miseries of the elderly but now suddenly they have become so kind toward them.

They have been honoring them with garlands and flowers.

Major political parties like the Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Center), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), among others, have widely adopted this practice. They have been directing their cadres to collect details of the elderly, find their contact numbers and invite them to their programs. They are also providing opportunities to the elderly people to express their feelings and points of view. This has elated the senior citizens as well.

On Tuesday, the CPN-UML gathered more than 500 elderly people in Arjundhara of Jhapa. The party honored them, claiming to be the only party which cares about the old-age people. “CPN-UML is the party which introduced senior citizen allowance, which doubled the allowance and now requesting the government to make it Rs 5,000,” said Prem Giri, a representative of the party, “Our party is the guardian of the elderly people.” 

A few days ago, NC had organized a similar program in Surendranagar of Mechinagar, Jhapa. The party had honored hundreds of elderly people and had even gifted Dhaka Topi to men and shawls to women. Addressing the big gathering, NC leaders claimed that their party was the only party working for the welfare of senior citizens. As the election date has been postponed from May 14 to June 14, NC has been organizing such programs on a daily basis.

Though the political parties are happy with their programs, the senior citizens are making fun of their strategies as they clearly understand the vested interests behind such programs. “This is nothing more than a drama, a poll campaign,” said 85 years old Chavi Lal Niraula. “I wish they had shown the same concern for us even before the elections,” he added. According to him, they are attending such programs just to see their plans though they don't trust any of them.

Party leaders themselves accept that their programs are all aimed at attracting more voters. “If it is not wrong to seek votes from students, women and youths, what's wrong with asking ask the senior citizens for votes? No one should take it negatively,” said a district leader of NC.

Caption: A program conducted by the CPN-UML on Tuesday to felicitate senior citizens of Arjundhara.


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