UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal during a visit to his home district Rautahat on Saturday.
KATHMANDU, August 27: Major political parties are quietly reaching out to people in the flood-hit areas of tarai with relief and aid materials after their scheduled polls campaign was thrown into disarray due to the worst natural disaster to hit the country after the Gorkha earthquake.
Parties were forced to keep their election campaign in a low profile after monsoon-induced floods wreaked havoc in the country’s southern plains killing at least 140 and displacing tens of thousands of families.
Leaders of the governing Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Center) and the opposition UML seem to have found much effective alternative to their usual colorful poll campaigns in their quiet rescue and relief campaign to appease the voters in the flood-hit areas.
It might be the reason why all parties have directed the party rank and file to avoid colorful campaign and quietly consolidate support by providing physical and materials support to the voters in Province 2 and elsewhere in the tarai.
Province 2 is scheduled to go to civics polls on September 18, while the elections of federal and provincial governments have been scheduled for November 26.
Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN), which initiated poll campaign on Friday, has also avoided extravagance in its poll campaigns.
Most of the political parties including NC, UML, Maoist Center and RJPN have separately donated millions of rupees to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
Similarly, top leaders have intensified tours to the flood-hit districts in order to show their support for the flood victims.
On Saturday, senior UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal travelled across villages in Rautahat to find out the condition of flood-affected families. Nepal and several party leaders from the districts have been visiting various villages of the districts for the past five days to take stock of situation of the flood-affected families and provide required assistance. Rautahat, leader Nepal’s home district, is one of the worst flood-hit districts.
Like Nepal, several other leaders from the main opposition UML including Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi have intensified their district tours.
In order to woo voters in the upcoming polls, NC and Maoist Center have been separately mobilizing their central leaders, local leaders and the ministers from the respective parties to the affected districts with aid and material support.
Maoist Center Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal said that her party has been simultaneously helping the affected families and taking forward the polls campaign.
In the wake of the natural disaster, several leaders have been voluntarily helping their constituencies. NC leader Shekhar Koirala, who is also a medical doctor by profession, had ran mobile health check-up camps for the affected families in his home town Biratnagar.
Our reporters on ground said that the competition among parties to provide relief package have mostly benefited the flood victims but in some places it has created crisis of a sort due politicization in aid and relief distribution.
In many districts, parties and their representatives have been accused of providing undue favor to their cadres and sympathizers, while preventing genuine victims of aid and relief materials.
(With inputs from Republica’s district correspondents)