MYAGDI, Nov 15: Since the last two years, Om Kumari Lamichhane of Katuwachaupari of Parbat has been living at an old-age home in Beni Municipality-9, Galeshwar. After being abandoned by her family, she hardly feels comfortable talking to strangers about her family background. Lamichhane had exercised her voting right during the second Constituent Assembly (CA) elections. Unfortunately, she has not been able to cast votes thereafter in lack of proper documentation.
With the candidates visiting the doorsteps of the locals, Lamichhane apprises them with the problems of the villagers but she herself appears to be helpless as she won't be able to cast vote for the candidate of her choice. As she lacks proper documents for the elections, she will be deprived of her voting right.
"It is meaningless to expect something from these candidates when our own sons and daughters abandon us," she laments. According to her, the kind of enthusiasm that she had earlier for elections is missing now. Similarly, Kalabati Sharma of Kailali who has been living in the same shelter is also not interested in elections.
"With the expectation of experiencing change and development, we voted several times and for different candidates but no one delivered their promises," she said, adding, "We have just been the stepping stones for those selfish politicians."
Altogether 65 elderly people are currently sheltering in the old-age home. While most of them don't have children, many have been expelled and abandoned by their family members. Despite their eligibility, some of them don't want to cast vote while some won't be able to vote. Those who will be voting are determined not to vote for candidates who won't prioritize the problems of the elderly people.
"I understand politics and our politicians too and I'm also aware that none of them are concerned about our problems. They are all fighting for chairs and that's it," said Bam Bahadur Sherapunja of Mangala Rural Municipality-2, Hidi.
A lot of elderly people accused political leaders of being selfish and mean. They are often provided opportunities to make their grievances heard in programs organized at the shelter. They often hold discussions on political developments and listen to news and programs related to politics but only a few of them are interested in being a part of the elections.
When asked by the candidates, the elderly citizens demanded identity cards and free health and transportation services for them. Besides that, they wanted the candidates to assure that no elderly citizen gets treated as a second-class citizen.