JHAPA, Jan 6: After the completion of local level elections, voters breathed a sigh of relief, hoping that their lives would finally improve. They had expected that their locality, their district and the country would head towards progress and development thanks to the elections. But to their disappointment, the lofty promises of some party leaders and elected representatives have turned out to be just another disappointment.
Even after such a long time, some elected representatives have failed to make good on even the minor promises. Their sluggish working style and rank negligence have left the voters irate. Asked about their plans, they have been making silly excuses. Not just ordinary people but even members of their own parties are disappointed with them. "We had not expected that the zeal and promise shown by the popular representatives before the polling would evaporate so soon," said Roshan Bista, a CPN-UML cadre in Damak Municipality.
According to Bista, the elected representatives had in the past been blaming floods, elections, festivals, etc. for failure to deliver. But now they have no option but to actually get down to work.
With the parliamentary and provincial assembly elections done and dusted, elected representatives are now feeling a kind of pressure to do something and keep the trust of their voters. "We understand that we could not deliver on our promises on time but this is the situation of all the elected representatives in the district," said a ward chief in Birtamod. He further said it will take some more time as there are lots of things that the newly elected representatives are not familiar with.
Baburaja Shrestha, chairperson of Gauriganja Rural Municipality, admits that they have been really slow in their work. "We have not yet been able to call a village assembly but we are planning one soon," he said, adding, "The rules and regulations keep changing, which has been an added challenge ." Elected representatives are still hazy about the procedures and methods of government work. Besides that, lack of coordination between officials and the locals is affecting decision-making.
As the locals have started questioning their competence, the elected representatives these days are busy hammering out plans and policies. However, decisions made in haste have only drawn more criticism. For instance, the decision of Haldibari Rural Municipality to increase taxes was widely criticized by the locals. They even took to the streets to vent their ire.
The rural municipality is yet to announce the decision formally. Agitating locals submitted a written memorandum to Rabindra Lingden, chairperson of the rural municipality, demanding withdrawal of the decision. "They cannot increase the taxes without increment in our incomes or other facilities," said Jit Bahadur Rajbanshi, secretary of the Consumers Rights Conservation Forum, Jhapa.
According to Ratna Tiwari, a former elected representative in Jhapa, elected representatives have not been able to think through their plans and policies to alleviate the hardships of ordinary people. "We cannot expect the people to accept the wrong decisions especially when they have not done anything right yet," Tiwari said.