21 Nov, Palpa : Election enthusiasm is gradually picking up steam across the country as the twin elections to the member of House of Representatives and State Assemblies scheduled for November 26 and December 7 draw closer.
But there is one Kumal settlement in Palpa district where the election fervour has not yet arrived. This is the Kumal settlement at Ghorbanda in Baganaskali rural municipality.
The people of this settlement are not much excited as no political party has reached their village canvassing for votes. Not even the voter educators deputed by the Election Commission have come to their area.
“There is no power at home, no radio or television. We do not know when the election is happening,” shared local 40-year-old Gyanishara Kumal. She is a daily wage labourer and says she is so busy in work that she even didn’t have to think about the election.
Another woman, 30-year-old Janisara Kumal, agrees with Gyanishara. Noone in Janishara’s family has a mobile phone, not to talk of radio or TV. “We are daily wage workers and we do not know when the election is and from where we should vote,” she says.
Most people in this Kumal settlement are still in confusion regarding how to vote in the election although voters are required to vote in the first-past-the-post and the proportional representation headings as part of the House of Representatives and State Assembly elections. The twin elections are taking place in Palpa district on December 7. A majority of the inhabitants of this village are illiterate.
The election has not attracted the fancy of the people here as they have a hand-to-mouth existence. Working as daily wager is the only option for the people of this poor settlement.
The 120 Kumal families at Ghorbanda are still deprived of education, health, road, water supply, employment and income-generating opportunities. This settlement is close to the district headquarters, Tansen.
It has remained behind in terms of development and other facilities as the party leaders failed to visit the village and assess the situation once they won the election and got elected, the locals have complained.
They say that they (the Kumal community) have been used by the local political parties only as the vote bank during the elections and given a damn after that. This attitude of the parties is what saddens them the most.
“Nobody has come to us asking for votes this time although candidates had come on a door-to-door visit in the local election,” said one Kanchhi Kumal, lamenting that they are still deprived of basic amenities like road, drinking water and health centre due to the neglect by the political parties and their leaders once the election was over.
Although the election atmosphere is palpable in other places in the district, there is no such enthusiasm among the Kumal community. The Kumal community which is enlisted as an indigenous nationality group by the state is economically impoverished, though rich in art and culture.
There is dense Kumal settlement at Chhahara Rainadevi, Ribdikot, Baganaskali and Mathagadhi rural municipalities and Rampur municipality, among other places in the district. As per the 2011 population census, the total Kumal population in the district is 6,802, including 3,107 males and 3695 females.