In Chitwan-2, voters preferring Rabi Lamichhane over established parties

Nepal Live Today’s one-day observation in Chitwan-2 shows that most voters are increasingly in favor of Rabi Lamichhane.

Photo: Nimesh Jung Rai/ NL Today

DB Khadka and Narayan Adhikari

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Chitwan: Rabi Lamichhane, a journalist-turned-politician, has emerged as a credible alternative to the candidates of major political parties in Chitwan-2.

When a team of Nepal Live, a sister publication of Nepal Live Today, reached Chitwan-2 on Sunday, the election campaign of Lamichhane looked quite different than that of major parties. The campaign, as observed by Nepal Live, was full of energetic youths, changing “Vote for Rabi!”

Even the supporters of major political parties, talking on condition of anonymity, said, “This time, we are voting for Rabi Lamichhane.”

“If we don’t vote for Rabi, people across the country will condemn us,” said the majority of people who are considering voting for him. Sitaram Pariyar, Ramesh Thapa and Rohan Khanal of the constituency echoed this.

Nepal Live Today’s one-day observation in Chitwan-2 shows that most voters are increasingly in favor of Rabi Lamichhane. While interacting with the locals at settlements, hotels and eateries and shops most voters responded: “This time we will consider the bell.” Bell is the election symbol of the party.

Rohan, a plus two graduate youth from Kholisimal of Chitwan, who is preparing for abroad studies cited the victory of Harka Sampang in Dharan and Balen Shah in Kathmandu during the local elections as the precedent for the voters of his constituency. 

“Educated voters of Dharan elected Harka Sampang. Educated voters of Kathmandu elected Balen Shah,” he said. “We too have Rabi as a candidate this time. If we can’t make him victorious, people across the country will take us for dumb.”

Part of the popularity for Rabi Lamichhane is people’s frustration with the old and established political parties.

Sasi Subedi, the resident of Bharatpur Metropolitan City-12 for the last 20 years, is a committed cadre of one of the established parties.  This time around, however, he is thinking of changing his mind. “We are considering voting for the bell symbol this time. Women and children are in favor of this.” According to him, while the elderly people are favoring the old parties, the youths are favoring Rabi Lamichhane.

Interestingly, those who are campaigning for Krishina Bhakta Pokharel, the CPN-UML candidate, and Umesh Shrestha, the Nepali Congress candidate, are also going to vote for Rabi in the upcoming elections. Ramesh Thapa is one of them.

Thapa, who had just participated in the election campaign of CPN-UML, is urging people in his village to vote for Rabi. The walls of his home has Rabi’s posters.

“I participated in UML’s campaign as I used to support them earlier. But I will 

Vote for Rabi this time,” he said. 

A CPN (Maoist Center) supporter, who had just participated in the rally of Umesh Shrestha, also said he would vote for Rabi. “I will vote for a new face Rabi Lamichhane,” he said, on condition of not being named.