Sunday, 13 September 2009

General Election in Germany: Memoire of Nepalese Election and German Experiences

Germany is going to held General election on 27th of September 2009. As the final date of election is getting closer, all the parties are trying to attract their voters. But the election campaigns are very peaceful. Even though the parties have different principles and objectives, but they have very good understandings in between. There is no clashes between cadres, even not by verbal exchanges. There are no wall paintings, there are not any pamphlets pasted here and there. It looks like there are not any election. If I compare this environment for election in Germany and Nepal, I find that here is even less publicity and environment than the publicity of single party for a mass meeting in Kathmandu.

I have some adventurous experiences to hold the election in Nepal. As the "Voting Officer" responsible to held the whole election in Baghmare VDC of Dang, District of Nepal, I had collected lots of such kind of experiences in 2056B.S. (2000AD) parliamentary election in Nepal. I was there with around 10 subordinate staffs and around 11 police personnel for the security. As the Baghmare district was strong hold of rebellion, Maoist party, which was boycotting election that time, it was very risky and dangerous to held election in that place. As I have strong ground and good public relation due to the involvement in community forestry in these areas, the CDO (Chief District Officer) and Election Officer deputed me to conduct election there. Before me, there was one agriculture officer Mr. Pokhrel(from Agricultural Development Bank!)was deputed there, and he feared with the environment there. So from backdoor, he pulled out his name and chose another VDC for him and kept my name in this risky village. When I knew this, I was very angry in the beginning! But, CDO and District Election officer, said me that it is only me who can successfully held the election in such a risky area. I knew that they were just pacifying or flattering me to hide their partial decision but there were no other alternative for me to obey their legal order. Hence, I deputed there!

On the day before election, me and my team went to the Secondary School of Baghmare, where I had to establish voting booth and conduct election day after. We prepared booth with bamboo sticks and rope. We were in very stressful situation. Anything could happen anytime. Maoist wanted to disturb or raid the election anytime. Anytime, there could be blasting or kidnapping.

On the evening, while we were taking our dinner in small hotel just in front of Baghmare school, one person who was the vice chairman of one community forestry user groups and also suspected to be the supporter of Maoist, came close to me and ask me not to sleep with other subordinates and police personnel in the same building because Maoist are going to attack the booth tonight. He offered me the safe place to hide also. I was in great confusion about what to chose! Should I follow the escape route or safe hide out for me! or live together with other staffs and face the risks. Finally, I chose to stay with the staffs and asked this informant that I will be there with all staffs. As a government personnel, I am here to follow my duties. I am not their someone to force vote, vote for one or another parties. I tried to be very diplomatic to answer this to the informant.

After dinner we were sitting outside the school, and talking this and that only waiting to over the night. No one could sleep at that night due to fear and stress! Around 10 pm, the firing of gun and blasting of bombs started in nearby forests. I think at the distance of 500 meter, they was big blast and gun fire started. We all were very frightened. The assistant Sub Inspector of Police, who was with us for the security requested us to stay inside, and said me that his group wants to stay outside guiding and protecting all of us. I understood his motive that he want to run away. For him and all of us, the night was very hilarious and risky. I thought that I was offered the safe hideout, but I was there to stay with them, but the security personnel who was there to safe us, were trying to runaway by leaving us alone. I understood his fear and selfishness! I ordered him to report me security situation in every hour, even if he goes away! In this way I put him in trap and he could not escape on that fearful night. In that night, around 4 am, they pelted stones and such other materials on the roof of ours! We thought that these things were bombs and we are going to be killed! Later on, we came to know that there main intentions were not to explode us but just to frighten us.

Anyway the night was over. Around 8 am, we started election. It went well! But around 1:00 pm, the army officer, who was on patrolling came to me and asked to wrap up the election. I politely denied his offer and said him that I will conduct election until 5 pm (which was scheduled time)! He said me that I am going to be attacked by Maoist guerillas. I said him that no matter, you are there to protect us. With this answer, he became angry but could do nothing because he was wrong and I was right to follow the rules and regulation. Around 4:50 pm, one candidate from UML Shreemani Acharya, came to our voting booth. Prior to his coming, he was not supposed that the voting is still on there. When he reached there, he came to me and praised me for the neutral conduction of election there. He said me;"Sir, I came here only to thank you for the free and fair election on the history of Baghmare VDC. I know that this is the stronghold of Congress and Maoist, I will get very few votes in this place. Despite of this, your efforts to conduct the fair election and bear all the stress from rebellion is praiseworthy" I do not know how far he was saying true! But, these words from the contesting candidate was more than any big prize for me! This is the beauty of nepalese democracy, even the looser can accept the result and praise the voting officers for his clean work. In this VDC, the Congress candidate Gehendra Giri got around triple votes than the closest candidate of UML, Shreemani Acharya while the results came out!

All these story is to compare the practices of German election and Nepalese election. We say that we are democratic country which true also, but there are many malpractices in election there. People and candidate spend lots of money there. The city wall and wall of private houses get dirty. Lots of aggression could be seen on the competing candidates and parties. Intolerance, aggression and wrong promises are frequent. But, as far as I come to know, it is not the case in German election. They are there with their doctrine, manifesto and promises which will be their guiding principles after election. Their election campaigns are peaceful, tolerance to each other and intellectual. They go to university and such other research institutions to deliver speeches rather than going to streets with loud mikes.

The election campaign of all four major parties of Germany in one place at Goettingen. I was surprised with their election campaign. The neck to neck competitors like CDU, SDP and other parties were organising election campaign in the same place comfortably. They are very quite, peaceful and respectful to each other. They are distributing pamphlets, and answering the quests of voters. I fear on, if the stalls like this, organised in Nepal for Nepali Congress, UML, Maoist, RPP, Forum and Kamal Thapas party, what would be the results? There would be big clashes and street fighting and many cadres need to admitted in Emergency, like they are in gun battle rather in election campaigns.
Die Linke (is the LEFT party). They are also very quite and peaceful. They are opposing the policy of German government to send troops in Afghanistan. They are asking votes to draw back their troops from Afghanistan. What a concrete and clear plan!

The CDU (Christian Democratic Union), the ruling party. The Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel is from this party. Even though they are the ruling party, they are seemed simpler and less expensive than others. It can be seen on their stall also.
Free Democratic Party (FDP) Germany.

The Green Party, they are also a ruling party and getting popularity in each election better than before. They are strong supporters of nature and oppose any kind of nuclear war and atomic industries.
The hording board of CDU party. German Chancellor Angella Merkel in the board!
Some naughty people like everywhere, put the "moustache" and wrote "Bitch" on her photo at hoarding board. As politics is the dirty game, everywhere such people do exist. But, they are far less in number.
In totality, German politics is very clean, harmonic and understanding. This is the real practice of democracy in true sense.

1 comment:

highlander said...

Rajendraji, excellent coverage. You are right in many aspects. What your article (in my brief browsing) has not covered is politicians their commitments and the gray politics as a whole is same everywhere. Germany is not far from that.