Nepal Minute - out of the ordinary

Elections 2022

Riding on the wave of public angst towards old politicians, several young faces triumphed in the November 20 elections.

There is a dystopian undercurrent to their views – established political parties, preferring to continue with their allegiance to seniority and hierarchy but indifferent to everyday concerns like unemployment, inflation, education and health care.

Many young candidates’ decision to contest the November 20 elections stemmed from the outcome of the local elections held in May. The local elections saw fresh non-political faces Balendra Shah and Harka Sampang emerge as mayor of Kathmandu and Dharan, respectively.
The federal parliament will now see several young and energetic politicians – all wanting a shift to a cleaner, more meritocratic kind of politics.

Here is a low down on four new federal lawmakers under 35 years:

Sobita Gautam

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Twenty-seven-year-old Sobita Gautam won the election for the HoR seat from Kathmandu-2, overcoming the challenges of old guns, including Maniram Phuyal and Onsari Gharti Magar.
Gautam, who filed her candidacy from the Rabi Lamichhane-led Rastriya Swatantra Party, garnered 15,238 votes against 11,566 of her closest rival CPN-UML's Maniram Phuyal.

A lawyer by profession, she has been actively advocating for social causes. She has also hosted a health-related television show – Swasthya Sarokar – on Nepal Television for four years.
Bon on June 17, 1995 in Dolakha, Gautam earned her Bachelor's degree in law from Nepal Law Campus, Kathmandu. 

Having a proven track record of leadership skills and public speaking, Gautam has carried out interdisciplinary collaborations and cross-sector partnerships with organisations such as the Association of Youth Organisation Nepal.

Toshima Karki


Toshima Karki is a general surgeon at the Patan Hospital, Lalitpur. She filed her candidacy from the Rastriya Swatantra Party from Lalitpur-3 and garnered 31,136 votes against her closest rival CPN-UML’s Amrit Khadka, who got 12963 votes.

Karki completed her secondary-level education at Shahid Dharmabhakta School in Nakkhu and intermediate from Modern Indian School in Chobhar. After doing her MBBS from Kist Medical College in Lalitpur, she obtained a Master's degree in General Surgery from Kathmandu University.

She was actively involved in the protests by Dr Govinda KC, demanding changes in the country's medical sector.

The young medical campaigner was also elected as a member of the Nepal Medical Council. She is the initiator of the 'Save Medical Fraternity Movement', which ran for seven years.

Yogesh Gauchan Thakali

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Twenty-nine-year-old Thakali is another new face in Nepali politics. His father Romy Gauchan Thakali was appointed the minister for commerce in 2016.

Continuing his father's legacy, Yogesh filed his candidacy from Mustang-1 in the recently held elections on the Nepali Congress ticket, which was initially issued to his father. 

Thakali secured 3,992 votes to win the election from Mustang-1, finishing ahead of CPN-UML's Prem Prasad Tulachan who received 3,078 votes.

He was born on May 9, 1993, in the remote village of Thangsang, Mustang district.

Thakali, who holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Management, is a hotelier and tourism entrepreneur.

Gyan Bahadur Shahi

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Gyan Bahadur Shahi, aka Gyanendra Shahi, is another young politician. 

The 30-year-old  Rastriya Prajatantra Party candidate won the House of Representatives seat from Jumla in the November 20 elections. He polled 22,819 votes against 11,959 of his nearest rival Goma Gautam Kunwar of the Maoist Centre.

He completed his schooling in Sinja Rural Municipality-3, Jumla. Shahi, who shot to fame for his anti-corruption activism, also opposed the MCC deal between Nepal and the US. 

Shahi has courted controversies for his blunt remarks on rival party leaders and top bureaucrats. He was physically assaulted in Surkhet while helping the district locals during lockdown.

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