Nepal Minute - out of the ordinary

Elections 2022

Do you have any idea how many artistes, or celebrities, are vying for federal or provincial MP seats in the upcoming elections due for November 20?

Chances are that you already know it.

But there aren’t very many.

Actress Rekha Thapa, who is a Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) leader, has fielded her candidacy from Morang-3. If you think she’s the only Nepali cinema artiste keen on joining the electoral fray, you could be wrong.

Actress Karishma Manandhar didn’t get any ticket, but she indicated in a Facebook post that she was indeed keeping her fingers crossed for one, especially having enthusiastically joined CPN-UML a few months ago.

Rekha Thapa

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Photo: Rekha Thapa Facebook

The actress-turned-politician was among the first candidates to reach her constituency – Morang-3 in eastern Nepal. Having fielded her nomination, the 39-year-old seemed upbeat.

After registering her nomination, Thapa wrote on her Facebook page: “My political journey is the demand of the time and also a revolt by youth against those already in power for change and a better future for the district.”

Criticising politicians of the past, she exuded confidence that she would be able to be a change-maker.

She continued: “The contribution and dedication I have shown towards the film industry - I want to show the same towards the Nepali society and locals of Morang with a special focus on women and girl child.”

 “If we don't raise our voices now, who will? Why couldn't the leaders who promised to build the country be responsible even for their own society? Why are we Morang people always lagging behind despite our district being at the centre of the country's politics?” questioned the Himmatwali actor.

Komal Oli

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Photo: Komal Oli Facebook Page

Radio Nepal broadcaster and singer Komal Oli is a slightly more seasoned politician. At the outset of her political career, she was with the RPP. Later, she joined the CPN-UML and worked her way up to the upper house, National Assembly.

Now she is back in her home district in western Nepal to contest a direct election vying for the lower house, known as the House of Representatives. She’s contesting from Dang-3.

Soon after filing her candidacy, she wrote on her Facebook page: “I have filed my candidacy from Dang-3 for the November 20 elections from the CPN-UML with a dream of a prosperous Dang. I hope the residents of Dang-3, and all Nepalis living in Nepal and abroad will help me win.”   

Karishma Manandhar

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Photo: Karishma Manandhar/Facebook

Meanwhile, veteran actress Karishma Manandhar indicated that she indeed expected a ticket for the electoral race. Writing a metaphoric poem on her Facebook page, Manandhar expressed a tinge of disappointment.

Did she have a reason to do so?

She entered politics only recently, in May 2022, when she joined the CPN-UML. Then she was welcomed by CPN-UML leader KP Oli, who drew parallels between Karishma Manandhar’s birth name, Surya (Sun) Kumari, with UML’s election symbol, which coincidentally is the sun too.

Six months later, Surya Kumari appears nowhere near a candidacy, let alone the federal House of Representatives or the provincial assembly.

And she wrote a post in Nepali on her Facebook page early on Monday.

That roughly translates thus:

‘I never looked like a rebel

Still God gave me everything

But today I’m realising [that] -

It’s better to go out and breathe

Than to stay confined in a closed room’

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