For many of us, the Constitution Assembly election on 10 April is going to be the very first time we vote. The sense of being given a chance to make our choice heard has us excited. Tired of the old ways and an excuse for a system, the upcoming election gives us a chance to directly influence how and who leads us. WAVE spoke to a group of intelligent and very opinionated students from various educational institutions in the Valley to bring to light what the youth of Nepal wants in the future. Surprisingly concerned and very enthusiastic about the possible future, read on to find out what they want out of 'New Nepal.'
Prasun Singh, St Xavier's College
Samip Pokharel, St Xavier's College
Shradha Basnet, Rato Bangala School
Khusiman Pun, Kathmandu College of Management
Shikha Shrestha, KNK College
Saurab Pokharel, Kathmandu College of Management
Atulya Pandey, Rato Bangala School
Ashim Pradhan, Nepal Engineering College
Are you going to vote?
Saurab: Even though I am interested I won't because I'm from Morang and won't be able to go there.
Prasun: With all that is going on in the terai where I am from, I won't be.
Shradha: I will vote.
Khusiman: I am from Chitwan and I am going to go there especially to vote despite the expenses.
Atulya: I am 18 but the electoral roll hasn't been updated so I don't think I will be able to.
Ashim: I am from Kathmandu so I will definitely vote because it's my responsibility.
Samip: I am registered here in Kathmandu so I am definitely going to vote.
Are you excited about voting for the first time?
Shikha: Yes, I am.
Samip: Yes, and I think I speak for everyone here when I say yes.
Why is the upcoming election so important?
Khusiman: It is because this election is for electing people who will write the constitution of the country.
Prasun: An election of this kind might only happen only once in 30 years, so this is historical.
Shradha: We might miss out in the future so this time it's important.
Ashim: This is the first time in Nepal so it's crucial.
What is the benefit of voting?
Prasun: So that we can choose the right candidate.
Shradha: It is about building a New Nepal and we have to be a part of building our own country.
Ashim: Because it's our right and so there is a need to exercise it.
Samip: It decides who leads us and the leaders affect the future of the country which is eventually also affects our individual future.
How important is campaigning before the elections?
Atulya: Obviously very important.
Samip: It is important because it makes us aware of the work the leaders have done which we aren't necessarily aware of.
Prasun: Yes but we are responsible citizens, we should make ourselves aware of the works they have done.
Shradha: Yes it is and even though the campaigning has started lot of people still clueless about what the agenda of the party of the leaders are.
How can the voting system be improved?
Saurab: There should be a facility to vote for our hometown representative from another place because most of the young people aren't living in their villages due to various factors such as education and career.
Shikha: That is just going to create more chaos.
Khusiman: At a time when Non Resident Nepalis (NRN) are demanding that they also be allowed to vote we living here and asking for such changes is meaningless because we are in the country.
Do you think an individual vote matters?
Samip: Obviously it does.
Shradha: It does because individuals make the society.
Shikha: If everyone begins to think like that then it's going to backfire on us.
Do you think we (all Nepalis) know what we are voting for?
Shradha: Yes we do.
Samip: Yes we do and we definitely know it's not to elect a president.
Prasun: But a lot of leaders don't seem to know how to campaign.
Saurab: I don't think so because when we say voting the first thing we think about is electing someone.
Khusiman: That's why it's important that we make the people around us aware about the CA.
Do you think the success of the CA elections will translate to a better constitution and its implementation?
Samip: They might not follow it but we can't sit back now because of probabilities.
Shradha: They aren't even following it now but there is hope.
Prasun: It's part of the future but we need to be part of it now when at least something is happening.
Khusiman: There is no rule of law at the moment, and it seems like there are dual laws for everything and once the constitution is established that might not happen.
What do you think the new constitution needs to focus on with regard to the youth?
Prasun: Youth like us should be given place and our opinions should be given place.
Ashim: There should be more involvement of the youth leaders.
Khushiman: There needs to be more focus on sectors such as education, health issues and drinking water. By giving the youth a chance and not being in power if they have no clue about the ministry they are heading.
Saurab: It's more important to have people with young thoughts rather than being young.
Samip: The focus should be on how to direct them in the right direction as the youth is confident and competent.
Atulya: The leaders should come about with convincing policies concerning the youth and their participation will come easily.
Shradha: The current perception of politics is that it's a dirty game. The new constitution should be such that the young at least look at it in a good light.
Shikha: It should focus on creating an environment for equal youth participation and policies relating to the youth.
What do you think Nepal needs to be all that it can?
Prasun: Peace and security
Khusiman: What it doesn't need is ethnic division.
What do you think about Nepal's political system or the people who lead it?
Saurab: It lacks vision.
Shradha: A lack of unity as everyone is bothered about power.
Shikha: A lack of political stability.
Khushiman: The leaders are just lazy, the only time they travel is during elections after that no one sees them.
Atulya: Their only goal or plan is the elections, after that there is no focus on implementing them. And follow the elections code of conduct.
Samip: A false sense of freedom of speech.
Prasun: The leaders have no sense of responsibility. And their mentality is opposition just for the sake of opposition.
Ashim: A sense of being the best.
What is your over all perception of Nepal and its future?
Ashim, Prasun, Saurab: We are very optimistic and think that we are on the road to development.
Atulya, Shradha: We don't think it's going to change so the overall perception would be pessimistic.
Khusiman: There are changes happening but it's gradual.
Shikha: Yes the changes are there but we can't really call it development. It's similar to a child growing up learning to eat on its own which can't be called substantial change. So by the looks of it, my view is pessimistic.