Prem Bahadur Maharjan- Parliament Member ( CPN-UML) Lalitpur - 2
The Nepal Weekly: How are you feeling after being elected to the House of Representatives from Lalitpur – 2 constituency representing CPN-UML?
Prem Maharjan: I have been involved in politics since my student life. I am also involved in various social as well as cultural activities. I have been pursuing social works as well as politics side by side for a long time. I became the ward chairman during the local election held in 2049 B.S. at the age of 25. In 2054 also I won the post of ward chairman of wad number 8 of Lalitpur Municipality during the local election. This time the party trusted me and gave me ticket in Lalitpur- 2 constituency. I was confident that I would win the election. I have been declared as the first elected person from the Nepal Communist Party – UML during the Parliament election in 2079 B.S. I was very happy to become the first elected person from the party in the election.
TNW: When did you join politics?
Maharjan: I was active inpolitics since 2039 BS. I was the treasurer of the loal committee of the party while I was studying ISc at Patan Campus in 2040 BS. After completing ISc, I joined Pulchowk Engineering College where I studied for two years. I continued my study and engaged in politics as well. I was actively involved during the Joint People’s Movement of 2046 B.S. led by Supreme Leader of Nepali Congress Ganesh Man Singh.
TNW: What inspired you to join the politics?
Maharjan: Seeing the very laborious and dedicated farmers of Jyapu community in Lalitpur district I felt the need to work for the welfare of the farmers since my very childhood and attracted towards communist ideology. At that time I got involved in All Nepal National Free Students Union (ANNFSU). I had worked in close contact with many leftist leaders during my campus life. Radhika Shakya, wife of UML chairperson KP Oli including others were studying in Patan Campus at that time. I was in touch with her and other student leaders of Lalitpur District Committee.
I was very much inspired by late leader Madan Bhandari. I take part on the communist movement uder the leadership of Madan Bhandary at the age 20/22.
TNW: What type of social activities have you been involved?
Maharjan: I had worked as the secretary for the Small Farmer Library of Tole Sudhar Samittee, which opened way for my journey towads various other social activities. I have been involved in the Tole Sudhar Samiti for a long time and now I am the chairperson of the committee. Our locality holds cultural and historical importance. Jyapu Samaj (society) comprises fourty Tole of Jyapu community of the entire Patan area. The Jyapu Samaj is the representative institute of fourty toles which was incorporated by the local Jyapu community of Patan in 2051 B.S. I was ex-officio member of the Samaj at the time of its incorporation. We are working together with the participation of current presiding Mayor, Chiribabu Maharjan, who heads all the wards representing all fourty toles.
TNW: Based on which agenda did you contest the Parliamentary election?
Maharjan: I am in favor of developing Lalitpur as a cultural city in the country and thereby promote tourism inculcating and promoting religion, ethnic and Newari culture. Earlier local inhabitants were engaged in their own traditional businesses and occupation. Now it has become necessary to modernize or modify their businesses and occupation. I have been making some contributions in these areas as well through the Jyapu Samaj.
Drinking water and sewerage management are our fundamental needs for which I have been making contribution while I was involved in the local body. People from all over the country are migrating to Kathmandu valley as a matter of fact it has now become a multi-cultural city. For harmonization of the people having multi culture, my view point is that, we have to establish a culture of respecting each other from the humanitarian point of view as well. Beside we have to reconstruct and renovate our cultural heritage sites. We have to protect our culture, which is closely linked to our livelihood such as “Dhapa Bhajan”, flute and ‘Dholak’ playing. There are a large variety of manners and culture within Newar community, which we need to protect as well. People from own land and foreigners visit to study and research these things if we became able to protect these heritages.
TNW: What are your priorities while working as the Lawmaker of Lalitplur?
Maharjan: Our youngsters are going abroad for higher education and they are not returning back to their home country. I am worried what will be its impact on our society in the long run? If we could create environment for study and get employment as well in our homeland itself it will certainly contribute a lot for the development and prosperity of our country. Learnt people may have opportunity of getting employment in government and private sector but for those who have abandoned education we shall provide employment opportunity in the areas of handicraft, cottage industry, agriculture and the like. Certainly, we could produce lots of goods, increase income level of the people if we could retain our youngsters in our own country. As such I am also paying attention in these areas. My top priority for now will improving health and education, and generating employment opportunities. I have also made arrangement for studying in school and college to needy student while I was involved in the Jyapu Samaj.
TNW: There are only two elected representatives representing the CPN-UML from Kathmandu valley this time. What, do you think, were the factors behind the UML’s poor performance?
Maharjan: Nepal Communist Party-UML itself is a very robust party. There are hundreds of thousands of members in Kathmandu valley alone. Winning and losing in the election are natural phenomena despite of robust organization. Parties having trust on democracy have to bear both victory and loss, without much difficulty. People’s aspirations and needs are always changing and we should consider them while organizing the party and carrying out development activities. Now I have learnt that it is essential to put the party’s thoughts and principles clearly before the public time and again, though we are paying attention on these issues. Basically, we need to address the issues related to the youngsters. I am feeling that we could not lure the younger generation people while we were launching the election campaign. So, we have to pay much more attention towards the issues of the youngsters. Frankly speaking, the younger generation people are mainly attracted to the issues like employment, education and health. As most of the political parties have failed to perform upto the expectation, people have become frustrated as a result people have not given majority of votes to any party.
TNW: You are entering in the parliament for the first time so it requires to learn so many things, how you will play your role as the new Lawmaker?
Maharjan: Certainly, I am new to the Parliament. Being a cadre of UML I have my own political role. Besides that I am from the Newar Community. Therefore, I think I have to play role for the preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage and support such activities that can generate livelihood. I need to address the issues of the local community and address their problems. Furthermore, I am also thinking about the development of new and organized cities with definite and concrete plans. Once, Kathmandu valley was known for its peaceful atmosphere and good climate but the situation is deteriorating these days.