What would be some of the reasons your newly-formed party managed to win so many seats in the federal Parliament?
A lot of voters are tired of old political parties, their lack of delivery, lack of care for common people’s problems and corruption. I think Nepali voters have a pattern of giving new guys a chance. We are a fresh group of people, we don’t know how to do politics, many of us do not know how to do speeches, we are coming with good intentions to make a difference.
Our party chair Rabi Lamichhane being a very well-known face also made a big difference. He is someone with a long track record of doing what the state and the elected leaders should have been doing. In parts of Nepal, he is a folk hero who has done a lot from building a hospital in Kalikot to working with the Nepali diaspora to organise oxygen cylinders during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It doesn’t seem like the RSP supports federalism much. But isn’t devolution a good thing?
We have nothing against devolution of power, budget or decision-making. Our only concern has been with the provincial government structure which is extremely costly yet not delivering anything. We are not against having provinces but it is set up all wrong, and we want to improve it. We have put forth some proposals for a much leaner provincial government system.
Does your shift to politics signify that politics is the best way to find a resolution for a lot of our environmental problems like air pollution, waste management and climate change?
As a scientist working in policy advisory coming into politics, I think you need a combination of a lot of things to work. You need knowledge created by science, but that alone will not bring about change. People have known about the basic science behind climate change since the 1960s but actions didn’t take place. It is elected leaders and people in positions of power who make the decisions. So we need knowledgeable, responsible politicians who will act in the best long-term interests of the people.
In my own personal journey, it seemed like the right time to engage in politics even though it is not something that comes naturally to me. I wouldn’t say this is the best way universally to address the issues, but without sufficient attention in politics, things are not going to move forward.
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