The results of the first phase of Nepal’s elections have shown the country’s population is rejecting Hindu nationalism in favor of secularism. This news has brought much relief to Nepal’s Christians who feared the country would once again become a Hindu kingdom. India, Nepal’s neighbor to the south, has been led by the Hindu nationalist BJP for the past three years. In that time, attacks on Christians and other religious minorities has skyrocketed. Will Nepal’s rejection of Hindu nationalism in favor of a religiously diverse nation serve as an example to other country’s in South Asia?
05/20/2017 Nepal (Asia News) – Despite the Hindu population being the majority (81.3%), Nepalese voters preferred secular parties to pro-monarchy Hindus. The results of the first phase of local elections held on May 14 has prompted Nepal’s political parties to abandon extremist prospects and respect democratic values.
The final results have yet to be published, but it is already clear that voters have rejected Hindu parties favoring the monarchy. Secular parties have taken the majority of votes, such as the Leninist Marxist Unite Party (UML), the Nepalese Congress and the Maoists.
According to an electoral commission report published this morning, UML won 93 local units and came first in 25; The Nepalese Congress won 91 units, placing itself at the head of 13; The Maoist Center won 42 units, ranking first in four. The Rastriya Prajantantra Party (RPP), promoter of a restoration of Hinduism and Monarchy, won in one unit.
Krishna Khanal, professor and political analyst, comments, “Nepalese voters have realized that Nepal is diversifying in faith and that any political party that tries to politicize faith will not be supported. This is a clear message from the people who want to live in peace and solidarity respecting the faith of others. ”
“Nepal has a Hindu majority population who believes in secularism and wants people and societies not to be divided in the name of religion,” continued Khanal. “RPP wants to restore Hinduism and the monarchy and in the past people voted for them, but when they realized that this program would have deteriorated peace among communities, they refused to vote again.”
Ramala Dhital, who voted for secular parties, states, “In democracy, why should the state have any religion? The state must be free from any faith and respect for all religious groups must be assured. I am Hindu and Christians do not disturb my faith. People are free to choose their profession. There’s nothing wrong with that.”