The student unions in colleges all over Nepal have just concluded their elections. Early reports indicate that the uninos affiliated to the United Marxist-Leninist (UML) political party are #1 in the rankings, followed by the unions affiliated to the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Maoists.
The last few days have seen traffic disrupted all over the capital as the student unions campaign and bash each other. This phenomenon is reflected all over the country, of course. Kathmandu is still "Nepal", as the saying goes. A couple of students have died in inter-union clashes. Others have been injured when the police tried to maintain order.
We in Nepal are now quite used to seeing political rallies, violence, traffic disruptions and general mayhem. What is unique about our student unions is that they are clones of the political parties. I wonder if any of them are fighting for concrete benefits for students. Rather, they are echoing the voices of their masters - the political parties. I remember a time, in the early 1970's, when I was running for the executive board of the student union of my local college. I remember well exhorting, in my campaign speech, that students need to look after their own interests instead of trying to become politicians. I lost handily.
The 3rd ranking of the unions affiliated to the Maoists is a promising sign that people (students, at least)realize who and what the Maoists are. Now let us see whether the UML and NC have the ability to capitalize on this. I have my doubts.