In Conversation With Rishi Kandel | NRNA NCC Australia Election

NRNA NCC Australia election is in due course. Since inception, the main purpose of joining and renewing of the membership of NRNA has been to take part in the election. Likewise the past, a rapid increase in membership was seen this year as well, just before the last day of the registration which was April 30th

Membership processing and dispute committees have been formed which will validate the applications as per NRNA Australia’s guidelines and approve the applications for the eligible members only.

We talked to Mr. Rishi Kandel who has expressed his interest to give candidacy for the position of president (NRNA Australia NCC).

Mr. Kandel is a senior IT Consultant, and has been helping community in different capacities for many years in various organizations. He has been actively involved with NRNA Australia since 2009 and has served as the National Youth Coordinator and the Vice President.

In addition to involvement in various activities of the Nepalese community, he has recently been appointed as a board member of Regional Advisory Council (RAC) for Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC).

Here’s what he has to say about his candidancy, visions and NRNA in general; in a talk with Tirtha Khatiwada for Neo Stuffs:

1. How long have you been engaged in such work?

I have been involved in community work since late 90s. However, I have started taking up leadership roles in community organizations from 2009.

2. What is your own definition of NRNA?

NRNA is a global umbrella organization to represent all Nepali Diasporas. In very simple terms NRNA’s objective is to play the bridging role between Nepal and Nepali Diasporas and the country of their residence to benefit both the Diaspora community and Nepal as a country. As our motto says, this is the only global organization “by Nepali for Nepali”.

3. Why do you think NRNA is the best platform to work? What has inspired you to work in NRNA?

NRNA is directly linked to Nepal by its organizational structure. One of our objectives is to help Nepal and Nepali regardless of geo location. Therefore, I believe this is the best platform to help Nepal and Nepali if we are genuine about helping them. We have recently witnessed during the earthquake relief program that NRNA was the only Nepali run global organization working on the ground. This is true reflection of our global reach as an organization.

4. Why should one vote for you?

I have a vision to take NRNA Australia to the next level, I have faced the challenges and resolved them in positive manner as a community leader, I have proven leadership track maintaining harmony and unity in the community.

In addition to these points, NRNA is a non-political and not-for-profit organization. Therefore, I am standing up to reflect this core philosophy of the NRNA movement. Hence, I am confident that our community members appreciate those people who can stand up against the tide and represent the core value of the organization.

5. What are your short or long term agendas and plans? If you win the election, what do you want to achieve?

Recently, we have been busy working on the earthquake relief program. Because of this unprecedented and unpredicted calamity the whole priorities have been shifted. I have a list of short, medium and long term plans which need to be re-prioritized in the changed circumstances. I will be finalizing these priorities and make them public within next couple of weeks. Helping the victims of Nepal earthquake is more important than standing up for NRNA election. Therefore, my current focus is on relief work. I have been also working as a Coordinator for Nepal Earthquake 2015 Relief and Welfare Committee.

6. Do you believe NRNA would be free from political interfering?

This is very subjective to the perception of people. However, if there is an election, there would be some kind of lobbying / paneling. We cannot deny this universal democratic process. But in my personal opinion, as we are living in Australia, we should not be forming panels based on Nepal’s political parties / ideologies.

I respect the individual’s right to be associated with any organization / faith / ideology. However, we should be looking at the bigger picture and adjust ourselves to this bigger canvas. Politics itself is not a bad thing, but just like any other thing in life where we use it a question which defines wrong or right.

I would encourage our community members who have settled in Australia to join Australian political parties as we have the right to be PM of this country and be part of this system. I will provide full support to our community members regardless of which side of the politics they join. Even if we don’t achieve a lot as a first generation migrant, we will open the doors for our children.

7. There are few other candidates for the same position and they are backed up by political wings, what is your preparation for getting ahead of them?

I have many competitive advantages. I am standing up to represent the core philosophy of the organization i.e. “non-political”. Since a long time people have been complaining about this behavior. However, I have not seen anyone standing against this pattern now. Therefore, I am confident that those community members who believe in this core vision of the organization will help and support me.

In addition to this, there are many people on both sides of the panels who have felt that enough is enough and are looking for the third candidate who can represent the true value of the organization and I stand to represent that true value of NRNA Australia. Therefore, I am confident that there will be overwhelming support from our community members closer to the election date.

I understand that I am standing against the tide which itself is a vision and courage to stand up against something that we believe is not a right thing to do.

8. In the last minute, the number of registered members of NRNA Australia was increased dramatically while honest people were working on ground to support the earthquakes victims. People have expressed their concerns regarding legitimacy of the membership. Do you agree to establish the independent body to investigate for the credibility?

From my early days in NRNA movement, I have been advocating that we should promote the organizational values and increase the membership based on these values / objectives. In addition to this, I do not agree that people should join any organization just to take part in the election. Election is one of the processes in organization’s life cycle which should also reflect its objective and values. People should become the member if they agree with the organization’s values / objectives and be part of the election process as a valued member of the organization.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed a sudden spike on the number of members just before the election in every term. Having large number of members is strength for an organization. However, the process of motivating people to join an organization so that they can support certain panel / group is unhealthy practice.

As far as the validity of the members’ application concern, there are membership processing and dispute committees already formed which will validate the applications as per NRNA Australia guidelines and approve the application for eligible members only.

Therefore, I do not see any requirement to setup another independent body. As you have mentioned in your question, many people including myself have been busy in the relief program and few people have seen this as an opportunity which is very unhealthy mentality. I hope our community members are capable of thinking independently and choose the leadership based on the merit and their work.

9. Thank you very much for your time and best wishes with everything.

Thank You!


Neeraj Pun (NEO)

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