KATHMANDU, Nepal (Xinhua) – As Nepal gears up for conducting local level elections after a hiatus of two decades, 21-year-old Ranju Darshana on Tuesday filed her candidacy for the post of mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) as the youngest candidate.
As the process of nomination of candidates for the local polls in 283 local units under 34 districts was held on Tuesday, she has become the only female candidate to vie for mayor of Kathmandu.
The Bibeksheel Nepali Party has picked Ranju Darshana for the post, claiming her as the youngest mayor candidate in Nepal’s election history. She has been active in politics through this party in the last three years.
Born in the capital city itself and pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies, Ranju wants to make Kathmandu a livable city and metropolitan in a true sense.
“Right now, Kathmandu is a metropolitan city only nominally. Our infrastructures are poor, the air that we are breathing in is killing us, and there are cases of corruption. Addressing such issues, I am here to make Kathmandu the most beautiful city in the world”, Ranju Darshana, the youngest candidate for Mayor of Kathmandu, told Xinhua on Tuesday.
Candidates have filed their nominations for metropolises, sub-metropolises, municipalities and rural municipalities in three provinces. For the mayor and deputy mayor of KMC, over a dozen of independent candidates and candidates from various political parties registered their nominations.
Unlike the craze of candidates from the largest or major parties in the past, speculations are high that the public focus has been shifted toward youth and new faces for KMC this time.
“I have been receiving an overwhelming response from all quarters of society. People have seen me as a ray of hope, which has boosted my energy to step ahead. I am hopeful of my victory,” Ranju expressed her hope with Xinhua.
Corruption, mismanagement in public transportation system, increasing air pollution, rebuilding of quake-damaged heritage sites, administrative reforms are some of the major issues that most of the candidates in Kathmandu have raised.
Kishor Thapa, a former government secretary and an independent candidate for the mayor of Kathmandu, told Xinhua on Tuesday “My vision of Kathmandu is clean, secured and inclusive Kathmandu. I want to revive the historical glory of Kathmandu and want to make the city clean, green and open.”
The local level election is going to take place with a new federal set up governing the local government with legislative, executive and judicial rights. The first phase of local elections is going to be held on May 14 while the second phase has been scheduled to be held on June 14.
According to the poll holding body the “Election Commission”, around 5 million voters will cast their votes at 7,200 polling centers in the first phase of the elections. Earlier this week, the commission claimed that all election materials have already been sent out to the respective districts and preparations have been completed.
However, changing political scenario including impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushila Karki, the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi and the ruling party Rastriya Prajatantra Party’s decision to withdraw from the government have triggered fears and doubts among the public about the pre-scheduled election programs.
Amid such, the uninterrupted and successful completion of candidates’ nomination process has raised confidence that the Himalayan nation will witness local elections as pre-planned after 20 years.