I don't want to give big promises like operating mono-rail in Kathmandu
Sirjana Singh, candidate of Mayor, Kathmandu (Nepali Congress)
TNW: You seems to have a dream to become the first woman Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolis. What is the main purpose behind your candidacy ?
Sirjana Shrestha: This is the era of woman. The women in Nepal have already got reservation in politics. Now they have become competent to walk hand in hand with men. I think, now women must compete with women if they are to show their competency and to move forward. I have been witnessing garbage in the streets of Kathmandu for the past 25 years, as I came out of my house, which is still there without any progress. We are confronting continuously with the same traffic problem, experiencing dust and smoke as well as pot-holes of roads. So far, Kathmandu’s voters have elected only male Mayors in the past three decades, who seems to have incapable of resolving these problems. You see, women are capable of cleaning their house and managing home affairs. If they can do so why can’t they make the capital city clean and manage the affairs of the metropolis? The post of Mayor is not only a political position, it is also a platform to carry out social service. Therefore, I fielded the candidacy for the post of Mayor to address the problems facing the city-dwellers such as traffic jam, air and dust pollution, garbage issue, corruption and so on. My aim is to make the capital city clean, green, healthy and livable. I will make the Metropolis transparent and free of corruption by adopting good governance.
I don’t want to give big promises like operating mono-rail in Kathmandu
TNW: Was your decision to contest the election for the post of Mayor pre-planned or it came abruptly ?
Srijana: In fact, I had no idea earlier, to contest the election. The offer came suddenly for me. The Nepal Women’s Association Kathmandu District decided to make me Mayoral candidate for Kathmandu, which I was not aware of earlier. I have been involved in students’ activities since the students movement of 1980, when I got beaten by the police and also spent my nights in police custody. I was the Nepal Students’ Union’s unit president at Mahabouddha Nursing Campus at that time. Then I became the elected treasuer of Shanker Dev Campus Students’ Union on behalf of the NSU by defeating Pampha Bhushal (the current Energy Minister). After I got married to Nepali Congress leader Prakash Man Singh in 2042 B.S., I did not formally took part in active politics, and focused my attention to serving my new family. I was then nominated as the chief advisor of Nepal Women’s Association Kathmandu District after the demise of my mother – in-law Mangla Devi Singh, who was the president of Nepal Women’s Association. In this way I have been involved in social and political activities till the date.
TNW: The previous Mayor of Kathmandu could not fulfill his promise to bring mono-rail in the capital city. Don’t you have such plans ?
I don’t want to give big promises to my voters. My focus will be to make the city clean, beautiful and manage its affairs effectively. As Kathmandu is a small and historic city the idea of mono-rail or underground metro is not suitable. The soil of Kathmandu is fragile as there was a big lake in the past, which may not support huge structures. The city is turning into a jungle of concrete, which must be reversed. My aim is the make the city clean, green, healthy and livable.
TNW: How do you put your priorities in numbers, ie, first, second and third priorities?
Sirjana: My first priority is to bring good governance, adopt transparency and end corruption in the metropolis. My second priority is to the city clean and green. My third priority is to look after the problems of children, women and old aged people living in the city.
TNW: Will you through some light on your social activities?
I have also been involved in various social activities such as establishing health camps, providing relief materials to the victims of earthquake and Covid from time to time. As a household woman, I have been dedicating my life to the family and looking after the houseold works. But when I get some free time, I don’t wast it by watching TV or sleeping on day time. I use it to serve the people by getting involved in various social works.
TNW: Is it true that you got ticket to contest the election for the post of Mayor at the recommendation of your husband and former Deputy Prime Minister Prakash Man Singh and Arzoo Deuba, spouse of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba?
Sirjana: It is totally false. There is no truth in such rumours. The Nepal Women’s Association recommended my name for the Mayoral post and I think seeing the political background from which I grew, the party took the decision.
TNW: How confident are you about winning the election?
Being a woman candidate I got very good response from the people of Kathmandu. As I came from a political family and I have been involved in various social political activities without holding any position for a long time, I think the majority of people will certainly vote for me. People are well acquainted about the performances of the past Mayors of Kathmandu and the condition of the city. The past Mayors could not perform upto the expectation of the people despite having a huge budget. So, I think being a fresh Mayoral candidate my chancing of winning the election is much higher. The people will definitely trust me and I will certainly win the election.
TNW:What other works would you like to perform if you got elected?
Sirjana: I will work for the conservation of the cultural heritage of Kathmandu as well as natural beauty of the city. The rivers of the city are polluted, which I wanted to clean up after winning the election. I will also renovate and maintain many temples, historic shrines and monuments. I will dedicate myself to preserve and promote traditional art, culture, artefacts, traditional dances, music instruments etc. which are unique and original.