'Failing to win won't stop our work'Ranju Darsana Neupane, widely celebrated youth leader from Bibeksheel Nepali Party, secured third position in the race for Mayoral post for Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
Ranju Darshana Neupane, the widely celebrated youth leader from the Bibeksheel Nepali Party, has secured the third position in the mayoral race for the Kathmandu Metropolitan City. She secured 23,439 votes, a sizeable number for a candidate from a relatively new political party. Immediately after the announcement of the results, Prithvi Man Shrestha talked to Ranju about the results and her next move. Excerpts:
Many people viewed the votes you received as extraordinary for a 21-year old leader from a relatively new party. What had you expected?
I contested the election to win it like any other candidate. Despite failing to secure victory, I am happy that I have got a good number of votes. I hope this love of the people will continue to grow but we have to work hard to retain it.
What are your immediate plans?
Our relation with the people of the city is not only during the elections. Our team is visiting every doorstep in the Kathmandu Metropolitan City from tomorrow. Because of the time constraints, we had failed to reach every household. We also have plans to work hard for the next five years to win the hearts of more people of Kathmandu. Our job will be to work as the watchdog of the works of the new KMC leadership. We can cooperate with the KMC leadership for its good works. We will have a separate office for this purpose.
As a student, there are concerns how you will juggle politics and studies. What’s your take?
I have not been engaged in political and social issues only recently. Since I was connected with the Bibeksheel Nepali Party four years ago, more of my works have gone into social and political fields. As far as my college is concerned, my subject is development studies. I get theoretical knowledge from the college and practical experience from the field. My faculties are very cooperative and have been doing whatever they can to help me. I have started going to college again. It is all about time management and there are no problems taking study and politics together.
What impact will your votes have on the electoral prospect of the Bibeksheel Nepali in the future?
I think its impact is being felt in other areas too. But we have to wait for other elections to be surer. Youths from the Bibesheel Nepali and elsewhere have been excited and have come forward to lead the nation. We are reaching out to them to share our experiences.
When you filed your candidacy for the mayor, some people had commented that you are not mature enough to lead. What have you got to say to them?
When I filed my candidacy, some people had said I would struggle to get more than 100 votes. But it was not their fault. They have not seen the youth generation lead the nation. There has not been such opportunity. But the votes show that people of Kathmandu wish to see their youth representatives reach a higher level to work for them.
Many parents don’t want their children to enter into politics. How supportive has your family been?
Essentially, they have been very supportive of my choice. Surely, they did not support me in my adventure from the first day but I had to prove to them what I was doing was good. I continued to convince them with my works. Four years back when I joined the Bibeksheel Nepali, I used to be active with the campaign “Nepal khula chha” (Nepal is open) when shutdowns were announced. My family was more concerned with the type of politics I had got into. I joined the Bibeksheel Nepali to establish a good political culture. They saw it from the media and my friends.