‘Balen Shah has already won hearts, now election remains’

Published On: May 16, 2022 01:22 PM NPT By: Upendra Lamichhane

KATHMANDU, May 16: Kedar Gautam of Dhumbarai has been driving a taxi for over half a  decade for a living. Gautam who has gone through a lot of ups and downs in his profession took a day off on Sunday so that he could come to Bhrikuti Mandap, where the votes are being counted, to show his support for the independent mayoral candidate for Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), Balen Shah.

“I drive a taxi to support my children. At the moment, I have come in support of Balen for a better future for those children,” Gautam said. Reflecting on the hardships he has faced in the past while working in Kuwait for nine years, Gautam wished that his children won't have to face the same fate.  

“I have built some faith that Balen can fulfill my wish,” he added.

As the race for KMC mayorship is getting interesting day by day, hundreds of Balen’s supporters have gathered at the vote-counting venue at Bhrikutimandap in Kathmandu to show their support to Balen. 

But it seems it’s not just the younger generation whose support Balen enjoys. Holding the national flag of Nepal in one hand, Bhola Baral, 70, said, “The one standing for the development of the country should absolutely win. The country has expected something from him.” Baral, who had voted for various political parties in the past, said that the day has finally come for voting to be meaningful and relevant.

There are a total of 300,242 registered voters in KMC. Of them, more than half participated in the local elections held on May 13. Although Balen Shah is leading in the vote-counting so far, the final results will still take some time to be published.  

On Sunday, the area near Bhrikutimandap was rejoicing over the lead maintained by Shah in the vote-counting so far. The ambience was no less than a celebration of victory, as if Balen had already won the mayoral race.

Shah’s supporters sang and danced over every single announcement made by the election officials from the door of the City Hall. “Although the results are yet to be announced, Shah has already won our hearts,” Ritima Timalisina from Kalanki said. “We are very excited to see him win,” she added. Timalsina, also an undergrad student, said that Balen emerged as a ray of hope at a time when public disgust against the political parties was increasing.

Similarly, Laxman Ghimire, 63, of KMC-29 said that Balen is a representative of the people and that the support of the people for him will remain after he wins the mayoral race. “He will not be alone. People from every corner will support him,” Ghimire said.  

As mentioned by Ghimire, people from various places and even those who did not vote for Balen want him to win. “Although I cast my vote in another electoral constituency, I am rooting for Shah to win in Kathmandu,” Tika Bhandari of Lalitpur’s Tikathali said. 

CPN-UML candidate Keshav Sthapit, Nepali Congress (NC) candidate Shrijana Singh and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) candidate Madandas Shrestha are also contesting alongside Shah in the mayoral race of KMC. 

"Truly speaking, Balen is competing with all status-quoist parties,” Krishna Chapagain, a resident of Bhaktapur said. “That’s why he has the support of all those people who stand for change,” he added.

At the time of the filing of this report (1:25PM), Balen Shah was leading the KMC mayoral race with 6,893 votes while his closest rival, UML candidate Keshav Sthapit had secured 3,644 votes.


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