JANAKPURDHAM, March 18: Handling legal matters, reconciling the two sides in a dispute, and providing justice to the victims at the local level are the responsibilities of the deputy mayors and vice- chairpersons of the local units. The constitution has even given them the right to form judicial committees. However, those entrusted with the responsibility of resolving the people's legal issues at the local level are found padlocking the municipal offices and tearing minutes of meetings.
Renu Jha, deputy mayor and coordinator of the judicial committee of Hansapur Municipality, has knocked the doors of the District Administration Office stating that her security is under threat from Mayor Ramgyan Mandal. On the other hand, Mayor Mandal has expressed disappointment towards the deputy mayor who is from his own party. Organizing a press conference, Mayor Mandal said that the day-to-day work of the municipal office has been affected after Deputy Mayor Jha padlocked it.
"People were elated to see their representatives handling local bodies after a long hiatus. But it must be really depressing for them to see their representatives fighting with each other for their own sake instead of thinking about the welfare of the people," said Mandal.
The ward chiefs of seven of the nine wards and 24 other members had forwarded a written statement to the municipality demanding to relocate the municipal office to a place “accessible to all.” They even recommended shifting the office from Bachauda of ward no.2 to Hansapur Chowk.
Mayor Mandal claims that Deputy Mayor Jha padlocked the office after he held consultations with the authorities concerned to relocate the municipal office. This triggered a dispute between them. Both of them are cadres of Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN).
There are a total of 48 members in the executive body of the municipality including 17 from RJPN, 13 from Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN), and nine each from Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML. "I won't ever go against the law while making decisions. So, if my decision is right everyone should co-operate with me," said Mandal.
Meanwhile, deputy mayor Jha has urged the mayor not to attack her “self-esteem” by shifting the office of the executive body of the municipality to elsewhere. "He should not only consider the demand of the members of the executive body but also listen to the locals who are against the decision," said Deputy Mayor Jha.
Mayor Mandal has warned of running an alternative office if the padlock is not removed by Sunday. He also signaled that he might shift his working station to Hansapur. While Mandal's home is situated in Hansapur, Jha lives in Baghchauda where the current municipal office lies.
Likewise, Niludevi Kewat, deputy mayor of Sabaila Municipality expressed her dissatisfaction towards Mayor Bijay Shankar Prasad Shah by organizing a press conference in Janakpur. On the other hand, Mayor Shah has shared his grievances against the deputy mayor with journalists over the phone. Even after a week after concluding the municipal assembly, the municipality has not been able to pass its policies and plans due to the obstruction by the deputy mayor. Mayor Shah has accused the husband of deputy mayor of trying to interfere in the affairs and projects of the municipality. Mayor Shah was elected from Nepali Congress while Kewat was elected from CPN (Maoist Center).
Earlier, Mina Kumari Yadav, the deputy mayor of Ganeshman Charnath Municipality of Dhanusha had torn the minutes of the executive body of the municipality, venting her ire for not being provided a vehicle. This had caused a cold war between her and the mayor of the municipality, Rambabu Yadav.