LALITPUR, May 23: Shova Shakya is the immediate past chairperson of Lokkriti Vihar in Patan. She became the first female chief of the monastery after 15 male chiefs. She handled those responsibilities for 10 years.
Shakya's identity changed after she ran for deputy mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City. The newly formed Sajha Party selected her as candidate for deputy mayor just ahead of nomination day. And she has managed to secure a large number of votes despite the very short amount of time she had for electioneering. As of Monday evening, it is still difficult to pronounce on her chances of winning.
Whatever her prospects, Shakya is taking the electoral race in a different way. “I did not file my candidacy to win or lose. Our main agenda is to garner public support for our cause. We are receiving votes as per our expectations,” she told Republica.
With the vote count still under way, she is trailing Nepali Congress candidate Geeta Satyal by about 2,000 votes. Satyal has received 14,876 votes so far. Shakya is trailing with 12,736 votes.
If she should win the post, she plans to promote Nepal as a religious and cultural tourism destination. She is confident that Nepal's wealth of artifacts can be promoted in the international market. “We can survive on our arts and culture. The metropolitan city can play an important role in marketing our rich culture,” she explained.
She said she joined the electoral race as she felt that “instead of labeling politics a dirty business, we need to enter into it and clean it up”.
Shakya claims that if she had had a few more days to reach out to her friends and supporters and inform them about her election symbol, she would have received more votes. “So many of them have telephoned me and said they couldn't get through to me ahead of election day and find out what my election symbol was,” she said.
Shakya was confident of public support as she has worked as a cultural leader and also supported hundreds of local women in entrepreneurship development and development projects.
Though one needs to wait some more to find out how she has fared, Shakya has already given the candidates of major political parties a run for their money.