Padma Kumari Aryal of CPN-UML had a tough competition with a seasoned rival this election. She contested the elections in Syangja-2 against Gopal Man Shrestha. Shrestha who is vice chairperson of Nepali Congress, had strong hold in Syangja. He has won several elections there in the past. However, this time, luck betrayed him. He lost the elections to Aryal who is the district chairperson and central committee member of CPN-UML. She is one of the eight directly elected women members of the parliament. Recently Republica correspondent Mohan Gurung caught up with Aryal and held discussions on several issues. Excerpts:
What could be the reason behind your victory?
Actually, I had a very strong base here. I have been active in politics and social work since the past three decades. People identify me as their well-wisher. I understand what their real grievances are. They are confident that I am going to work for them with utmost honesty. Therefore, I think, they gave me a chance.
During the vote counting, you alleged that your rival candidate captured booth. Do you still think so?
That was not a baseless allegation. Whatever he did was very sad. He did that by misusing his powers. He even misbehaved with voters. He tried to terrify people. Everyone knows this. In some polling stations, things were horrible. But, since people supported me, they voted for me.
What are your plans?
Now, as I have been elected I look forward to keep the promises I made to the voters. I am not going to let them down. I will do everything possible to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of the voters. I have a list of to-do things. I will implement all of them one by one. For instance, there are some hydro projects that in limbo. I will take necessary actions to move them forward. Industrialization and urbanization of several areas in the district will be another priority. I look forward to promote tourism in the district by restoring and maintain cultural and historical heritages across the district. Apart from that, I will also focus on modernizing agriculture.
How would you get along with other parties?
I believe in working together as team spirit makes anything possible. I will cooperate and coordinate with all parties, all stakeholders to get the desired results. The main thing that matters is strong will power to make things I happen. I have it. I am sure I will get the needed support from everyone. People of Syanja have elected me and I will do everything to make them happy for making the choice.
What are your main challenges?
The main challenge here is topography. The mountains are good to look at, but at the same time building roads and other infrastructures is equally hard. Similarly, there is acute problem of drinking water in this district. We don't have hospitals here. We also need to establish better schools and colleges so that our children don't have to go elsewhere for quality education. Similarly, lack of infrastructures for boosting agricultural productivity is another challenge. There are many challenges like these but I look forward to overcome them with the help of all stakeholders.
Leaders are always in hurry to make election promises, but hardly keep it. What do you say?
Yes, sadly that has been the trend. That is the reason people do not believe politicians easily. But unlike in the past the public has now become far smarter. If the politicians do not deliver their promises, they risk losing their political career. Even though I am also politician, I am not motivated by such fears. If you consider my background, you will find that I have always been very eager to work for the people and to deliver results. I deliver whatever I promise. I don't exaggerate and the public is aware of this.
What message you do you have for voters?
Firstly, I want to thank them a lot. This victory is everyone's victory. I would like to tell them that I will do my best to make things better so that they can live a better life. If we all have the same motto, we can do whatever we want. No matter how best policies are formulated, how good plans and projects are brought; it needs people's genuine support and active participation to make them successful. I would like to remind the public that the real power to transform the society resides with them. They should be proactive in all development activities while also guiding the government. They should monitor, warn, and suggest to the government to expedite development activities. I am personally very hopeful of a bright future for our country. But, for that we all must move together with the same spirit and vision.
Newly elected Member of Parliament from Syangja-1, Padma Kumari Aryal of CPN-UML and her rival, Nepali Congress Vice Chairperson Gopal Man Shrestha, in this combination photo.