Srijana Singh is running for the post of mayor for Kathmandu Metropolitan City from the Nepali Congress. A former youth leader, women’s rights activist, and former chairperson of the Nepal Women Union of her party, Singh is believed to be the chief rival to CPN-UML’s Keshav Sthapit for the top job.
Political pundits foresee a close contest. The race is heating up, and candidates have intensified their respective campaigns in the run-up to the May 13 vote. Clad in a sari, a tika on her forehead, and garlands and khadas (ceremonial scarves) around her neck, she has been out campaigning day in, day out. Accompanying her is the deputy mayor candidate, Rameshwor Shrestha, and Congress cadres waving banners and party flags.
They walk through the narrow alleys and courtyards of traditionally Newari neighborhoods, thriving business hubs and busy streets of Kathmandu, stopping at doorsteps and shop-fronts to interact with people. Singh is polite and soft-spoken, a character that some critics have also portrayed as her weakness.
She has the opportunity of creating history by becoming the first female mayor of the capital city. She is the daughter-in-law of late Congress leader Ganesh Man Singh and the wife of Prakash Man Singh, a Congress bigwig. The campaign organization committee is hoping that Singh coming from such a historical political family will be more of a boon than a burden. It also espies the possibility of most women voting in her favor in light of Sthapit’s implication in sexual harassment cases.