Kathmandu Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya completed his first 100 days in office this week. During the honeymoon period of his election campaign, he had promised to complete 100 tasks, including ridding Kathmandu of air pollution and turning the capital into a ‘smart’ city.
Shakya turned out to be just another politician, who promises a lot during the election but delivers nothing after being voted in. Although he failed to fulfil any of his 100 promises, he often made headlines for the wrong reasons.
The first board meeting of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) chaired by Mayor Shakya decided to buy mobile phones worth Rs30,000 for all ward council chairs, and more expensive ones for himself and the deputy mayor. After widespread criticism, Shakya said that he had withdrawn his decision. Later, ward council chairs revealed that KMC did buy them mobile phones.
An elected mayor is the executive chief of a self-governing municipal council, with legislative and judicial authority, and is superior to a deputy inspector general (DIG). But DIG Sarbendra Khanal, chief of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, invited Shakya to his office, and admonished him for not improving roads and ending traffic jams. Shakya just listened, without defending himself or vowing to work harder.
When a school girl died after being swept into an open drain during heavy rainfall in Kathmandu, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba instructed authorities to patch all potholes on the capital’s streets within 15 days. Mayor Shakya’s response: “Patching potholes before monsoon is a waste of our budget, so we do not have any plans or intention to do that.”
UML Chair KP Oli chose Shakya as the party’s candidate for mayor, brushing aside other senior aspirants. Shakya tried to return Oli’s favour by inviting him to be chief guest at his swearing-in ceremony. But that was not all. When Oli returned home from an unofficial foreign trip, Shakya went to the airport with a bouquet to welcome his party boss. A mayor usually ventures to the airport to welcome a President or Prime Minister: Oli is neither at the moment.