Balen's Eventful Tenure

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Balen Shah has become a household name, with youths emulating his outfits and showing immense support for the rapper-turned mayor on social media platforms. His victory in the mayoral election is often attributed to the dissatisfaction with the previous leadership. Regardless of what led him to the election, his resounding victory reflects the people's eagerness for positive change and development.

Two years into his tenure, Shah has garnered a significant fan following by initiating tasks that resonate with the common people. However, this statement may seem contradictory when considering his actions towards the working-class population. Shah faced criticism for clearing out businesses run by street vendors in an attempt to alleviate parking issues. Yet, despite such actions, his overall performance in office overshadows his perceived indifference towards the needy. 

In the crowded city of Kathmandu, people often face the problems of urinating due to the lack of enough public toilets. To address this issue, Shah encouraged restaurants and other public spaces to allow people to use their toilets. This particular task galvanized people from across the country into turning their toilet for public usage. This initiation, however small, reflects Balen’s vision, reflecting his commitment to ease the life of the public. While Shah's ambitious strides in waste management are commendable, their long-term sustainability remains untested. One noteworthy initiative is his decision to conduct live meetings of the metropolitan council, reflecting his commitment to transparency.

If you enumerate Shah’s work as a mayor, it would make a lengthy list, but only those bearing novelty warrant observation and discussion. When Shah announced his intention to establish a park in honour of the late Yama Budhha, critics argued that his focus should be on more pressing matters than promoting a deceased artist. However, such criticism is baseless as Shah has the right to utilise his personal finances as he sees fit. 

Yet, when Shah posted an unethical statement threatening to set fire to Singha Durbar, a serious question arose: "Has Balen Shah become a demigod, where his every utterance garners loud applause?" While such statements undermine democracy, a significant number of people has demonstrated unwavering support for Shah. Oftentimes, the mainstream media has maintained that Shah turns a deaf ear towards constructive criticism and questions about his accountability have surfaced repeatedly. 

Additionally, a mayor must find more appropriate means to express his convictions rather than relying on Facebook statuses. Shah's significant impact on the educational sector has been a highlight of his tenure. His decision to declare Fridays as book-free days makes room for the creative indulgences of students. This shows he is committed to transforming education for the greater good of the society. 

Overall, Shah's two-year tenure, with three more years ahead, has been a roller-coaster ride with numerous twists and turns. If there's one area he needs to focus on, it's his approach towards former leaders. Shah must acknowledge that their contributions have laid the groundwork for the resources he now utilises. Additionally, he must embrace constructive criticism. If Balen Shah can refrain from impulsive actions, he has the potential to make a significant difference and leave a lasting impression on Kathmandu and its people.

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Sugam Gautam
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