With an aim to work closely with the local administrations and policy makers, Bikalpa has been involved in a number of activities with civil organizations, local body and private players alike .With the local body elections around the corner, Bikalpa organized the first ever Mayoral Debate in Biratnagar with an objective to help first time voters choose their candidates through informed decision. This is the first local body election to be held in 20 years therefore people ranging from 18-37 age group are first time voters.
Four Mayoral candidates took few hours from their Busy schedule for the youths. Mr Bhim Parajuli, Mr Binod Dhakal, Mr Pralhad Shah and Mr Umesh Kumar Yadav discussed and debated on the topics ranging from economic issues to social and political issues. The four candidates unanimously declared to bring sweeping changes to the infrastructural projects. Mr. Parajuli stressed on making easier access to loans for young entrepreneurs. He also vowed to advocate for tax breaks and incentives for new and old industries in Nepal. He also talked about providing accessible education to all through upgrading the government schools. Binodh Dhakal stressed more on making Biratnagar a commercial hub by exploiting its potential as the transit between India, China, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar. He also stressed on providing incentives to old industries fpr reopening and regain Biratnagar’s stature of the Industrial capital. Mr Praladh Shah on the other hand critisized the ambitious plans and focused more on making Biratnagar a liveable city. He stressed on engaging citizens participate in development through community road building and waste management projects. His plans also included in improving the quality of education in Government run schools. Mr. Umesh Yadav focused on management of landless people by vowing to end their crisis and provide them affordable housing. He also focused on providing better infrastructure and announced that his party had a comprehensive 5 year plan to transform Biratnagar into a true Metropolitan city. Many issues were raised in the 70 minutes debate where all the candidates seemed to have same point of view on most issues.
The debate was boardcasted live on Radio and facebook page of Bikalpa and was attended by over 200 youths and watched live by over 1500. The program was moderated by Dr. Sandesh Das Shrestha, leading Media analyst of Biratnagar. The program was organized in association with United States Embassy Youth council, We Inspire Nepal and US Embassy and was supported by BFM, Udghosh Daily, Hotel Namaskar and Samriddhi Foundation.