Back in politics with a landslide

Published On: December 3, 2019 07:57 AM NPT By: SANDESH SHRESTHA

Bidya Bhattarai’s election as member of parliament
POKHARA, Dec 3: Bidya Bhattarai gave up politics to enable her husband late Rabindra Adhikari to actively engage himself in that calling. She quit the political scene after she got married to Adhikari in 1999.

Before tying the knot with Adhikari, who lost his life in a helicopter crash in Taplejung in February, she held various positions at the student and women’s wings of the erstwhile CPN-UML. 

The parliamentary seat from Kaski Constitueny-2 fell vacant after the death of Adhikari, who was minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation at the time. Senior leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) then suggested to Bidya to come back into politics. But she initially declined, grieving as she was for her late husband.

Party insiders say Bidya finally agreed to file her candidacy for parliament from Kaski-2 after senior NCP leader Bamdev Gautam requested her to do so. Adhikari used to consider Gautam his mentor in the party.

Bidya has been saying in public that she decided to return to politics to fulfill the plans and dreams of her late husband for the development and prosperity of the nation.

In the by-election held on Saturday, Bidya won from Kaski Constituency-2 with a wide margin of 8,403 votes. She secured 24,394 votes while her nearest rival, Nepali Congress candidate Khem Raj Paudel, got 15,991.

This is the fourth time the Adhikari family has won from the same constituency. The late Adhikari himself won from the constituency in the first and second Constitutional Assembly elections. He also won the parliamentary elections there in 2017.

Joining politics again, Bidya says, was not a choice but an obligation. Before filing her candidacy from Kaski-2, she was an assistant college professor.

Born on November 14, 1972 in Kathmandu, Bidya started out in politics in 1988 when she joined a movement of All Nepal National Free Students’ Union (ANNFSU) against an economic blockade imposed by India. She formally entered politics in 1990 when she joined a students committee at Padmakanya Multiple Campus. The same year, she was elected treasurer of All Nepal Women’s Association (Kathmandu chapter). She also became a member of the CPN-UML.

Also in 1990, she was elected a member of the ANNFSU National Council. Meanwhile, she lost the election for president of the Free Students Union at Padmakanya Campus in 1992. Bidya was elected secretary of the ANNFSU central committee in 1998.

In 1999, she became a central committee member of All Nepal Women’s Association, the women’s wing of the erstwhile CPN-UML. That same year, she got married to Rabindra Adhikari, then a student leader also. After they had two son, Bidya chose to quit politics and take care of the family so that Rabindra could devote himself more to politics. 

But she also resumed her formal education and later joined the teaching profession. In 2001, Bidya started teaching at Prithvi Narayan Campus in Kaski. She quit her position as an assistant professor earlier last month to file her candidacy for parliament. Her victory in the by-poll on Saturday marks her new innings in politics.

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