KATHMANDU, July 5: Provincial Assembly Member Rajiv Gurung alias Dipak Manange, a gangster-turned politician, stole the media limelight on Thursday when the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) officially welcomed him into the party.
Gandaki Province Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung welcomed Manange amid a special function.
“He is joining our party as Rajiv Gurung, not Deepak Manange,’’ Gurung, who is also the party’s in-charge for Gandaki Province, said. He expressed hope that Manange would now leave his past behind.
Manange’s entry into the ruling party comes around two years after he was elected to the provincial assembly with the support of the left alliance.
Manange was elected provincial assembly member of Gandaki Province from Manang (B) as an independent. But he had tacit support from the then CPN-UML. He took his oath of office and secrecy in Pokhara in January, 16 months after being elected.
After joining the party, Manange expressed a commitment to stick to the party line.
This marks a significant leap in the political career of Manange who has had an arduous journey along this path.
Police had arrested Manange from Swayambhu on April 20, 2018, and sent him to prison. The notorious gangster was convicted for masterminding the violent maiming of another gangster, Chakre Milan, in 2005. A case of attempted murder was filed against him at Kathmandu District Court shortly after the incident. In appeal hearings in 2013, the Appellate Court Patan slapped a five-year jail sentence on him. He was released on bail following a Supreme Court order last December.
Manange’s entry into the NCP has stirred much debate, with many questioning the ruling party’s commitment to keeping politics clean.
“I don’t see anything surprising here as none of the existing parties is serious about purging the undesirable elements,’’ said Surendra Thapa, a political analyst.
Manange’s entry into the NCP comes two days after the court convicted two former lawmakers – Sanjaya Sah Takla and DB Karki – in cases related to murder and corruption respectively.