#Meteoric Rise Barely After Six Months in Politics

Rabi Lamichhane: Combative journalist turned home minister

Published On: December 27, 2022 08:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 27: Rabi Lamichhane was a popular TV journalist, who hosted a popular TV show ‘Janata sanga sidha kura (Straight Talk to the People). He came to fame as he attempted to set the Guinness World Record for hosting the longest-ever marathon television talk show in April, 2013. Having previously worked with a number of media platforms including the state-owned Nepal Television, News 24 Television, Lamichhane most recently worked with the Galaxy 4K Television. He resigned as Managing Director of Galaxy 4K TV to form Rastriya Swatantra Party on June 16 and announced the formation of Rastriya Swatantra Party a week later. His role then changed from a combative journalist to a political campaigner as he was engaged in a number of campaigns to solicit votes for his party.

Within six months of forming the party under his leadership, Lamichhane has been able to make a meteoric rise in his political career with newly-elected Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal appointing him as a Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister in his Cabinet. His party, which contested the election with the symbol ‘bell’, won seven seats under the First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system and 13 seats under the Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system, making the party the fourth largest in parliament. Rastriya Swatantra Party was a key political party to secure 138 seats in parliament as the first largest party, Nepali Congress, and the second largest party, CPN-UML, decided not to join hands to form a new government.

As a TV journalist, Lamichhane rose to fame by raising the problems and hardships faced by Nepali migrant workers abroad and various social problems including fraud and corruption within the country. He asked tough questions to politicians and the government authorities to hold them accountable. Although his way of journalism was questioned by many and many argued that he was doing ‘activism’ rather than journalism. A case is currently pending at the Supreme Court against him. Lamichhane, who was a US citizen from 2007 to 2017, is accused of not renouncing his Nepali citizenship while being an American citizen. Nepali law does not have provision of dual citizenship. Many have raised questions if the ongoing investigation against Lamichanne over his citizenship will continue as he now heads the home ministry that oversees the functioning of the police organization as well. 

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