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Meteoric rise and fall of Rabi Lamichhane

Rabi Lamichhane had given a slogan in the second general election two months ago – electing those who are capable. He did not know this when he decided to enter into direct politics by opening the Rastriya Swatantra Party six months ago – he must be a Nepali citizen to do politics or any kind of public life in Nepal. And, the certificate of Nepali citizenship is the indicator of that.

No one paid enough attention to Rabi’s citizenship issue, instead the general voters quickly picked up on his slogan. Even though he defeated Krishna Bhakta Pokharel from Chitwan 2 by a wide margin. But the Supreme Court has curbed his basic disregard for the rule of law. Ironically, Rabi joined the election process by violating of the laws of Nepal. Not only that he became the law maker and head of the ministry, i.e. the Home Minister. His “meteoric rise” has been transformed into a “steep fall” with today’s verdict.

But this is not his permanent political break. The court of Nepal seems to be somewhat lenient towards Rabi. If he wants, he can get a certificate of Nepali citizenship immediately. He can join again in the upcoming by-election of Chitwan 2.Some immediate waves of this have been generated.

First, the moral question. With the loss of his position as minister, MP and party chairman, he will be recovered through the legal process. But a big moral question will arise on him. His courage to take over the Ministry of Home Affairs without managing the conflict of interest that was raised along with the questions raised on him was certainly not natural. Questions are being raised about his audacity to take over the reins of such a sensitive body of the state without even regaining the citizenship of Nepal. And some questions related to his personal life still remain.

Second, the future of his party. People know Rabi’s Party or Bell (Ghanti) more than the name of the party that contested the elections under the bell symbol. Although there are many potential leaders and MPs in this party, Rabi’s personality has overshadowed them. After raising public questions about him, natural interest will arise about the future of the party.

Third, the imminent crisis of the power coalition. Rabi is one of the main partners of the new alliance suddenly formed by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and UML President KP Sharma Oli. The politicians of Kathmandu also took this case in the sense that the chairman of the main opposition Congress, Sher Bahadur Deuba, was trying to destroy the new alliance. There is also a question about the political ease with which the remaining 19 MPs from Rabi’s party will work in this coalition with the support of 168 MPs.

Deputy leader Biraj Bhakta Shrestha will lead the parliamentary party in Rabi absence. But along with this, internal conflicts within the party are also coming to the surface. Some have estimated that the party itself may split.

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