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Death of a visionary

Death of a visionary

With that disarming smile of his, Rabin­dra Adhikari always appeared calm, sometimes preternaturally so. His comrades and opponents alike would find themselves sucked in by his easy charm. Adhikari, who most recently served as the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, had oodles of substance, too. The 49-year-old Nepal Communist Party leader was a development visionary, as reflected in his count­less newspaper articles and two best-selling books. His party rightly saw him as a rising political star and entrusted him with the most important responsibili­ties, both in the party and in the government.


The life of this once-in-a-generation politician was cut brutally short when he died in a chopper crash in Taplejung district on Feb 27. Having joined student pol­itics on the eve of the 1990 movement for democracy, Adhikari quickly established himself as a fearless and articulate student leader. He was not afraid to take prin­cipled stands, even at personal cost. It was Adhikari who led the signature campaign for the punishment of then Prince Paras Shah who had run over singer Pra­bin Gurung in 2000. Adhikari was also at the forefront of protests against India’s occupation of Kalapani.


Having proven his mettle as a student leader, the then CPN-UML gave him a ticket in the first Constitu­ent Assembly election in 2008 from Kaski district. He won. He triumphed again in the second CA elections in 2013, from the same constituency. Having cast a seem­ingly unbreakable spell over his Kaski constituency, he was sent to the national parliament again in the 2017 general elections. While in the two Constituent Assem­blies, Adhikari played important roles in parliamenta­ry bodies like the Public Accounts Committee and the Development Committee, for which he is still praised.


Later, as a tourism minister, his focus was on enhanc­ing air connectivity, both within Nepal and with other countries. He largely succeeded. But his stint as a min­ister also earned him perhaps the biggest blot on his otherwise stellar political career after he was linked to the misappropriation of funds in the purchase of two Airbus aircraft.


Yet the sincerity with which he carried out his role as the tourism minister is hard to doubt. His zeal in mak­ing Visit Nepal 2020 a grand success was exemplary too. More than that, his records speak for themselves. Rabindra Adhikari will be sorely missed.