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Laxman Gurung obituary: A life dedicated in rural development

Laxman Gurung obituary: A life dedicated in rural development
Laxman Gurung, the chairperson of Mahabu Rural Municipality, Dailekh, has passed away. He was involved in politics for more than five decades. “He was the hope and inspiration for the people living in Mahabu,” says Prakashraj Thapa, the spokesperson for Mahabu Rural Municipality. “He spent most of his life working for the development of his village.” Gurung is credited for initiating various development projects in Mahabu, such as rural road access and electrification. In 1969, Gurung was appointed Pradhan Panch, a village chief, which he held for 20 years. “He was the village chief during the Panchayat era, and he always worked for the interest of the local community,” says Thapa. After the fall of the Panchayat, Gurung continued his work as an active member of Nepali Congress. He was also elected as the chairperson of Bada Khola Rural Municipality.

“There aren’t many people who return to their hometown with the sole purpose of assisting in its development. But Gurung was one of them,” says Thapa. As Gurung was a member of Nepali Congress, he and his family were targeted by the Maoists during the insurgency. His house was robbed and vandalized, and he and his family were forced to leave their hometown. They moved to Birendranagar, and Gurung stayed away from active politics for a long time.

He returned to Mahabu after the situation got normal and resumed his political career. He even became the acting president of Nepali Congress for Mahabu. He was elected the chairperson of the rural municipality in the 2022 local elections. Although Gurung did not have the opportunity to get directly involved in the infrastructural development for the village, Thapa says that he played a big role in driving the authorities’ attention towards investing in bringing better infrastructure for the village, even before he got elected as the chairperson for the municipality. “The villagers looked up to him, and we had high hopes once he won the election,” says Thapa. “He was a kind, friendly individual and treated everyone equally.” Gurung, who did not have a history of any heart conditions, died on Feb 10 in Dailekh District Hospital, where he was admitted after suffering a heart attack. He was 77. Thapa says Gurung’s demise is a heavy loss to bear for Mahabu Rural Municipality. “It will be hard to come across someone who was as dedicated and sincere as him,” he says.