By Birat Anupam, SUNSARI:- On Thursday noon, Chief Minister of Province 1 Sherdhan Rai resigned from his 3.5-year-long tenure as the first Chief Minister of Province 1. The same afternoon, Bhim Acharya of the same party was sworn-in as the new Chief Minister of the province.
Earlier in morning, CM Rai, also the parliamentary party leader of CPN (UML) Province 1 had proposed Acharya as the new parliamentary party leader of the party at a meeting in the temporary capital Biratnagar.
Though appointed CM of the province to addresses differences within the party, there is no certainty of long Acharya’s tenure will be the second CM of the Province. The ruling CPN (UML) has now been divided to form CPN (United Socialist) party led by Madhav Kumar Nepal.
CM Acharya will now have to prove a majority within 30 days as per Aarticle 188(2) of the Constitution. CM Acharya has so far only appointed two members in his cabinet.
Meanwhile, not much is known about CM’s Acharya’s personal and political career. And here is what you need to know about him:
Personal Life Journey: From Dhankuta to Sunsari
CM Acharya was born at Teliya of Dhankuta district on 27 April 1959, as the third son of Bala Prashad Acharya and mother Laxmidevi Acharya. However, his family left the hills to migrate to Tarai. He is presently a permanent inhabitant of Inaruwa Municipality-6 of Sunsari district.
CM Acharya, together with his better half Niradevi Acharya, has a son, Asim, and a daughter, Ashmita. Academically, he has accomplished masters’ degree in management from Tribhuwan University of Nepal.
Political journey: from Student leader of ANNFSU to Chief Minister of Province 1
The 62-year-old Acharya has an active political career spanning 46 years since he began his political journey in 2032 BS, as a student leader during the party-less Panchayat era of Nepal. He was an active leader during student movements of 2035/36 BS. In 2036 BS, he was elected as the secretary at Free Students Union of Institute of Engineering. After couple of years, he was again elected at as secretary at Free Students Union of Saraswati Campus of Kathmandu. In the same year, he was elected as the secretary of the Youth League of CPN (ML).
He was elected as the General Secretary of All Nepal National Free Students Union (ANNFSU) from its seventh national convention. In 2039 BS, he became Secretary General of Leading Youth League of CPN (ML). In 2041 BS, he was arrested for 11 times and served jail term of around 2 years for protesting against Panchayat system.
In 2046 BS, he was secretary of ‘Democratic Movement Coordination Committee’ formed by CPN (ML). He was a mass mobilization leader at People’s Movement of 2046 BS. From 2047 to 2055 BS, he started his politics from his home district as district secretary of CPN (UML).
In 2054 BS, Acharya became central committee member of CPN (UML) from its sixth national congress at Nepalgunj. During 2057 to 2058 BS, he was office secretary at CPN (UML) headquarters.
Likewise, 2058 to 2065 BS, he became Koshi Zonal in-charge of CPN (UML). In the first Constituent Assembly election of 2064 BS, he was elected from Sunsari constituency number 6. He even became chief whip of CPN (UML) from 2065-2069 BS. Again in the second Constituent Assembly election, he was elected from the same constituency and even became Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation in the coalition government led by NC’s Sushil Koirala in 2070 BS.
From ninth national congress of CPN (UML), he was elected as the secretary of the party. Again in the Provincial Assembly election of 2074 BS, he was elected from Sunsari constituency number 1(2).
Chief Minister in the third attempt
Bhim Acharya is the senior most provincial member in the Provincial Assembly of Province 1. No other members are equivalent to his political height as he is the only member who is office-bearer at the central committee.
Despite being a heavyweight leader, his ascent to the post of Chief Minister of the province was full of hurdles from the very beginning.
On 9 February 2018, he lost the parliamentary party leader election in the party. He however lost by only two votes, gaining 24 votes against Sherdhan Rai’s 26. One vote had been disqualified.
The election was not just the election of the parliamentary party leader but also for the post of the Chief Minister as the UML enjoyed a majority 51-member in the 93-member Provincial Assembly. On 14 February, CM Rai was appointed as the first CM of the province shattering the hopes of Acharaya.
Interestingly, the same competitive pair came together and Rai proposed Acharya for the post of parliamentary party leader paving the pathway for his Chief Minister post on Thursday.
During the intra-party conflict of Communist Party of Nepal (CPN), a no confidence motion was lodged against CM Rai on 21 February 2021 proposing Acharya as the Chief Minister. The motion was however unsuccessful after CPN was dissolved by the verdict of Supreme Court on 7 March 2021. The motion was withdrawn later in the first week of April.
Acharya was with the Madhav Nepal-led camp in the party when he tried to depose Rai from the post of the Chief Minister, but was unsuccessful due to the court’s order, reinstating the erstwhile CPN-UML. Acharya then changed camps to join the establishment side led by UML Chair KP Sharma Oli after Madhav Nepal formed a new party, CPN (Unified Socialist). And for which he was rewarded the post of the Chief Minister, finally grabbing it in his third attempt. RSS
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