You definitely wouldn’t believe someone if they told you that a former political party head in Nepal lives in a dera, which is a room or two where they have a simple existence. However, it is based on a historical event and concerns Chitra Bahadur KC, a former Rastriya Janamorcha chair.
After winning the most recent parliamentary elections in Baglung-1, KC is now stationed in his party headquarters in Kapan. But he’s currently looking for a less expensive apartment close by. His search for lodging is as interesting as his life itself.
His opening at-bats
At the age of 80, Chitra Bahadur KC is well-known among those who follow parliamentary affairs. Some people recognize him as a revolutionary, a federalism opponent, and an orator.
KC was born in Galkot of Baglung and moved with his father to Kathmandu when he was 14 years old. When he was 14 years old, he joined the Communist Party, which marked the beginning of his political career.
In Baglung, his father was employed as a cook. A group of citizens, including Kunwar Indrajit Singh’s father, traveled to Kathmandu to ask Ruler Mahendra to preserve the system after Kunwar Indrajit Singh toppled the Galkot king and became prime minister.
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The group took a 60-rupee flight to Kathmandu after initially walking to Pokhara. They put in their request, but they never heard back. The king then asked KC’s father to leave the child behind as they headed back, assuring him that he would receive the proper education here. In exchange for his son’s education and the promise to stay behind to handle the pending request, KC’s father agreed to it.
However, Chitra Bahadur KC was not given a place in a school. He cleaned dishes at the palace for the subsequent six months. “I was only able to smell meals being prepared. In a letter to his mother, KC described everything and stated that he did not want to continue the employment. “On our plates, we would only get rice and gundruk,” he wrote.
The worried mother gave her pair of dhungri earrings to KC to sell in order to make some cash. KC left the palace to sell it, and he never returned. After that, he used the money to gain admission to Nandi Ratri High School.
He then started hiring deras one after the other. “At that time, a month’s rent cost Rs 5. While I was studying there for my intermediate and bachelor’s degrees, I used to live in a shared apartment with my friends in Narayanchaur, Naxal.
But in 1969, after receiving instructions from the government to be arrested, he left Kathmandu and went into hiding.
Turbulent second innings
Chitra Bahadur KC abstained from voting in 1991. In 1994, he lost the following round of elections. He later won the elections in 1999 and re-entered Kathmandu. This time, he moved into a leased room in Ghattekulo and began residing there. He stayed there for over twenty years.
“Three different owners came and went, but I stayed put, unmoving. When I left, the rent had increased from the initial $1,000 per month to Rs 9,000.
He kept living the dera life and also won another election in 2013. He left his rented home in 2017 after being unsuccessful in his bid for a place in the parliament. He then moved in with his daughter in Bhairahawa.
Two sons, one in Japan and the other here, were also born to Chitra Bahadur KC. Both do not possess homes of their own in the city. For two elderly people, surviving in Kathmandu became difficult. His 75-year-old wife.
When KC arrived in Bhairahawa, he confessed that he had given up trying to rejoin the legislative fray and had made a commitment to stay away from Kathmandu. But as he watched the nation descend into anarchy and unrest, he made the decision to seek for office once more this time.
He returned to Kathmandu after winning the elections held on November 20. He is currently looking for a different room to live in while temporarily residing in the party office. But now he is concerned about inflation.
Through and through, an outlier
Chitra Bahadur KC served as vice-premier and minister of cooperatives and poverty reduction in 2015. He was unable to improve his dire financial situation, though. He is an example of how politicians must work for their money or alter their way of life.
“When you work as a minister, people assume you’re in it for the money. But did I become a minister in order to line my pockets with cash from crime? I was never tempted to do it and I won’t be now.
Chitra Bahadur KC receives a rent allowance of Rs 18,000 per month as a member of parliament. Additionally, he is looking for a place near Baneshwor that fits inside his budget while still saving him money. However, the cost of rent alone is Rs 40,000 for any livable space here.
He doesn’t want to be too far from Baneshwor, where the parliament is located. In Singha Durbar, a new building is being constructed by the government. Even when the new parliament begins meeting in the new structure, KC wishes he had a room nearby so he wouldn’t have to rely on public transportation to get around.
His political party has urged him to drive a car on numerous occasions, but he has never complied. He is well-known for arriving at work on foot or a tempo (a three-wheeled vehicle) “like the people he is representing.”