Nepal's first ever billionaire, Binod Chaudhary - who recently joined the ruling Nepali Congress - is set to contest elections even as he canvasses support for the party ahead of provincial and parliamentary polls this week. Chaudhary, 62, whose ancestors migrated to Nepal from India around 150 years ago, has become a crowd puller on the campaign trail, addressing over 50 election rallies across the Himalayan nation. He heads the USD 1.1 billion Chaudhary Group which runs 136 companies on five continents. The second phase of elections to provincial assemblies and the parliament is scheduled for December 7 in 43 districts across Nepal. Today is the last day of campaigning for the elections before the Election Commission deadline. He is contesting the election on a Nepali Congress (NC) ticket to become an MP under the proportionate representation system. In his campaign, Chaudhary has claimed that the economic road map drawn by him on behalf of the Nepali Congress will be the foundation for economic prosperity of the country. "I have joined the Nepali Congress party to do something concrete for the country in the economic field.
I had no more joy in being the only billionaire of a poor country. I would rather want to be a citizen of a country of billionaires," Chaudhary said. "I would devote my time and energy to make the country prosperous so as to enable it to produce many billionaires like me," he said. During a recent NC election rally in Nawalparasi district, where Chaudhary Udhyog Gram - an industrial area developed by his Chaudhary Group - is located, a huge number of locals had gathered to see the country's only billionaire. Chaudhary's name first appeared in Forbes in 2013 on the list of the world's billionaires. He also appealed to voters to vote for NC general secretary Shashanka Koirala, who is contesting the election to become a Member of Parliament from the district. Chaudhary said a Nepali Congress-led majority government was essential for attaining political stability and economic prosperity for the country. His joining the NC is seen as a major blow to the electoral alliance between CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre, in their bid to capture power at the Centre. Prime Minister and Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba has not only handed the party's general membership to Chaudhary but also appointed him as the chief of its central economic committee.
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