Name: Ashta Laxmi Shakya
Date of Birth: 1954 AD (2010 B.S.)
Place of Birth: Jhochhen, Kathmandu, Nepal
Political Party: Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist)
Education: College dropout, Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, Kathmandu
Parents: Tirtha Bahadur Shakya, Kulmaya Shakya
Spouse: Amrit Kumar Bohara
Children: a Son & a Daughter
Ashta Laxmi Shakya, the Vice-President CPN-UML, is the first woman Chief Minister (CM) of Nepal. She was appointed as the Bagmati Province CM on 18-Aug-2021 i.e after the outgoing CM Dormani Poudel resigned from both his posts.
Shakya, unanimously elected as parliamentary party leader of CPN-UML was appointed by Governor Bishnu Prasad Prasain as per Article 168 (1) of the Constitution of Nepal.
Shakya, in 1999 was elected as a member of HoR (House of Representatives) from a constituency in Kathmandu. She then served as the Minister for Women, Children, and Social Welfare in the years 2004 and 2005 under Sher Bahadur Deuba’s Cabinet when the Country was still under Monarchy. Later Ashta Laxmi also became Minister for Industry under Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s Cabinet from August 2008 to May 2009.
Ashta Laxmi Shakya was born to a Newa Buddhist family in Jhochhen of Kathmandu. She was barely eighteen and a high school graduate when she thought of pursuing politics. Shakya was highly impressed by Mao Tse-tung, the founding chairman of the People’s Republic of China. She thoroughly read the articles on the struggles of Chinese women activists at the Chinese Library. She was then enrolled to learn the Chinese language with her friend Sulochana Manandhar. She further learned about Communism from Mahesh Man Shrestha, her teacher who was a leftist intellectual, and a physician.
Shakya says she was impressed by the communist ideology of treating everyone as equals.
Shakya joined UML, when in Ratna Rajya Laxmi College in the early 80s as an underground cadre. While still in college she with six youths formed a group that worked towards changing societal norms. She as a teacher would visit villages and educate people there about communism and publish booklets on revolutions and communist leaders.
She was house arrested for being politically active but somehow, she fled home to skip forceful marriage. But before that, she destroyed all her photographs that could serve as proof, donated all her belongings for the wellbeing of the party, and took a vow to obey the party directives.
Shakya spent eleven years underground moving from village to village. She was stationed in Piskar village in Sindhupalchokk, Panga of Kirtipur, also went as far as Illam and Jhapa in eastern Nepal. Wherever she traveled she taught people how to read and write and also educated them about public health.
She became a district committee member of Jhapa and an in-charge of All Nepal Women Association in Mechi Zone in 1984 only to become a member of Mechi Zonal Committee later in 1988.
Apart from that, Shakya headed Muslim Ittihad Organization, Central Law Department, and Parliamentary Hearing Committee. She played a significant role to establish women’s organizations within her party. With Gaura Prasai, Sushila Shrestha, and other women, Astha Laxmi organized a secret conference of women cadres to form the “All Nepal Women Association” in 1981. This active organization later elected Shanta Manavi as a president.
She married Amrit Kumar Bohara, the CPN (ML) party in charge, and has two children a son and a daughter with him.