This picture circulating on social media shows former chief justice Gopal Parajuli receiving tika from President Bidya Bhandari at Sheetal Niwas on Vijaya Dashami on Friday.
KATHMANDU, Oct 23: A photo showing former chief justice Gopal Prasad Parajuli going down on both knees to receive tika from President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Friday went viral on social media within minutes. Members of the general people, noted personalities and even central level leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party criticized the president and her secretariat for arranging the event in such a way that it reminded one of the practice of kings and queens before the monarchy was abolished in 2008.
On Friday, Prime Minister KP Oli, ministers, top politicians and heads of various state agencies who had reached the president’s official residence to receive tika from the head of state on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami sat on chairs while receiving the tika. Inspector General of Police Sarbendra Khanal was seen kneeling on one knee in front of the president while army officials remained standing while receiving tika. Former chief justice Parajuli got down on both knees.
Bibeksheel Sajha Party coordinator Rabindra Mishra said the photo depicted “unhappy citizens, happy ruler.” He claimed that the “hypocritical-feudal socialist” nature of the ruling party repeatedly surfaced during such incidents.
Similarly, central committee member of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Surya Thapa said the way the tika was received was not in line with the spirit and culture of democracy. Thapa wrote on Facebook, “Senior human rights activist Sushil Pyakurel is adviser to the president while Bhesh Raj Adhikari, who has a doctorate in modern law, is her personal secretary. The president herself is the daughter of a commoner. Why did she even do such a thing?”
Former chief justice Parajuli for his part responded on Facebook that they are zeroing in on him without appreciating the truth of the incident.
Presidential advisor Pyakurel claimed that it was a contingency that just unfolded and was nothing pre-planned.
According to him, when the turn of the army officials to receive tika came, the chairs were cleared away. “Army officials consider this type of ceremony to be an official one and prefer to remain standing while receiving tika, hence the removal of the chairs,” he said. Parajuli arrived late for the ceremony and had to be squeezed in among the army officials. “Since he found no chair in front of the president, he knelt down impromptu,” Pyakurel added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister KP Oli has been criticized for inviting the public to receive tika from him for five days. People termed as “irrational” the head of government inviting the public for tika even during office days at a time when the government has just cut the number of public holidays for Dashain.
Parajuli was previously widely criticized for swearing in the president even after he had already been sacked as chief justice. He swore in the president for both her terms.