The decision comes after a hiatus of 16 years after the then government led by late Girija Prasad Koirala decided to discontinue the tradition to celebrate Pritihvi Jayanti as National Unity Day.
KATHMANDU, Jan 10: After a hiatus of 16 years, the government has decided to grant a public holiday on the birth anniversary of late king Pritihi Narayan Shah, who is also recognized as the founder of modern Nepal.
A cabinet meeting held in Singh Durbar—the principal secretariat of the government—on Monday took a decision to this effect, according to a cabinet minister. The birth anniversary of late king Shah falls on Wednesday (i.e. Poush 27).
“Cabinet meeting today has decided to grant a public holiday to mark the birth anniversary of late king Prithivi Narayan Shah. It is not clear whether the government will officially celebrate the day as the National Unity Day,” the minister said, adding that the decision will be formally announced later.
Nepal used to celebrate the birth anniversary of late king Shah as the National Unity Day. But with the political change in 2006 and the subsequent abolition of the 240-year old institution of monarchy, the tradition to celebrate the National Unity Day was discontinued as a section of people objected, saying that the unification process had instead suppressed the country’s ethnic, cultural and religious diversity.
The decision of the government comes in the wake of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) putting this as one of the conditions to extend its support to the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government. Prime Minister Dahal is scheduled to take a vote of confidence in parliament on Tuesday.
RPP, which earlier extended its support to the government, had put forth conditions to prepare a Common Minimum Program (CMP) of the government, allocate RPP at least three ministerial portfolios and celebrate the birth anniversary of founder King Prithivi Narayan Shah as the National Unity Day to join the government.
The then government led by late Girija Prasad Koirala had decided to discontinue the tradition to celebrate Pritihvi Jayanti as the National Unity Day 16 years ago amid protests from a section of people. All political parties were then rooting for the abolition of monarchy and establishing democratic republican system in the country.
According to RPP Spokesperson Mohan Shrestha, the party set the condition to celebrate the birth anniversary of Prithivi Narayan Shah as the National Unity Day to join the government. This was in response to a request put forth by Prime Minister Dahal to vote in favor of his government in parliament.
With the government turning positive to meet its demands, the RPP has already extended support to the provincial government in Province 1 and Bagmati province. RPP lawmaker Bhakti Sitaula has been elected as Speaker of Province 1 Assembly.
According to RPP leaders, RPP leader Bhuwan Pathak is also set to be the speaker of Bagmati province assembly. Sources said RPP Chairman Rajendra Lingden is also likely to be Deputy Prime Minister in the Dahal-led cabinet at the center.