JANAKPUR, Sept 20: The principal secretary and secretaries of various ministries of Province 2, civil servants including chief district officers and security officials reached the Office of the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers on Wednesday morning to attend the function to mark the third Constitution Day.
But neither Chief Minister (CM) Lalbabu Raut nor any other minister of the provincial government showed up at the event which was supposed to be chaired by the chief minister himself even as officials waited there for two hours. At last, the officials planted tree saplings and left the venue.
Chief District Officer Prem Lal Lamichhane of Dhanusha district reached the venue as per the directions of the federal government. “I reached the Office of the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers this [Wednesday] morning as directed by the home ministry. The chief minister wasn’t there but the office organized the function,” Lamichhane told Republica. He said that they waited for a long time but they had to start the tree plantation on their own as the chief minister and other ministers didn’t show up.
The federal government had directed the provincial governments to mark the Constitution Day in special functions chaired by the chief ministers in the districts where the provincial assemblies and the provincial governments are located. “I was planning to celebrate the Constitution Day in a joyous manner but I felt quite sad as the provincial government didn’t cooperate,” said Lamichhane.
He, however, expressed satisfaction that at least the civil servants organized the event even in the absence of the chief minister and other ministers of the province.
Also, a provincial cabinet meeting scheduled for Monday was postponed as the central leadership of the two ruling parties – Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) – didn’t give clear directions to their party chapters in this connection. On Wednesday morning, three ministers and state ministers of the RJPN had already reached different districts to address protest rallies as asked by the party leadership.
However, Social Development Minister Nabal Kishor Yadav, who was present at the office of the chief minister at the time of the function didn’t attend the function. He was busy planning protest rallies in different districts with his party cadres.
“The provincial government isn’t celebrating the Constitution Day,” Chief Minister Raut told Republica. “I am not attending any function related to the Constitution Day. The civil servants might be celebrating it.” He didn’t explain any reason behind boycotting the function. “I am neither supporting the constitution nor do I protest it. Don’t ask me why I didn’t attend the function.”
Other ministers Gyanendra Yadav, Bijay Yadav and Shailendra Sah and state ministers Saroj Singh Kushawaha, Usha Yadav and Yogendra Raya Yadav of the FSFN, however, didn’t join any protest programs.
The ministers and state ministers from RJPN have not only joined the protests but also addressed the rallies. Ministers Jitendra Sonal, Ram Naresh Raya, and Nawal Kishore Sah led the rallies in Saptari, Siraha, and Dhanusha respectively.
Also, state ministers Dimple Jha, Abhiram Sharma and Suresh Mandal addressed rallies in Mahottari, Sarlahi, and Rautahat respectively. The ministers were seen marching in the rallies while their bodyguards were providing them security.
Addressing the rally in Saptari, Minister Sonal claimed that they will continue their protests until some of the provisions of the constitution are amended.