HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Lila Mani Paudel, secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said today that the office will notify Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai about Minister Gopal Kirati’s refusal to use the national flag on his vehicle.
Paudel said, “I will check the issue and inform the PM soon, perhaps by tomorrow. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), which is responsible for maintaining law and order, should look into the issue seriously,” he added.
Minister Kirati has not shown respect for the state by his refusal to use the national flag on the government-provided vehicle after he was appointed Minister for Federal Affairs, Constituent Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture eight months ago, although it is mandatory for ministers to use the national flag on their vehicles.
According to the Ministry of Federal Affairs, Constituent Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture (MoFACAPAC), Kirati has been using a car purchased by the ministry.
Narayan Prasad Regmi, spokesperson for MoFACAPAC, said they had observed the minister’s vehicle after news related to this was published in The Himalayan Times on May 1.
“Secretary Tana Gautama and I realised that Minister Kirati had not been using the national flag on his vehicle. However, we are not the right persons to look into this matter,” he said.
All ministers must use the national flag on their vehicles because it has been given to them as state honour and they must respect it as part of their code of conduct, according to government officials. “PMO and MoHA have to decide whether or not action should be taken with regard to this issue,” said Regmi.
According to MoHA, the government has recently approved a new code of conduct for ministers that mentions nationality, standards, responsibility and morality as well as actions. However, it is yet to be implemented.
Sushil Jung Bahadur Rana, secretary at MoHA, refused to comment.
Though the PMO had provided him a car for official use, Kirati has not used it and its whereabouts is unknown, according to government officials.
Kirati, who said he would use the national flag after the promulgation of new constitution, belongs to the UCPN-Maoist.