Govt urged to declare Paush 27 public holiday

Kathmandu, January 10

On the eve of 295th  birth anniversary of late king Prithivi  Narayan Shah, people from different walks of life, including  senior leaders of major political parties, have urged the government to declare Paush 27 (January 11 this year) a public holiday and observe it as ‘National Day of Unity’.

According to historian Dinesh Raj Panta, since 1951 to the 2006 popular movement, the day was observed as ‘Prithvi Jayanti” and Day of National Unity.

Speaking during Zero Hour in the Parliament today, CPN-UML lawmaker Prakash Jwala demanded that the day be declared a public holiday. “Prithivi Narayan Shah was not only a king, but also the one who unified the country,” he stated. Many other parliamentarians from both the ruling as well as opposition parties echoed him.

On Monday, Rastritya Prajatantra Party lawmaker Kunti Kumari Shahi had demanded the same taking special time in the House. “Our country was never colonised by any imperlialist power. We are proud citizens of Nepal today as Shah unified the country,” she argued.

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are also flooded with pleas calling on the government to declare January 11 as a public holiday.

RPP is organising a tea party in Bhrikutimandap tomorrow to mark Shah’s birth anniversary. Chief Whip of the party Dilnath Giri told The Himalayan Times that he had personally requested top leaders of all political parties to pile pressure on the government to declare a public holiday on this day.

Giri said top leaders, including Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli, had responded positively to his request. “They all said they had no objection if the government declared January 11 a public holiday,” Giri said, adding that former prime minister Jhalanath Khanal even asked PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal to take a decision to this effect before long.

According to him, PM Dahal had told him that he would take a decision in this regard after consulting other political parties.

Spokesperson for the home ministry Bal Krishna Panthi, however, said the government was yet to take a decision on the matter. ‘“The decision has to be taken by the Cabinet,” he said.