King axed from Bhotojatra fest; PM steps in

Kathmandu, July 8:

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala today attended Bhotojatra festival — the last day of the longest-running festival in the Valley — as the chief guest for the first time. He attended as chief guest in his capacity as head of state. Till now the king used to be the chief guest at the festival. The crowd observed the festival in Jawalakhel as enthusiastically as before.

The Nepali Army’s band saluted Koirala upon his arrival and departure. Earlier, the band used to play the national anthem. Purusottam Paudel, chief of the Guthi Sansthan, Lalitpur, showed the black — and supposedly jewel-studded — bhoto (vest) to the PM. As per the tradition, he then displayed it from four corners of the Rato Machhindranath chariot three times.

The mangal dhun (auspicious tune) was played while the bhoto was being displayed.

Speaker Subas Nembang, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Paudel, Army Chief Rookmangud Katawal, Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokharel, Minister for Land Reforms and Management Jagat Bahadur Bogati and Minister for Water Resources Gyanendra Bahadur Karki accompanied the PM.

Representatives of local authorities, MPs and secretaries of ministries were also present in the function.

The chariots of Rato Machhindranath and Minnath were dismantled after the conclusion of the festival. As per the tradition, the idols of Rato Machhindranath and Minnath were taken to Bungmati VDC and Patan.