Nepal withdraws public holiday on Friday

Indo Asian News Service

Kathmandu, April 17 (IANS) Amid wide criticism, the Nepal government has decided to roll back its decision to declare a public holiday on Friday, the day when President Bidya Devi Bhandari is scheduled to return home at the end of a five-day state visit to India.

Earlier, the government had announced public holidays on April 17 and April 22 -- days when the President was slated to leave for her foreign tour and return home, the Kathmandu Post reported on Monday.

On Monday morning, Bhandari, leading a 33-member delegation, left Kathmandu for India on a five-day state visit at the invitation of her Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee. A public holiday was observed on Monday.

In monarchical Nepal, public holidays were customarily announced whenever the King embarked on an official visit to any nation or returned home after the visit. The announcement on Sunday by Law Minister Ajay Shankar Nayak about the public holidays on April 17 and 22 appeared a continuation of the previous practice -- but strident criticism from almost all quarters forced the government to have a re-think on the decision.

This is Bhandari's first foreign tour after assuming office in October 2015.

Her delegation includes Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat and Peace and Reconstruction Minister Sita Devi Yadav, five women MPs and senior officials.

--IANS

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