Kathmandu: The mounting public anger against Nepal’s top politicians for remaining locked in power games and failing to form a consensus government found expression in violence on January 20 with a man slapping Communist chief and Prime Ministerial aspirant Jhalanath Khanal at a public program.
Khanal was attending a party program in Itahari town in southern Sunsari district when Devi Prasad Regmi, regarded as a supporter of the leader’s Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, clambered up on the makeshift stage and slapped the Communist chief on the face.
Regmi was heard blaming Khanal and “leaders like him” for the country’s woes.
Khanal’s aide said police had taken Regmi under control and would initiate action against him.
He was a contender for the Prime Ministerial post after Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned in June and was regarded as being instrumental for Nepal’s ouster after reaching a power-sharing agreement with the Opposition Maoists.
But the enmity with Nepal forced him to exit from the race after the Maoists welshed on their promise to support him.
Since then, Khanal led his party, the third largest in Parliament, to sit neutral all through 15 rounds of subsequent elections, which caused the polls to end fruitlessly.
The January 20 attack was ironic as the government led by Khanal’s party saw an unprecedented breakdown in law and order with the government failing to take action against crimes, especially those perpetrated by or with the support of Ministers and civil servants.
However, till now, no action has been taken against the errant Minister.