Ram Baran Yadav remained head of the state – first President of Republic Nepal – for nearly seven years, against the stipulated two years term. The transition that got prolonged, and failure of the political parties to deliver the new constitution by 2010, gave Yadav the extended lease of life.
He bowed out of office following the election of his successor in October, couple of weeks after the new constitution was delivered in 2015, overruling reservation from Yadav, and protests from a section of the Madhes centric parties. Yadav has been quiet about the content of the new constitution ever since, but is in the news, for a weird reason that has triggered debate in the country.
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He was provided accommodation in a rented house that cost the state exchequer around Rs 1,60,000 a month. It was a locality he chose since his daughter lives close by, and he likes the house. But soon after, the government was not very regular in paying the rent ‘as there is no provision for payment of housing rent for retired officials beyond Rs 35,000.”
The land lord has now moved the court to have it vacated leaving the government with two options – either clear all arrears, and sign a deal promising regular payment in future, or amend the law and provide him with a new accommodation. A failure will lead to the first head of the Republic Nepal being thrown on the street.
This is not the first time that people symbolising Nepal’s switch to Republic from a constitutional monarchy eight years ago are feeling humiliated, exposing how haphazard and hurried the switch was. Paramanand Jha who was the Vice President during Yadav’s tenure as the President left the main official celebration in a huff, feeling ‘insulted’ on May 28 when he found that there was no chair available for him. He has also asked the government to withdraw his security guards as they are getting no facilities from the state, and as a result, he is meeting their personal expenses. Jha is however, lucky compared to his boss, as he has his own house in Kathmandu and does not have to face the wrath of a landlord.