The government has decided to grant a public holiday on Poush 27 (January 11) to mark the occasion of Prithvi Jayanti.

A meeting of the council of ministers held on Monday evening took a decision to this effect, along with the approval of the government’s common minimum program.

The cabinet decided to announce a public holiday on Poush 27 by addressing the demand of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), one of the ruling alliance parties.

Declaring Poush 27 as a public holiday for the celebration of Prithvi Jayanti to commemorate and respect the historic geographical integration of Nepal was also included in the draft of the common minimum program of the government.

With the political change in 2007 and the subsequent abolition of the 240-year-old monarchy, the then government led by late Girija Prasad Koirala had decided to discontinue celebrating Prithivi Jayanti as National Unity Day.

Now, after 16 years, Prithivi Jayanti will be celebrated on the birth anniversary of the late king Prithivi Narayan Shah, who is also recognized as the founder of modern Nepal.

However, the move conflicts with the political belief of political parties, including CPN (Maoist Center), that opposed monarchy and went into a decade-long Civil War with the aim of overthrowing the monarchy.

Meanwhile, Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) Chair Upendra Yadav, a member of the ruling coalition, has expressed opposition to the government’s decision, claiming that the decision is against the spirit of the People’s Movement and it will create differences rather than ‘Unity in Diversity’.