Under-fire Agriculture Minister Parajuli quits

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Under-fire Agriculture Minister Parajuli quits

Jul 2, 2015-

Agriculture Minister Hari Prasad Parajuli stepped down from the position on Thursday after coming under fire for sexual harassment allegations.

Photos and video clips posted on social media sites appear to show Parajuli trying to grope female participants during National Paddy Day celebration held in Capital’s Mulpani area on Tuesday.

After informing his party Chairman KP Sharma Oli on Thursday morning, Parajuli tendered his resignation which was immediately approved by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. “Questions were raised against me in public quarters because of misinformation disseminated by a section of the media. I felt I should not stay in the post anymore,” reads Parajuli’s resignation letter.

Earlier on Tuesday evening, Chairman Oli and Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam, who leads the party in the government, had asked Minister Parajuli either to resign or face the party action. He is the fourth UML minister to resign from the Koirala-led government. Tourism Ministers Bhim Acharya and Deepak Chandra Amatya, and Industry Minister Karna Bahadur Thapa were others to quit over various reasons.

UML has not named Parajuli’s replacement yet due to differences among senior leaders over the choice of candidate. According to UML sources, DPM Gautam is lobbying for Balram Banskota for the now vacant post, while party Chairman Oli is throwing his weight behind Deepak Karki. “Bam Devji will take charge of the minister until the party names the candidate,” said UML Secretary Pradeep Gyawali.

Despite the resignation, UML leaders and cadres are demanding for a more stringent punishment against Parajuli including his removal from the party position. “Mere resignation is not enough as the party has been subject to widespread criticism because of his irresponsible act. The party should also take action,” said UML leader Ram Kumari Jhankri.

All Nepal National Free Students’ Union, the party’s sister organisation, burnt the effigy of Parajuli in the Capital, demanding his expulsion from the party.

The UML has been facing public wrath over questionable activities of its ministers, including accusations of their involvement in polygamy and appointment of controversial officials in key government positions. Tourism Minister Kripasur Sherpa has been accused of having two wives and not helping his son in obtaining the citizenship, while Sports Minister Purushottam Poudel has courted controversy after he appointed Keshav Bista as the member-secretary of the National Sports Council.

 

Published: 03-07-2015 07:57

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