Tea parties are the in thing in Nepal these days followed closely by decisive talks in swanky resorts. But that’s another issue.
The parties here are not to be confused with the gatherings in US where an ultra-conservative movement with a similar name is giving the White House resident sleepless nights.
Caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal threw one last week where thousands gathered to taste jalebis and samosas while sipping tea.
Nepal’s predecessors have also thrown such dos to celebrate festivals like Diwali and Chhath. But the one held at the prime minister’s official residence last Wednesday raised many eyebrows.
The caterer of the event was quoted in a local daily that over 6,100 plates of delicacies were consumed---costing the almost empty exchequer NRs 5 lakh.
Not good news when the country’s budget has got delayed by four months due to the ongoing political stalemate over who will replace Nepal. There’s not enough money to pay salaries to government officials.
Reports say despite officials urging him to keep the guest list short Nepal turned a deaf ear and 8000 invitation cards were sent out. The venue resembled an open kitchen in a religious function.
Nepal’s tea party was followed by another organised by Maoists who are trying to control reins of government again. Not surprisingly the caretaker PM remained absent.
Vice President Parmanand Jha who has been away from limelight also held one. But that remained off headlines.
With no effective government for four and half months, Nepalis are hoping that the tea parties (and the days and nights spent by leaders in resorts holding secret talks) would help end the deadlocked PM poll.
Even if they mean depleting the government coffer further.