ITAHARI, May 27: Today marks the 62nd anniversary of Nepal’s first cabinet that was formed with people-elected representatives. The cabinet constituted on 27 May 1959 (13 Jestha 2016 BS) was led by first people-elected Prime Minister of Nepal, BP Koirala. Before this epoch-making day, all Nepalese cabinets were formed and dissolved at the behest of ruling power elites and the then monarchs of Nepal.
The story is not to explain the plans, policies, achievements and drawbacks of the Koirala cabinet but to elucidate some six fascinating facts about the first popular Nepali cabinet until its formation and swearing in ceremonies.
1. Cabinet formed after so far the longest election in the history
Nepal’s first general election was scheduled following eight years since the country got democracy with the historical people’s revolution on 18 February 1959. The 45-day-long election ended only on 3 April. According to a news published in The New York Times on 19 February 1959 with a headline ‘Nepalese voting begun’, there were 18 polling days. The election was held for 109-member Lower House of the parliament where Nepali Congress secured two thirds of the seats (74).
The first-ever election was praised as a free and fair even at international arena. The then editor to the Foreign Affairs, the reputed American magazine on foreign affairs and diplomacy, Hamilton Fish Armstrong, had talked about the fairness of the election. In his essay titled ”Where India Faces China’ published on July 1959, he had written, ”A remarkable feature of the election was that the Home Minister D.R. Regmi only got 503 votes in the electoral constituency having 5000 plus eligible voters, and that all 21 candidates belonging to his group lost in the election along with him. The defeat of the official in charge of maintaining public order during the election seems evidence that it was fair.”
There are no elections that were held for 45 days in the history of Nepal after this. Besides being the benchmarking election, it also made another history as the largest marathon election in the six-decade-long electoral history of Nepal.
2. BP’s wife was against his presence in governmental positions
It sounds like fairytale these days when political leaders and their spouses are mongering after power by all means. However, it was true that Sushila Koirala, the wife of BP Koirala, was against his participation in the cabinet.
She had always advocated for his role similar to that of Gandhi in India. She was said to be unhappy when BP was picked as a Home Minister during the premiership of Mohan Shumsher Rana after Nepal entered into a new democratic regime. She had believably expressed her disappointment when BP became the first elected PM of Nepali. BP himself has confessed