Nepali Congress (NC) had Children Congress during the Panchayat regime. The then acting president of NC Krishna Prasad Bhattarai would tell the kids of Children Congress they should go to school and read books.
“We are poor. We don’t have money to buy books and copies to go to school. How can we study then?” one of the kids apparently asked Bhattarai. “You then stay at a corner of the city and polish boots for an hour,” Bhattarai told the kid.
Nobody knows whether that kid heeded that advice. But a few central leaders of NC 28 years after the fall of Panchayat polished shoes of the commoners at New Baneshwore from 10 to 11 Tuesday morning as a satire on corruption in politics.
“We have organized the program of polishing shoes as per the message of Kishunji as a satire on corruption in politics,” said central committee member of NC Chandra Bhandari who polished shoes in Baneshwore. “We have intentionally chosen the occasion of Martyr’s Day to give a message that the party which had leaders like Kishunj is not headed to the right direction now and needs to be reformed. We want to send the message that we need politics of integrity,” Bhandari added.
“We did not look like the regular shoe polishers. The people, therefore, were confused on seeing us at first. They put their foot forward only after reading the banner,” said central committee member Dhan Raj Gurung who also polished the shoes. “We had not fixed the rate. They paid us of their own volition.”
Laxmi Didi, who operates a teashop where Bhattarai used to regularly have tea, paid Rs 2,000. Former state minister and NC leader Rajendra Kharel got his shoes polished and gave Rs 5,000. “Some gave Rs 100 while some even paid Rs 1,000,” Gurung added.
The leaders including Gurung, Bhandari, Radheshyam Adhikari, Binod Bhattarai and others earned Rs 30,000 by polishing shoes for an hour. The program was organized by the Krishna Prasad Bhattarai Academy.
The money collected will be deposited in the accounts of the academy that had made arrangements of all the materials needed to polish shoes, according to Gurung.