Kathmandu, October 1
Leaders of the main opposition Nepali Congress today said the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) was working to derail the federal democratic republic system in a bid to impose authoritarian system in the country.
Speaking at an interaction programme here, they said recent activities of the NCP cadres, including attacks on NC leaders and a youth activist, were not spontaneous, but premeditated, to silence criticism of the government’s motive to impose authoritarian system. NC General Sectary Shashank Koirala said the NCP-led government was hell bent on snatching away the people’s rights guaranteed by the constitution.
“The government’s bid to control the media means it wants to control the people’s freedom of expression which is against democratic norms,” he said, recalling how NC leader BP Koirala during his first stint as prime minister in 1958 had assigned a journalist to write against the government’s weaknesses by paying him Rs 300 per month. “However, it’s completely opposite when it comes to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who wants to silence criticism against the government.”
Senior NC leader Arjun Narsingh KC said bills related to the media council, the security council, the human rights commission, guthi and information technology, were all aimed at snatching away civil liberties, and imposing one-party system.
“Specially, the security council bill is aimed at making the prime minister all powerful,” he said.
Leader KC said Oli, right after his appointment as the prime minister, started centralising power by bringing important authorities under his office, suggesting his motives to become an authoritarian. KC also said the government failed to investigate one after another cases of corruption, including wide-body aircraft procurement, Baluwatar land-grab and gold smuggling, just to protect the NCP leaders involved. “The government drags NC leaders in corruption cases for propaganda, but I would like to challenge the government to take action against those involved in corruption, no matter who they are,” he said. KC said the preamble to the constitution had guaranteed complete press freedom, and that the government and the ruling party must follow the constitution by internalising the provisions enshrined in it.
He said attacks by NCP cadres on NC Banke district President septuagenarian Kiran Koirala fracturing her hand, attack on NC central leader Minendra Rijal in Tanahun, and blatant attack on activist Gyanendra Shahi in Chitwan, were all aimed at curbing freedom of expression.
Speaking at the event, Rijal said if democracy faced any danger, it was from the government and the ruling party itself.
He said attack on him yesterday was premeditated.
Rijal said although GP Koirala brought NCP Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal to the mainstream politics, the latter was trying to regress to the politics of violence that he practiced in the past. “We cannot accept Prachanda who favours violence even as the leader of the opposition,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on October 02, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.