Nepal | November 12, 2019

Session ends with diatribe against govt

Ex-PMs paint bleak scenario if govt fails to mend its ways

Ram Kumar Kamat

Kathmandu, September 19

The budget session of the Parliament ended today with Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara and National Assembly Chairman Ganesh Prasad Timilsina reading out President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s message to prorogue the Parliament in the respective houses.

Earlier, addressing the House of Representatives, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba flayed the government for ‘failing to maintain peace and security across the country or control violence against women’. Deuba said anger against the government stemmed from the government’s misrule and that should not be misconstrued as anger against the political system.

“Even after one-and-a-half years, the government has not been able to expand the acceptance of the constitution and to take action as per the spirit of the constitution and complete the remaining tasks related to federalism,” Deuba said.

The former PM said the government was trying to interfere in the judiciary, render Parliament ineffective and control the National Human Rights Commission.

“Although the PM has given the slogan of good governance, the biggest corruption scandals — wide-body aircraft purchase, gold smuggling, Baluwatar land grab — were seen during his rule,” Deuba added. “The  government is trying to muzzle the press, restrict people’s access to information and is pursuing imbalanced foreign policy,” Deuba said. He added that the government had brought bills against the spirit of the constitution and tried to forcefully pass them without listening to opposition parties. He said if the government kept acting against the spirit of the constitution and interests of the public, NC would object to it both in the Parliament and on the streets.

Former PM and Samajwadi Party-Nepal leader Baburam Bhattarai said the constitution needed to be amended to address the concerns of Madhesis, Janajatis and other marginalised groups and communities. He said amendments were needed also to revise provincial boundaries as proposed by the erstwhile State Restructuring Commission and to adopt presidential form of government.

“The government has failed to play a balanced role vis-à-vis India’s concept of Himalayan frontiers, China’s Belt and Road Initiative and USA’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. If we fail to manage our relations with these countries we might suffer the fate of Afghanistan,” he said. He added that playing one powerful country against another could be harmful for the nation.   Bhattarai said left forces had the old habit of building relations on the basis of political ideology but they needed to keep national interest at the centre.  Rastriya Janata Party- Nepal leader Rajendra Mahato also criticised the government for not amending the constitution.

Deputy parliamentary party leader of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Subas Chandra Nembang said his party would try to settle issues on the basis of consensus.

A version of this article appears in print on September 20, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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