Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota, who Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had assailed for blocking a debate and vote on the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement, today defended his role saying that he had taken the oath to defend the interest of the country and the people, and he was doing the same.

Speaking at the leadership handover programeme of Federation of Nepali Journalists Central Committee here today, Sapkota, without naming the PM and the MCC controversy, said some people were expecting him to support them in the name of neutrality, but he would never work under pressure.

Stating that the acts of lawmakers reflected sovereignty, which sometimes was reflected by the decision of the speaker, and hence he would take independent decision to protect the interests of the country and the people.

He said he was ready to make any sacrifice to defend the decision of his conscience. He said encirclement of the Parliament had begun when it started defending the constitution by taking decision to aid democratic norms and values and to advance the national interest.

He said the attempt to encircle was still being made.

The speaker's remarks came a day after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli held an all-party meeting and criticised the speaker for putting the MCC agreement on hold in the HoR.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 19, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.