CPN-UML lawmakers stalled proceedings in both Houses of the Parliament today accusing Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota of being complicit in the 'conspiracy' to split their party.

On the first day of the new session of the Parliament, Speaker Sapkota had to postpone the HoR meeting more than once to defuse the tense situation, but lawmakers from the main opposition continued to stall House proceedings.

Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand tabled the Political Party Act (Second Amendment) Ordinance in the House of Representatives amid sloganeering by UML lawmakers against Speaker Sapkota for not confirming the expulsion of 14 UML lawmakers, including Madhav Kumar Nepal, who later split the party and formed a separate party - CPN(Unified Socialist).

As soon as the Lower House commenced, UML Chief Whip Bishal Bhattarai rose from his chair saying that Sapkota did not act impartially when the party wrote asking him to confirm the expulsion of 14 lawmakers for defying the party whip. Instead, he became a part of the conspiracy to split the UML. Bhattarai said the speaker, who acted promptly to confirm the expulsion of Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal lawmaker Sarita Giri and CPN-Maoist Centre lawmakers Ram Bahadur Thapa, Top Bahadur Raymajhi, Gauri Shankar Chaudhary and Prabhu Sah in the past, did not do the same, and after 13 days, said there was no need to act on the UML letter seeking confirmation of expulsion of the 14 UML lawmakers. Sapkota had decided on August 29 that there was no need to take action against the 14 lawmakers.

After Bhattarai's speech, UML lawmakers swarmed the well of the House shouting slogans against the speakers' alleged bias against the party.

Sapkota said he had not violated any legal provision and they should help him run the House, but UML lawmakers continued to protest. He said the expulsion of 14 UML lawmakers was sub judice in the Supreme Court and the issue could not be discussed in the House. Sapkota then postponed the House proceedings for 15 minutes.

When House proceedings resumed, UML lawmakers continued their slogans, and Sapkota postponed the meeting for 15 minutes again. UML lawmakers swarmed the House well when Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand tabled the Political Party Act (Second Amendment bill). After Khand tabled the ordinance, the speaker postponed the House meeting till Friday.

UML lawmakers stalled proceedings at the National Assembly twice, following which Chair of the Upper House Ganesh Prasad Timilsina postponed the meeting till Friday.

Earlier, UML Chair and Parliamentary Party Leader KP Sharma Oli had told the Parliamentary Party meeting that his party would not allow House proceedings to go on as Speaker Sapkota had conspired to split his party by not confirming the expulsion of 14 UML lawmakers.

He said the 14 lawmakers that had been expelled by the UML were no longer lawmakers, and if the Speaker allowed non-lawmakers to sit in the House, that would be against the provisions of National Assembly Regulations and House of Representatives Regulations.

It was therefore, the party's duty to not allow such House proceedings. He also said that if the speaker decided to allow the 14 ' expelled' UML lawmakers to function as lawmakers, the same should also apply to the four CPN-MC lawmakers, and they should be reinstated.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 9 2021, of The Himalayan Times.