Nepal | August 11, 2020

Weekly meet cancelled to duck Mahara issue?

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Kathmandu, October 3

The government today cancelled a regular weekly press conference to make public Cabinet decisions ‘to avoid questions’ related to rape allegations against Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who resigned as House speaker on Tuesday.

Minister of Communications and Information Technology and spokesperson for the government Gokul Prasad Baskota told THT that the press meet was cancelled because no Cabinet meeting took place in the past week and there was no Cabinet decision to make public.

However, observers said the fact that the government did not bother to hold a Cabinet meeting to review such a high-profile incident involving the head of a constitutional body suggested the government was not serious about the incident.

Freedom Forum Chief Executive Tara Nath Dahal said the government shying away from taking a position on the high-profile criminal case and making its position public suggested how insensitive it was. “Apparently the government just wants to let the issue fizzle out over time,” he told THT.

Moreover, the press briefing on Thursdays is not just to make public Cabinet decisions, but also an opportunity for mediapersons to seek the government’s opinion on developments in the past week. That is why secretaries and spokespersons for other ministries are also present along with Baskota to answer mediapersons’ queries on a wide variety of issues developing over the past week, besides Cabinet decisions.

Prof P Kharel, a renowned journalist, said cancellation of the press conference was purely because the government did not want to make its position clear on the Mahara episode.

“Either the government wants to dodge questions related to the Mahara scandal, or the government spokesperson does not know what the role of a spokesperson for a democratic government is,” said Kharel.

Neither the government nor the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has made public their position on the incident, except for the NCP’s decision on Tuesday to advise Mahara to resign from both his posts — speaker and  lawmaker.

Although Mahara tendered his resignation as House speaker — an ‘incomplete’ one on Tuesday and another one yesterday — he has not yet resigned as lawmaker. The ruling party expects him to ‘use his conscience’ while deciding whether to step down as lawmaker or not.

A staffer of the Parliament Secretariat had accused Mahara of raping her, and police said they were investigating the allegation.

READ ALSO:


A version of this article appears in print on October 04, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Trump end run around Congress raises questions on his claims

BRIDGEWATER: President Donald Trump’s end run around Congress on coronavirus relief is raising questions about whether it would give Americans the economic lifeline he claims and appears certain to face legal challenges. Democrats called it a pre-election ploy that would burden cash-strapped state Read More...

Yemen's UNESCO-listed Old Sanaa houses collapse in heavy rains

SANAA: Houses in Yemen's UNESCO-listed Old City of Sanaa are collapsing under heavy rains, as months of floods and storms assail a country already reeling from war, food shortages and disease. The distinctive brown and white mud brick houses of Sanaa's historic neighbourhoods, which date from b Read More...

Blast destroyed landmark 19th-century palace in Beirut

BEIRUT: The 160-year-old palace withstood two world wars, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the French mandate and Lebanese independence. After the country's 1975-1990 civil war, it took 20 years of careful restoration for the family to bring the palace back to its former glory. "In a split second, Read More...

Improving agriculture extension service

Nepal’s vegetable sector holds great promise for generating employment and increasing the incomes of rural households. Vegetables are a major high-value crop in Nepal, contributing 9.7 per cent to the country’s GDP and providing subsistence to more than 3.2 million families. Over 5 lakh smallhol Read More...

Former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee tests positive for COVID-19

KATHMANDU: Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee has tested positive for coronavirus infection. Mukherjee said that the virus was detected while he was on a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure and requested all of those who came into contact with him to isolate themselves and get Read More...

Nepal's Covid-19 tally speeds past 23k as 338 cases surface Monday

KATHMANDU: Nepal's Covid-19 tally has surpassed the 23,000 mark as 338 new cases were detected in the last 24 hours. According to the Health Ministry, the total number of cases stands at 23,310 on Monday with the addition of freshly reported cases. Likewise, 140 people previously diagnosed wit Read More...

Naya Basti-Kuleshwor area in Kathmandu sealed as yet another coronavirus case appears

KATHMANDU: Authorities have decided to seal the Naya Basti-Kuleshwor area of Kathmandu Metropolitan City-14 after yet another Covid-19 case came to light on Monday. This is the sixth Covid case detected in the ward in recent days, informed Shova Sapkota, ward chair of KMC-14. The person who wa Read More...

UN rights office concerned about Jimmy Lai arrest, seeks review

GENEVA: The UN human rights office voiced deep concern on Monday at the arrest of Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and others under the new security law and urged authorities to ensure that the legislation is not being misused. Jeremy Laurence, spokesman for the office of UN High Commissioner Read More...