Opposition alleges one Janamorcha Nepal lawmaker 'kidnapped'


The sudden disappearance of Gandaki Provincial Assembly member Khim Bikram Shahi during the debate on the notrust motion filed against Gandaki Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung has led to indefinite postponement of the debate.

Janamorcha Nepal PA member Piyari Thapa lodged a complaint at Gandaki Provincial Assembly, saying that her party had not been able to contact Shahi and sought to defer the crucial meeting of the assembly that was to discuss the no-trust motion. "Shahi's mobile phone was switched off. We did not know where he was when I filed the application at the PA Secretariat," Thapa told THT.

Shahi was later found at the intensive care unit of Charak Memorial Hospital in Pokhara. A hospital staff told THT that Shahi came to the hospital at around 1:00pm and had tested positive for COVID-19.

CPN-Maoist Centre lawmaker Asha Koirala told THT over the phone that out of 180 lawmakers, employees, and security personnel who underwent PCR test yesterday, only three lawmakers - Rajiv Pahari, Prabha Koirala, and Mana Kumari Gurung and a security person, Sushma Gurung - had tested positive for COVID-19. She wondered how Shahi, who tested negative yesterday, was admitted to the ICU of Charak Hospital.

Koirala said she had reason to suspect that the ruling party got Shahi kidnapped to defeat the no-trust motion. "Voting on the no-trust motion was scheduled for today. Since 15 lawmakers of NC, 11 lawmakers of CPN- MC, two lawmakers of Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal and three lawmakers of Janamorcha Nepal were supposed to vote in favour of the no-trust motion, it was certain to get passed," Koirala said.

She said disappearance of Shahi had diminished the chances of passing the no-trust motion against the CM. "First, the government prorogued the session of the PA and now during the special session of the PA, it is resorting to unfair means to foil the no-trust motion. In the business advisory meeting, no representative of the government and the ruling CPN-UML was present," she said.

Nepali Congress lawmaker in the Provincial Assembly Krishna Chandra Nepali Pokharel, who is the opposition's candidate for the next chief minister, had tabled the no-trust motion on Monday.

Twenty-eight lawmakers - 15 from the NC, 11 from the CPN- MC, and two from the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal - had registered a no-trust motion against the Gurung-led government on April 16 and had sought a special session of the Provincial Assembly to consider the no-trust motion.

UML has 27 members and has the support of one independent member – Dipak Manange. To defeat the no-trust motion, Gurung will need the support of another party.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 29, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.