Deliberations deferred due to lack of quorum

Kathmandu, December 27

The preliminary discussion on the Bill on First Amendment of Constitution of Nepal could not begin today, although the bill was included in today’s business schedule, due to lack of quorum in the House meeting.

After main opposition Nepali Congress’s lawmaker Ramhari Khatiwada pointed out that the House lacked quorum, Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar ordered the parliament secretariat’s staff to count the present lawmakers.

As only 124 lawmakers were present, the government’s plan to proceed with discussions on two bills Bill on Academy of Manmohan Health Sciences and the constitution amendment bill failed.

The Speaker then postponed today’s meeting till 1:00pm tomorrow.

“It requires the presence of at least 149 members to meet the quorum and not even 100 members are present from the ruling parties although the government has the support of 335 members of parliament,” said Shivajee Yadav, chief whip of the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal.

Earlier, during today’s Business Advisory Committee’s meeting, NC and agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front had urged the Speaker and the ruling parties to defer deliberations on the constitution amendment bill, as the talks among the major parties and the UDMF were making gradual progress, according to NC Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha.

“I requested the Speaker to put the discussion on hold for next two-three days. The meeting of NC, Unified CPN-Maoist and United Democratic Front held yesterday had made positive strides towards reaching a deal between major parties and UDMF.

They were closer to strike deal on seven points, including citizenship, boundaries of federal units, proportional inclusion, constituencies on the basis of population and incorporating the Madhesis in Nepali Army.

However, the Speaker and ruling UML and UCPN-M wanted to proceed with discussions on the bill at the House and the talks with UDMF together,” Shrestha said.

The chief whips from the UDMF had requested the Speaker to invite its top leaders and listen to the voice of agitating parties before beginning discussion on the bill, according to FSF-N Chief Whip Yadav.

Meanwhile, the government tabled two bills Bill on Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Charter Agreement and Bill on Bank and Financial Institute today.

Agitating UDMF MPs began their protest in the Parliament today as soon as the Speaker kicked off today’s business.

Sadbhawana Party’s member Narsingh Chaudhari addressed the meeting by taking special time and condemned the government for using force against the protesters yesterday injuring more than 50 people, including Sadbhawana Party leader Rajendra Mahato, in Biratnagar.

While Chaudhari was speaking, the UDMF lawmakers went to the well and chanted slogans against the government.

The sloganeering went on for around two-and-a-half hours.


Dahal meets PM

Kathmandu, December 27

Unified CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal today met Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and told him that the three major parties should forge consensus on the demands of the agitating Madhesi parties.

According to Dahal’s aide Shiva Khakurel, Dahal had apprised PM of his meetings with leaders of political parties, including protesting United Democratic Madhesi Front and the main opposition party Nepali Congress, in capacity of the coordinator of High-Level Political Coordination Committee.

Dahal was accompanied by Agriculture Minister Haribol Gajurel. Both Dahal and Gajurel objected to the PM’s decision to split the agriculture ministry.

They told PM that the decision to split the ministry meant that several institutions under the ministry would also have to split.

However, PM Oli told them that the decision was taken out of compulsion and agriculture ministry would be the lead ministry and therefore no institution under the ministry would be split.

Senior Vice-Chairperson of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic Rameshwor Raya also called on PM Oli today.