Formation of House panels stalled

Kathmandu, June 24

The National Assembly today could not nominate members of thematic committees as a result of a dispute between the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the opposition Nepali Congress over representation and leadership of the panels.

The NA, which was scheduled to make nominations today, withdrew the agenda from its regular business schedule as consensus could not be reached on the issue.

The dispute arose after the NCP (NCP) did not accept the NC’s proposal for forming the committees on the basis of consensus. The NC is seeking ‘respectable’ representation and leadership of some committees, but the NCP (NCP) is of the view that parties’ representation in the committee should be on the basis of their representation in the Parliament.

The to-be-formed NA committees include Sustainable Development and Good Governance, Legislature Management, National Concern and Coordination and Delegated Management and Government Assurance Committee. The Parliament will have two joint committees — Public Hearing Committee and Constitution Implementation and Monitoring Committee — each of which will have three members from the NA.

“We have sought the ruling party’s official view on the modality of members’ nomination and leadership selection in the committees,” the NC’s National Assembly parliamentary party leader Surendra Pandey told THT. “However, we have yet to receive a reply.”

But NCP (NCP) parliamentary party leader Dina Nath Sharma said the NC’s demands were not justified because leadership would be chosen by a majority of members in the committees as per parliamentary practice.

As the NC has only 13 members in the 59-member NA, its chances of getting the leadership of any of the four committees are slim. Sharma also added that the NC, which had denied leadership of committees to the opposition when it was in power, barring the Public Accounts Committee, did not have a moral ground to seek the leadership of committees.

“We will try to convince the opposition, if it does not agree we will follow due process in the next meeting on Thursday,” said Sharma.

According to the NA regulation, the chairman could announce the committees if consensus was not reached among the parties.

NC’s Pandey, acknowledging that the chairman had such rights, said they would come up with a political opinion only after the ruling party’s next move. “At this point, we are making efforts to forge consensus,” he said.

Nepali Congress leaders have also been trying to hold discussions with NCP (NCP) Co-chairpersons KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal on the issue.