Govt issuing 'party-split' ordinance faces criticism from all quarters

KATHMANDU: The government on Monday endorsed a 'surprise' ordinance which makes way for the provision allowing leaders of a political party to split the party if they have 40 per cent support either in the central committee or the parliamentary party.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari issued the ordinance within hours from the time of endorsement by a cabinet meeting held on the same day.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s decision to bring the ordinance riled the rival faction led by Co-chair of the ruling party Pushpa Kamal Dahal. This sudden political development also reflects the deepening factional feud between Oli and Dahal within the NCP.

Now, criticisms are flowing in from all quarters against such a step taken by the government without proper consultations and at such a crucial time of fighting a global crisis, of which we as a nation, are affected in no smaller way.

Parties in opposition, civil society, and general public have questioned the motive of the government behind bringing such a controversial ordinance at a time when all focus and efforts should've been concentrated on measures for prevention and control of the pandemic.

Saddest incident in history: Nepali Congress

Main opposition party Nepali Congress has labelled the government's step as problematic and an irresponsible one. "The whole world is unitedly confronting the larger threat that humanity is facing. The government's decision to issue this controversial bill is unfortunate and shows how insensitive it is towards the citizens' lives," NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba said in condemnation of the move.

Deuba further urged the government rise above petty power-games, withdraw the act and concentrate on saving lives of the people.

Government's decision inappropriate, unnecessary, and against the constitution: Rastriya Prajatantra Party

Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) has criticised the Prime Minister's move in introducing two ordinances to amend the provisions of splitting a political party and that of the constitutional council. Stating that at a time when the whole country should be united in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the government introducing such ordinances is inappropriate, unnecessary and goes against the constitution.

The three co-chairs of the party -- Kamal Thapa, Prakash Chandra Lohani and Pashupati Shumsher JBR -- have jointly condemned the move and appeal the government and the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to withdraw the ordinances to prevent political instability and any harm to democracy at a time when the country is facing the grave challenge of bringing the pandemic under control.

Inviting political instability when a united front was the need is unfortunate: Samajwadi Party

Samajwadi Party Nepal has deemed the Prime Minister's move as backed with ulterior intentions as there was no such immediate need to issue the ordinance during such a crisis.

"This is a dark point in history. To engage in activities that lead to planting of divisiveness at times when unity should've been the norm is unforgivable," party joint-chair Rajendra Prasad Shrestha said.

"The Prime Minister acting as if he is the sovereign and exhibiting hunger for power is unfortunate for the nation."

The step is a serious disrespect towards the public: Sajha Party Nepal

Sajha Party Nepal, also condemning the Prime Minister's decision to introduce the two ordinances, takes it as his desire to promote autocracy and demands the government to withdraw them immediately.

Criticising that the Prime Minister introduced the two ordinances without discussing the same with the co-chair and senior leaders of his own party, Sajha Party states that the PM has taken a step which would never have been taken by anyone with human sensibilities and who understands the national responsibility, especially at a time when the country is reeling under challenging and uncertain times owing to the COVID-19 infection.

"This is also a serious disrespect towards the public who have been supporting the government even when there has been corruption at a time of crisis, and when the government leadership has been questionable," said Rabindra Mishra, party coordinator.