Leaders rue NC’s ‘poor’ performance

Kathmandu, June 7

Nepali Congress leaders have expressed dissatisfaction with the party’s ‘ineffective’ presence in the Parliament.

They are of the view that the party has failed to effectively raise its voice in the Parliament on a host of issues, including controversial presidential pardon for murder-convict Bal Krishna Dhungel, the government’s policies and programmes, annual budget and sky-rocketing prices.

NC leaders also alleged the leadership was yet to internalise the fact that the party was now in opposition after continuously remaining in power since 1990. Stating they had been reminding the party leadership about the issue time and again, they said the leadership seemed complacent.

NC youth leader and Central Working Committee member Pradip Poudel said there were various issues that should have been strongly opposed in the Parliament, such as the bid to centralise power at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Communist Party of Nepal Co-Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s public statement that the government was preparing to introduce directly elected executive system, and power-sharing agreement between CPN and Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, which was not transparent.

“For example, what difficulty did such a powerful government face that it had to bring the FSF-N on board to ensure a two-thirds majority in the Parliament?” questioned Poudel, adding that the ‘fishy’ issue should have been raised in the Parliament by the NC.

Another NC CWC member Dhan Raj Gurung said issues such as Dhungel’s pardon, price hike after budget and government’s move to remove protest banners from a political party’s office should have been opposed strongly, even by going to the extent of halting parliamentary proceedings.

“However, I feel NC parliamentary party is not very clear about its role as opposition. The situation is such that it is difficult to differentiate between ruling and opposition parties,” he said. Similar was the view of NC CWC member Guru Ghimire. He said if this situation continued and the people continued to feel the NC could not raise their concerns in the Parliament, people would lose faith in the party. “The party should work to prove false the prime minister’s claim that the NC’s isn’t an opposition party,” he said, adding that the parliamentary party failed to properly orient lawmakers on issues to be raised in the parliament.

However, NC parliamentarians said the criticism that the party had failed to play the role of an effective opposition was not justified, and that they were raising all the issues effectively in the Parliament.

NC Lawmaker Minendra Rijal said opposition should be based on issues, not by always halting house proceedings. He also claimed the party had been effectively raising issues be it by taking the special time or during regular sessions. “I think this criticism is not justified. For example, for the first time in Nepal’s parliamentary history, we raised our issues immediately after the budget presentation. United, the party sought special time and Gagan Thapa spoke,” he said.