Deuba pledges provincial, parliamentary polls by Jan 21

Kathmandu, June 6

Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba today told the Parliament that the new government would hold provincial and parliamentary elections by January 21.

Addressing Parliament before the prime ministerial election, Deuba said the new government would follow democratic values, norms and traditions and help the Election Commission hold polls in free, fair and impartial manner. Deuba said holding the second phase of local polls in four provinces by ensuring participation of all political parties would be the new government’s top priority.

Responding to CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli’s accusation on the Bharatpur vote counting incident, Deuba said, “It is the Election Commission that decided. We have just followed the EC’s decision.” The EC decided to conduct re-polling in Ward 19 of Bharatpur Metropolis, which has been stayed by the Supreme Court till June 11.

Deuba said many things were told about Chief Justice Sushila Karki. “I do not want to say much about her. The impeachment motion filed against her has been withdrawn. It was not us who obstructed parliamentary proceedings,” he added.

Responding to Oli’s concern about Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s resignation as PM, Deuba said, “I hope you will continue to worry about him in future too.” Deuba said the power handover  was as per the understanding between the two major coalition partners the Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre.

On the Saptari incident, Deuba said police had provided protection to UML leaders and cadres. “Our party’s ideology is nationalism, democracy and socialism and nobody should teach us about nationalism. Our party does not compromise on these three things,” Deuba added.

Caretaker Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said Oli had shown arrogance instead of thanking him for the job he performed as PM. Stating that tearing of ballot papers in Bharatpur was wrong, Dahal said one should not generalise and theorise on one incident. He said he had told the Election Commission to do what it deemed appropriate on the Bharatpur incident. Dahal said he telephoned his daughter Renu, who is contesting the mayoral race in Bharatpur Metropolis and told her not to worry even if she loses the race. Dahal also said it was because of his faith in the republican order that he easily agreed to complete army integration during the peace process.

“How many evidences should I provide from the past to prove my faith in democracy? How many evidences should I present from the day I signed the 12-point agreement to the day I resigned from the post of prime minister?” he wondered.

Oli, the first leader to address today’s meeting of the Parliament, said what happened during Bharatpur vote counting was a well-planned conspiracy of the ruling parties.

He further said his party was not anti-Madhesi but it was the Nepali Congress against which Madhesi leaders had rebelled since Bedanand Jha’s time.

Oli also said when he was prime minister, budget was allocated for Postal Road and railway project in the Tarai.

He wondered why the NC did not say anything on the impeachment motion filed against Chief Justice Sushila Karki and Bharatpur vote counting issues.

Nepal Democratic Forum Chair Bijay Kumar Gachhadar said he played an important role in brokering the 16-point deal, but the major parties’ leaders did not give due credit to him.

NC leader Ramchandra Paudel said he was confident that the Deuba-led government would be able to achieve economic prosperity.

Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar announced in the House that impeachment motion filed against Chief Justice Sushila Karki had already been withdrawn.