Parties persist in sticking to their stances

UML’s decision to continue House obstruction means it does not want local polls to be held because its obstruction is also blocking the process of election related bills.

Ajay Shankar Nayak, Minister of Law, Justice and  Parliamentary Affairs     

Kathmandu, January 7

The ruling and opposition parties appear to be heading for a showdown in Parliament over the constitution amendment bill with both sides sticking to their stances.

While the CPN-UML, the main opposition party today decided to continue obstruction of House proceedings, the government said that it would table the bill in the next House meeting.

UML and eight other fringe parties have been obstructing House proceedings since the government registered the bill on November 29 in an attempt to address some key demands of the agitating Madhesi forces.

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi told THT that the government would like to table the constitution amendment bill tomorrow as the Supreme Court’s verdict had made it clear that the Parliament had the power to debate the constitution amendment bill to test whether or not it was in conformity with the constitution and to take a decision on the bill. “I hope the UML accepts the parliamentary system and the SC’s verdict and does not obstruct House proceedings,” Nidhi added.

Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Bharat Raj Gautam said the same agendas constitution amendment bill, election related bills and impeachment motion against chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Lok Man Singh Karki would be listed in the parliamentary business schedule for tomorrow.

Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ajay Shankar Nayak said the government would ask UML leaders why they had made a volte-face. He said the government was not in a mood to wait further to table the bill in the Parliament.

“UML’s decision to continue House obstruction means it does not want local polls to be held because its obstruction is also blocking the process of election related bills.

The UML is also stalling the process in the Legislation Committee,” Nayak said and added that the UML was doing all this to manufacture the argument that the government could not hold local polls.

Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar’s Press Adviser Babin Sharma said she had received assurances from Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and UML Chair KP Sharma Oli that they would make efforts to forge consensus before another meeting of the Parliament and there would not be any more obstruction of parliamentary proceedings.

Hence, the Speaker was confident that House proceedings would move smoothly from tomorrow.

CPN-Maoist Centre Chief Whip Tek Bahadur Basnet said the government would move ahead with the process. He, however, expected the Parliamentary Business Advisory Committee to make efforts to forge consensus on the bill tomorrow before the House meeting.

Chair of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Upendra Yadav told THT that although the government had been telling them it would table the bill tomorrow, he was not sure the government would keep its word.

Yadav also said that tabling the bill would not be enough for Madhesi parties to accept elections. “We are trying to amend the constitution and hold elections to resolve political problems and if a revised bill is not passed by the Parliament, we will not achieve what we want. Failure of the bill will only escalate conflict,” Yadav added.