• HOUSE OBSTRUCTION
The prime minister should meet KP Sharma Oli to end the stalemate
KATHMANDU, JANUARY 6
The CPN-UML has been obstructing proceedings of the House of Representatives for weeks, yet no serious attempt has been made from the ruling alliance or the main opposition party to end the deadlock.
Although Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota held all-party meetings to discuss the UML's House obstruction, the UML did not attend those meetings, saying that it could not take part in any meeting attended by the CPN (Unified Socialist) because doing so would legitimise the newly formed party.
CPN-UML leaders were expecting the PM and the speaker to personally reach out to them, but they have not done so. Yesterday, senior Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel, however, met CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli and requested him to end the deadlock, saying that prolonged obstruction in parliamentary proceedings would reflect badly on the current political system. Asked if there was a climbdown on the part of the UML, Paudel said the PM should meet Oli to end the stalemate.
UML has accused Sapkota of bias for not confirming the expulsion of 14 UML lawmakers, including Madhav Kumar Nepal. Nepal and other lawmakers from his faction later formed the CPN (US).
Deputy Parliamentary Leader of UML Subas Chandra Nembang said that even a one-minute obstruction of parliamentary proceedings should bother the government, but the PM seemed least affected by the ongoing obstruction.
Asked why the UML was not waiting for the Supreme Court verdict in the case involving the expulsion of 14 UML lawmakers, Nembang said, "We are obstructing the House proceedings. Our obstruction has become a national issue, whereas the SC, which was supposed to deliver its verdict long ago, has been delaying its hearing.
Isn't that strange?" he wondered.
Political analyst Chandra Dev Bhatta said that parties represented in the Parliament should reach a common understanding on the issues they wanted to address through the Parliament.
"If they can do that, they will probably be able to end the ongoing deadlock." Bhatta said if they were willing to do so the deadlock would end. "During the constitution making process, they proved that despite their differences on some key issues, they could eventually agree on the draft of the constitution," he added.
"The UML's House obstruction has become a complicated issue, as parties have their own priorities.
While the NC wants to end the deadlock mainly to pass the Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement, the CPN-UML has made it a prestige issue. The existence of Nepal-led CPN (US) will be imperiled if Oli's demand of expulsion of four former UML lawmakers is met," he argued.
Another political analyst Uddhab Pyakurel, however, said that the UML should end the obstruction of the Parliament if it was committed to the parliamentary system and played by the rules.
"The UML suffered a split mainly due to Oli's refusal to go for a collective leadership.
Oli must realise that he made mistakes," Pyakurel said.
He added that the Parliament was restored by a Supreme Court ruling and the UML should not prolong its obstruction by acting against the spirit of the SC ruling. He said if the UML thought that the Deuba government erred by amending the Political Party Act, then it should try to amend the law to incorporate rigid provisions so that dissidents could not split their mother parties easily.
There are 57 bills under consideration of the Parliament, including some urgent bills, such as citizenship bill and Civil Service Bill. The government called the winter session of the Parliament nearly a month ago apparently to pass the MCC agreement, but due to differences within the ruling alliance, the government has not moved the process of passing the MCC agreement.
The ruling alliance has formed a three-member team under CPN (US) leader Jhalanath Khanal to study the MCC deal.
A version of this article appears in the print on January 7, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.