KATHMANDU, March 7: Amid allegations of the Oli-led faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) that Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota had been dancing to the tune of the NCP rival faction, Speaker Sapkota has held a meeting with the rival faction leaders Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal at his office in Singh Durbar Sunday morning.
The meeting held with rival faction leaders Dahal and Nepal just a few hours before the scheduled first meeting of the reinstated parliament is seen with much interest as the Oli-led faction has warned of confrontation if the Speaker did not act as per the parliamentary regulations.
Speaker Sapkota has not been able to convene a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee, which is normally convened before any meeting of the House. Prime Minister KP Oli, who is the parliamentary party leader of the NCP so far, has already dismissed Dev Gurung from the post of the party's chief whip and appointed Bishal Bhattarai in his place.
The Speaker has to invite the Chief Whip to the business advisory committee for consultation. Since he is close to the rival faction and supporting each move of this faction within the NCP, Speaker Sapkota is in a fix whether to call a Business Advisory Committee meeting.
The rival faction has not recognized Bhattarai's appointment as chief whip arguing that they have already ousted Oli from the post of the party's parliamentary leader. Any move to invite Gurung, however, is likely to invite protests from the Oli-led faction in the meeting.
The Business Advisory Committee meeting is considered important as this sets the agenda of the meeting. Sources said Speaker Sapkota held meetings with Dahal and Nepal to discuss how they should move forward in such a situation.
The first meeting of the reinstated HoR is scheduled to be held at 4PM today. Sources said the Oli-led faction is preparing to obstruct the House session if the Speaker chooses to side with the Dahal-Nepal-led faction “against the parliamentary rules and regulations.”
Meanwhile, the agenda of the first house meeting has been changed at the instruction of Speaker Sapkota. Speaker Sapkota has instructed not to keep any other agenda for the meeting except for reading out the letter received from President Bidya Devi Bhandari and endorsing the condolence proposal over the demise of 14 former lawmakers since the last meeting of parliament.
Officials at the Parliament Secretariat said the agenda has been changed as the authenticity row of NCP is not yet resolved and the Business Advisory Committee meeting has also failed to convene due to intra-party differences.