#Fallout of Citizenship Amendment Bill

President Bhandari mulling to resign?

Published On: August 25, 2022 10:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, August 25: The controversy surrounding the Bill to Amend Citizenship Act, 2063 BS has caused ripples across national politics. The issue has created a serious tussle between the ruling coalition, parliament and the president that may potentially shake up the national politics itself.

Earlier, President Bidya Devi Bhandari had sent the Citizenship Amendment Bill that was endorsed by both the houses of federal parliament back to parliament for reconsideration. However, the ruling coalition concluded that President Bhandari had sent the Bill back to parliament to serve her "political interest" and decided not to consider the suggestions given by President Bhandari. 

Accordingly, the Bill was passed by the House of Representatives on August 18 through "fast track" and sent to the National Assembly. There is no doubt that the Bill will be passed in the National Assembly as there is a majority of the ruling coalition.

Sources close to her claimed that President Bhandari is preparing to take 'serious steps' if the Bill she sent back for reconsideration is returned to her without any changes. “She believes that it is an insult to the President's Office to send the serious and theoretical questions raised by the President even without discussing it in parliament," the source said. "She wanted there to be a discussion and debate on the issues she raised.”

According to the source, President Bhandari is in the mood to resign from her post if the National Assembly also sends the Bill without any changes. “She will not certify the Bill that she sent back. Also, the constitution does not provide a place for her to reject any Bill sent to her for authentication. In such a situation, resignation is the last option for the President,” said the source. 

Sources close to President Bhandari further said that the resignation of President Bhandari could come any day if the National Assembly also passes the Citizenship Bill without any changes.

On the other hand, sources claimed that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has also received an indication that the President may resign at any time. He also informed leaders of his party Nepali Congress about it on Wednesday. Earlier in the morning, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli asked Deuba to find a national consensus on the Citizenship Bill during his meeting with Prime Minister Deuba.

“The President will face a moral crisis if the Bill is returned to her without any reconsideration. That can lead to another problem.” said a source close to Prime Minister Deuba. “However, there was no information regarding the resignation of President Bhandari.” But since the CPN-UML leaders said that the president's resignation might come in public programs and television interviews, the prime minister is seriously thinking about the issue.

As soon as the Citizenship Bill was passed by the parliament without considering suggestions of President Bhandari, UML began making it a political agenda. It was the leaders of the UML who had been expressing in public events that the President should send the Bill back. 

Accordingly, President Bhandari sent the Bill back to parliament for reconsideration. As President Bhandari was formerly the leader of UML, the ruling parties are accusing her of withdrawing the Bill at the behest of UML.

Meanwhile, speculations are rife that President Bhandari may resign if the Bill returned to her without considering her suggestions. This will result in a possible conflict between the President and the ruling coalition. 

On Wednesday, President Bhandari held discussion with the heads of the security agencies along with the Nepali Army and former top army officials. Although it is not clear what transpired in the meeting, it is said that President Bhandari had sought their opinion about her possible resignation. 

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