KATHMANDU, Jan 21: Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe finally tendered her resignation from the post on Monday afternoon after the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) deciding to contest Agni Prasad Sapkota as its candidate for speaker ending her hope to become new speaker of the parliament.
While announcing her resignation at the meeting of House of Representatives on Monday, Tumbahangphe also questioned the notion of inclusive representation in the key state positions.
“Inclusive democracy has remained as key characteristics of our constitutional provision. This constitution doesn’t implement itself, we should implement it,” Tumbahangphe said while addressing the House, adding, “I believe political parties and their leaders involved in drafting the constitution agree that democracy can be strong only by ensuring representation of all parts of society in the key state positions.”
Tumbahangphe, who appeared visibly disappointed, said in her written speech that she decided to resign respecting the decision of her party to take speaker position. “I have taken the opportunity to spend two years of my life as deputy speaker as an important achievement. I have taken the achievement as important given my status as a single woman and representing from an indigenous ethnic community,” she said.
Tumbahangphe said that it was her obligation to ease the situation after her party which has majority in parliament claimed the speaker’s post and the constitution doesn’t allow the party to claim both speaker and deputy speaker.
She claimed that she delayed her resignation deliberately not to let the sovereign parliament remain headless.
She was elected deputy speaker in March 2018 from erstwhile CPN-UML before the merger of the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center).
NCP leaders assure Tumbahangphe of ministerial berth
The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has assured Shivamaya Tumbahamphe, who resigned from the post of deputy speaker of the lower house Monday afternoon, of a ministerial berth in the KP Oli-led government.
Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister and NCP Chairman Oli and Executive Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal summoned Tumbahangphe to the Prime Minister’s Residence at Baluwatar and assured her of a ministerial berth in the Oli government before she resigned from her position.
During the meeting held in the presence of a few influential party leaders, both Oli and Dahal assured Tumbahangphe that she will be appointed a minister in the Cabinet shortly after the upper house election concludes and she officially returns to party politics.
At the meeting, party leaders said that they don’t want to make Tumbahangphe “feel bad.” Tumbahangphe was a central committee member of the NCP before she was elected the deputy speaker, which is supposed to be a neutral state position. Politicians have to give up their political positions in their respective parties before they can be elected to the positions of speaker and deputy speaker.
“It’s not clear when but she will get a respectable state position soon,” said the party’s general secretary Bishnu Poudel, who was present at the meeting.
To balance the internal power politics in the party, NCP had urged Tumbahangphe to resign from the post of deputy speaker even when she was strongly demanding that she be elevated to the post of speaker which is lying vacant. The post of speaker has been lying vacant after Krishna Bahadur Mahara resigned from the post over a sexual assault case.
A large section of leaders in the party and beyond had backed Tumbahangphe. Both media and social media were behind her.
Despite mounting pressure on top NCP leaders, the ruling party on Sunday decided to field Agni Prasad Sapkota as the speaker candidate on behalf of the party, dampening Tumbahangphe’s hope to get the top parliamentary position. She was asked to resign and pave the way for electing the new speaker.
She was not happy with the party’s decision and has expressed dissatisfaction in media and during discussions with top party leaders for not picking her for the top parliamentary position.
Informed leaders say Tumbahangphe could get the law ministry portfolio. She has studied law and practiced legal advocacy simultaneously while continuing politics.
Currently, two ministries— Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development—are overseen by other ministries after the line ministers resigned.
The law ministry was left without minister for a while after Samajbadi Party chief Upendra Yadav, who was leading the law ministry, quit the government. Oli had asked Health Minister Bhanubhakta Dhakal to oversee the law ministry as well. Communication and Information Technology Minister Gokul Baskota is overseeing the Urban Development Ministry too.