KATHMANDU, April 24: While ‘cautioning’ the government not to make controversial decisions that vitiate an environment of consensus amid national effort to fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the main opposition, Nepali Congress (NC), has thanked Prime Minister K P Oli for withdrawing the two controversial ordinances introduced a few days ago.
During his meeting with Prime Minister Oli at his official residence in Baluwatar on Friday afternoon, NC President Deuba thanked Prime Minister Oli for withdrawing the ordinances as they sought to weaken the country's democratic system.
The government on Monday had issued ordinances in order to amend the Political Parties Act, 2017 and Constitutional Council (Works, Duties and Procedure) Act, 2010. The amended provisions in these laws sought to make it easy for a dissenting faction within a political party to split it at its convenience and undermine the role of the main opposition party in the Constitutional Council, which makes crucial appointments in various constitutional bodies.
Amid widespread criticisms against the government's move, the government was forced to withdraw both the ordinances on Friday. The meeting between Prime Minister Oli and NC President Deuba comes a day after NC announced a series of protests against the government's move if those ordinances were not withdrawn.
Deuba has suggested Prime Minister Oli not to make controversial decisions as the country is fighting against the threats of COVID-19, according to a press note issued by NC.
During the meeting, Deuba also sought action against those involved in bringing a lawmaker of Socialist Forum in Kathmandu in kidnapping style. "This is my demand. If there is a rule of law, there has to be impartial investigation into this and action should be taken against them," said the statement.
A group of lawmakers, including Mahesh Basnet and Kisan Shrestha, and former chief of Nepal Police Sarbendra Khanal had brought former state minister for health Dr Surendra Yadav from Dhanusha to Kathmandu amid lockdown on Wednesday night in a bid to help materialize their plan to split the Socialist Forum led by Upendra Yadav. Although the lawmakers have said that Dr Yadav chose to voluntarily come to Kathmandu with them, leaders of Socialist Forum have alleged that Dr Yadav was brought to Kathmandu in a kidnapping style.
NC President Deuba also urged PM Oli to expand the scope of testing for coronavirus (COVID-19), and that there should not be any delays to conduct testing at the community level. While also demanding the government provide adequate PPE to all health workers, Deuba asked the government to take necessary measures so that the health workers who are working on the frontline to contain the spread of the COVID-19 are not discouraged.
Expressing concerns over the hardship faced by daily wage earners, students and unemployed persons in Kathmandu due to the prolonged lockdown situation, Deuba urged the government to either provide them food or allow them to go home. He also urged the government to immediately introduce a new relief package to workers, students, unemployed persons and small and big business owners as the relief package announced earlier by the government was inadequate and did not reach the people who deserved government relief at this hour of national crisis.
Deuba also drew the attention of the government to address the problems of Nepali migrant workers. He asked the government to unveil and implement a plan to evacuate Nepali nationals who are living in miserable conditions as a result of the prolonged lockdown.