KATHMANDU, June 7: Ahead of the prime ministerial election in parliament on Tuesday, the top leaders of the three major parties -Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) - exchanged barbs on a number of current political issues.
NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal hit back at Oli as he criticized the two ruling parties on a number of issues during his one and a half hours long speech.
Oli in his address accused the ruling parties of trying to manipulate the vote counting process through unscrupulous activities in Bharatpur Metropolitan City, falsely portraying UML as an anti-Madhes party and defaming UML claiming its advocating hollow nationalism.
Among other things, he also accused the government of filing an impeachment motion against the sitting chief justice to avoid decisions critical to their interests and killing deliberately Madhesi people in Maleth, Saptari, given that police had opened fire nearly an hour after the UML's scheduled rally was over and cadres had dispersed already from the rally venue.
In his nine-minute long brief speech, Deuba hit back Oli on those allegations. While Deuba chose to avoid commenting on the Bharatpur vote counting row that has now landed in the Supreme Court, he dismissed the allegation that the ruling coalition was against Madhes, saying that the decision to grant award and state honor was made by Madhesi ministers in the Dahal cabinet, namely Bimalendra Nidhi and Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar.
On the issue concerning the impeachment motion filed against the chief justice, Deuba said there is no point in talking about that as the impeachment motion has already been withdrawn. Separately, Deuba hit back at Oli on the issue of nationalism, saying that nationalism, democracy and socialism were the key principles of the NC and that UML did not need to teach them about nationalism.
Deuba also clarified that police had opened fire to give protection to UML leaders and cadres, while refuting the allegation that police had deliberately opened fire. Responding to Oli's satirical remarks if the government that is yet to hold the second phase of local polls will be able to hold provincial and federal election by January, 2018, Deuba assured that his government will hold the polls within the stipulated date.
After Deuba wrapped up his brief speech, next came Maoist Center Chairman Dahal in the podium in the parliament. He also spent much of his time hitting back at Oli. Among other things, Dahal asked Oli not to question the Maoists' commitment to democracy, showing one particular case of Bharatpur Metropolitan City.