Opposition lawmakers obstruct the meeting of parliament on Monday. (Dipesh Shrestha)
KATHMANDU, Jan 2: After the top leaders of the major political parties skipped a meeting called by Speaker Onsari Gharti Monday, she dropped an earlier plan to hold House meetings in short intervals and postponed the meeting for Monday.
Speaker Gharti slated the next meeting of the House for 4 pm Tuesday after nine opposition political parties obstructed the first meeting earlier at 1 pm on the same day. Earlier, the speaker had planned to hold parliament meetings in short intervals in an attempt to exhaust the opposition.
Top leaders of the major political parties were invited to the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting, scheduled immediately after the House adjournment. But none of the senior leaders attended the BAC meeting, except the chief whips. Then, Speaker Gharti postponed the second House meeting scheduled for 4 pm, issuing a notice.
“The speaker postponed the second meeting of the House following a request from chief whips in the BAC meeting,” said press advisor of the speaker Basudev Sharma. According to Sharma, top leaders have been invited again to the BAC meeting for Tuesday morning prior to the House meeting.
Earlier, in the House meeting held at 1 pm, lawmakers from the opposition parties stood up from their seats to protest the constitution amendment bill. “We will not allow the House to move ahead unless the government withdraws the anti-nationalist amendment bill,” said Kamala Biswakarma of CPN (ML) when speaker Gharti allowed protesting parties to furnish their views.
The speaker didn't decide to defer the House meeting immediately, forcing opposition lawmakers to remain standing for 10 minutes. She urged the opposition parties to end the obstruction.
She also reminded the parties of the fast approaching deadline to hold the elections and pending election-related bills in parliament.