KATHMANDU, Feb 21: National Assembly has got full shape Tuesday with President Bidya Devi Bhandari appointing three new members to the upper House.
The president appointed Yubaraj Khatiwada, Ram Narayan Bidari and Bimala Paudel-Rai to the upper house of parliament at the recommendation of the government earlier in the day while setting aside the recommendations made by the previous government last week. The constitution has provisioned that three members including a woman shall be appointed to the 59-member upper house by the president on the recommendations of the government and the other 56 members will be elected from seven provinces with 8 members from each province.
Khatiwada is former vice chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) and former governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank. According to UML leaders he is seen as potential finance minister in the Oli-led government. Likewise, Bidari is former member of the Constituent Assembly and senior advocate. Former NPC member Rai had been working at the secretariat of President Bhandari prior to her appointment to the upper house. According to cabinet sources Khatiwada and Bidari were recommended by the UML and Maoist Center respectively while Rai was recommended by the president herself.
Meanwhile, the decision of the president been criticized by the main opposition Nepali Congress. The party has accused Bhandari of setting aside the recommendations made by the NC-led government.
Former NPC member Paudel-Rai had been working at the secretariat of President Bhandari. According to cabinet sources Khatiwada and Bidari were recommended by the UML and Maoist Center respectively while Paudel-Rai was recommended by the president herself.
A few days before the formation of the new government, the Deuba government had recommended Gopal Basnet, Krishna Prasad Paudel and Chandani Joshi for the upper house membership. But the CPN-UML requested the president not to act on the recommendations claiming that the outgoing government had no ethical standing for making the recommendations.
Holding a press conference on Tuesday NC spokesman Bishwa Prakash Sharma accused the president of seeing the government led by the Nepali Congress and the UML through different lenses.
The president's role has been drawing controversy in the country time and again for long. Earlier, President Ram Baran Yadav had restored the army chief who was removed by the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government in 2009. Also then President Yadav's decision not to authenticate various ordinances forwarded by a Maoist-led government had become controversial. The relation between President Bhandari and Prime Minster Deuba had soured a few months ago after Bhandari sat on an ordinance related to the national assembly elections for nearly two months.