KATHMANDU, May 8: Prime Minister KP Oli has defended the use of the controversial phrase ‘my government’ in the government’s policy and program statement, pointing out that it was included after due consideration.
Oli also countered criticism from ruling and opposition party lawmakers against the phrase as showing lack of knowledge on international practice.
“Heads of state globally use the term ‘my government’ while making an address on behalf of the government, including in India,” Oli said while responding to lawmakers’ concerns over government policy and programs. “There were worries whether the phrase was included by mistake; I want to make it clear it was included after due consideration.”
Opposition and ruling party lawmakers had came down heavily on the government for dragging the head of state into controversy by getting her to address parliament like the monarchs in the past. Rejecting this comparison with monarchy, Oli argued that there was nothing wrong in saying ‘my government’ in a republic as the government was only adopting international practice.
Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba had accused the government of projecting the president like the queen of England. Oli for his part alleged that Deuba was portraying the British queen contrary to diplomatic norms.
“It seems the opposition didn’t find anything to criticize in the policy and program and so they are stuck over some minor wording,” said Oli.
In response to Rastriya Janata Party Nepal lawmakers’ concerns over the policy and program being silent about constitutional amendment, Oli said amending the constitution was not the scheduled duty of the government. “The constitution can be amended for the sake of the people if needed. But the people doesn’t mean a section of a community and it cannot be amended without a genuine reason,” he said. “I suggest leaders not reiterate the same demand just for public consumption.”
Most of the opposition lawmakers flayed the policy and program for not delineating the powers of the provincial and local governments. In response, Oli said the provincial and local governments were not independent governments but part of the federal government.
Prime Minister Oli assured lawmakers about amending the transitional justice related laws for a timely conclusion of the peace process.
Earlier, while taking part in the deliberations, former prime minister and chairman of the ruling Nepal Communist Party Pushpa Kamal Dahal had hinted at a lack of clear vision in government policy and program for the timely conclusion of the peace process.
“Some tasks for concluding the transitional justice process still remain and both ruling and opposition parties should work together on this issue because both sides are stakeholders,” he said.
Dahal was of the view that the risk of political changes becoming diluted was not over, given the difficulties in implementing federalism. “I have observed from very close the difficulties faced by the government in implementing federalism. In my observation it is not happening smoothly. There are lots of difficulties including in its implementation, establishment of new structures, adjustment of civil servants and other things,” he said.
Stating that consolidating the political changes had not taken pace, Dahal stressed the need for sacrifice, devotion and contribution from politicians as in the past. “If we don’t make the sacrifice there might be alarm bells over the political system,” he added.