KATHMANDU, July 17: Main Opposition Nepali Congress (NC) obstructed the tabling of the National Medical Education Bill in parliament on Monday, accusing the government of pushing the bill with controversial provisions without holding talks with Dr Govinda KC first.
Lawmakers of the opposition party demanded that the government save the life of Dr KC, who has been staging his 15th fast-unto-death in Jumla demanding reforms in the health sector and start talks with him. Medical education crusader Dr KC has demanded implementation of past agreement with him and protested some provisions in the bill against the agreements.
NC lawmakers rose from their seats on Monday as soon as the House of Representatives meeting started and demanded not to forward the bill.
“Influenced by the medical mafia, the government has registered a regressive bill in parliament. The bill will renew the troubles instead of settling them. The government cannot ignore the demands of Dr KC who is supported by the general public, stakeholders, health professionals and other stakeholders,” said NC leader Min Bahadur Biswakarma.
NC lawmakers accused the government of not being empathetic to Dr KC’s fast-unto-death and undermining the demands of opposition lawmakers in the House. While NC lawmakers rose from their seats to obstruct the House meeting, ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leaders accused the opposition of trying to hold the House hostage.
“A minority cannot prevent parliament from the lawmaking process. The House cannot be obstructed just because a few members rise from their seats,” said NCP lawmaker Krishna Bhakta Pokhrel.
Following the obstruction, Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara adjourned the House meeting for half an hour allowing dialogue between the ruling and opposition lawmakers to resume the House business. Speaker Mahara urged the opposition lawmakers to lift their obstruction as parliament is yet to enter into the contest of the bill but to no avail.
As no consensus could be reached between the ruling and the opposition parties, the speaker adjourned the House meeting till Thursday as the NC also obstructed the meeting held after an hour.
NC whip Pushpa Bhusal accused the government of being reluctant to hold talks with Dr KC and not being empathetic to his hunger strike and deteriorating health condition. “Our leaders can charter plane for their domestic and foreign visits but why they can’t charter a chopper to reach out to Dr KC at Jumla?” Bhusal questioned.
Opposition NC has been protesting against the bill for changing the provisions in the ordinance issued by its government in the past based on the agreements reached with Dr KC.