Not naming acting PM height of irresponsibility: Gautam
March 25, 2017 07:12 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, March 25: When the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the country on April 25, 2015, then Prime Minister Sushil Koirala had just landed in Thailand from Indonesia. Bamdev Gautam, who was acting prime minister and home minister at that time, convened an emergency cabinet meeting to take the necessary decisions on relief and rescue work.
“I called an emergency cabinet meeting at the emergency operations center in Singha Durbar and appealed immediately for international assistance in rescue and relief,” Gautam said over the phone to Republica on Friday.
After failing to settle a row over hierarchy between two deputy prime ministers--Bimalendra Nidhi of Nepali Congress (NC) and Kamal Thapa of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP)--Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal left for China Thursday night on a week-long visit without designating an acting chief executive in his place.
“In case a similar crisis strikes the country who will assume responsibility for emergency measures?” asked former chief secretary Bimal Prasad Koirala. “It is the height of irresponsibility on the part of Prime Minister Dahal to leave the country without deputing his responsibilities to anyone.”
According to Koirala, this could be the first time in the history of Nepal that the chief executive of the country has gone abroad without deputing his powers to someone.
But Narayan Dahal, administrative advisor to the prime minister, claims that the prime minister can issue any kind of directives by telephone from China if and when needed. “There is no need for a hue and cry over the non-designation of an acting prime minister. The prime minister himself can arrive back in the country within four hours if there is any emergency,” he said. He further said that the prime minister had told all top officials that he could issue instructions to them over the phone and fax the necessary decisions. “The prime minister was ready to depute an active prime minister; it is the fault of the deputy prime ministers who resorted to disputing over a minor issue,” he said.
According to former chief secretary Koirala, huge complications may arise in the governance of the country from such a vacuum at the top. “Not designating an acting PM because of a hierarchy row is simply hilarious. He should also have had his China visit approved through the cabinet before leaving the country,” said Koirala.
Vice Chairman Gautam of the main opposition CPN-UML also criticized Dahal's failure to designate in an acting capacity as unprecedented and the height of irresponsibility. “No one can or be allowed to do the work of the head of government without proper authorization even in the case of an emergency,” he claimed.