PM Oli courts controversy again

Published On: October 14, 2018 04:00 AM NPT By: Biken K Dawadi

KATHMANDU, Oct 14: Only last month, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli was widely criticized for using the prime minister's official residence at Baluwatar for organizing a gathering of Oli clan. Prime Minister Oli, like his predecessors, has been repeatedly criticized for using the Baluwatar-based residence for party meetings and other non-official events. Despite such hue and cry, a book launch was held at the official residence of the prime minister on Saturday.

Prime Minister Oli launched a book titled “Imaanko Indreni” written by Anil Poudel, the prime minister's neighbor at his home district Jhapa, ami a closed-door function attended by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sarbendra Khanal on Saturday. The book is based on the life of former minister for industries, Keshab Prasad Badal.

Former home secretary Shreekant Regmi said that the prime minister should not be hosting personal or any other party meetings in the official residence. “It is okay if the residence is used for public or governmental purpose, but it should not be used for personal or party meetings,” he said, adding, “Such kind of meetings and events should be organized somewhere else.”

Saying that the president and other government post holders too have been using their official residence for hosting personal events, Regmi added that the prime minister is breaching norms and values by putting such act into practice.

“The prime minister's residence has been used time and again for personal and party meetings, much to the criticism from various quarters,” he said, “There would certainly be expenses for such programs and the fund is generally extracted from the state's treasury. It is not ethical for the prime minister or any other minister to run private events on taxpayers' money.”

However, Prime Minister Oli's press advisor Kundan Aryal said that there is nothing wrong in conducting such events at the official residence. “What is wrong with hosting such events in the official residence?” he said, adding, “The prime minister would not have time to attend the event if it was held elsewhere.”

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