KATHMANDU, May 4: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has defended President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s decision to pronounce "Mero Sarkar" (My government). Oli's remark comes a day after the government unveiled policy and program for the new fiscal year yesterday.
The prime minister insisted that the president mentioned the government as “Mero Sarkar (My government)” in her speech as practiced by several other countries including neighboring India.
“It was not a mistake to mention the government as "Mero Sarkar". She did so as per the international practice. Many other countries including neighboring India have been following such practices,” Oli told a group of journalists at his official residence, Baluwatar.
“The president can call the government as her's because she takes the ownership of the government and presents the government’s policies and programs accordingly in the parliament. That’s why it was not the mistake on her part,” Oli further elaborated.
“Since we entered the Federal Democratic Republic abolishing the Monarchy couple of years ago, a section of people might have felt her words like the remarks by the monarchs in the past. But, that was not the case,” Oli said.
Yesterday, the word stirred flak on social media and many drew parallels between the president and the then monarchy.
Politicians and civil society members criticized the president for acting as if she was presenting a budget on behalf of her own government just like the kings in the past. The kings used to speak of ‘my government’ or ‘our government’ while presenting the policy and program of the government in parliament.
But this tradition was discontinued when Girija Prasad Koirala presented the policy and program in the reinstated parliament in 2007, following the abolition of the monarchy. Republican Nepal’s first president Ram Baran Yadav and his successor both used wording like ‘the government’ or ‘Nepal government’ until last year.
But this year, President Bhandari has used the words ‘my government’ a total of 21 times during her nearly two-hour speech in parliament. Many felt taken back to the days of the monarchy. Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba said while emerging from the House that ‘it would have been better if she had spoken of the Nepal government’.
Prime Minister Oli said that the government has been working for the rapid economic development of the country.
“Let me give you an example of Babai Tunnel Project. Actually, it was completed one year before the stipulated time. It shows how the government has been working for the rapid economic development of the country,” he said.
Prime Minister Oli also said that the government has zero tolerance to corruption. “We will take action against those involved in mega corruption cases like 33 kg gold smuggling, wide-body procurement, Baluwatar land grab and among others,” he said.