Dipesh Shrestha/Republica Prime Minister KP Oli (center left) and leader of the main opposition Sher Bahadur Deuba in an open confrontation in parliament on Tuesday. Prime Minister Oli was returning to his seat after answering questions from parliamentarians on the government's policy and program. The parliament passed the policy and program on Tuesday.
House endorses policy and program through majority vote amid NC protest
KATHMANDU, May 8: Parliament’s meeting on Tuesday saw heated exchanges between Prime Minister KP Oli and lawmakers from the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) after the NC lawmakers objected to what they described as Oli’s ‘demeaning remarks’ directed at them.
The prime minister and opposition lawmakers were involved in heated exchanges as Oli dismissed some opposition lawmakers’ queries as ‘illogical’. The prime minister also said there was no point answering illogical questions that, according to him, were only aimed at venting suppressed anger and frustration.
Shortly after Prime Minister Oli made the ‘demeaning remarks’ from the rostrum, NC lawmakers stood up at their respective seats to object to his choice of words. NC lawmaker Meen Bahadur Bishwakarma expressed objections on behalf of the opposition party, accusing the prime minister of belittling the opposition lawmakers just for raising questions over the government’s doings.
The prime minister then answered again, clearly showing displeasure. “I am here at the rostrum to answer questions but there should be a certain limit and proper decency should be maintained while asking questions,” he said, visibly angry.
According to lawmakers from the ruling party, Prime Minister Oli got angry after NC lawmaker Biswakarma asked if he was poising himself for huge corruption in bringing in projects worth over Rs 25 billion under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Office.
Even as Oli failed to satisfy the NC lawmakers, Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara instructed him to go ahead with his response amid the protest. NC lawmakers then vented their ire against Mahara and accused him of taking the government’s side in not instructing the erasure of Oli’s objectionable remarks from House records.
Main opposition party leader Minendra Rijal and Laxman Lal Karna of Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) accused Mahara of failing to maintain parliamentary decorum. “The speaker has failed to maintain House decorum. This is not acceptable,” said Rijal.
In a rare instance inside parliament, Mahara continued with House business amid the obstructions from the main opposition party. Interestingly, NC lawmakers also took part in the proceedings amidst their own obstruction.
Although NC continued its protest in the House over Oli’s remarks, both houses of parliament endorsed by majority votes the policy and program presented earlier by President Bidya Bhandari.
Speaker Mahara has scheduled pre-budget discussions in the lower house for Friday as the government plans to present the budget for the fiscal year 2019/20 on May 29.