Public Accounts Committee set to get chair after nearly six months

Published On: January 29, 2017 09:20 PM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

Upadhyay from Maoist Center, Chaulagain from UML in the fray
KATHMANDU, Jan 29: The parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is set to get its chairman nearly after six months on Monday through voting.

Dor Prasad Upadhyay from the CPN (Maoist Center) and Pashupati Chaulagain from CPN-UML have filed candidacies for the post. Major ruling coalition partner Nepali Congress (NC) has decided to support the Maoist candidate in the election to be held at 11 am on Monday. With NC's support Upadhyay is likely to bag the post, said leaders.

Ruling parties have 29 lawmakers in the 50-member PAC. NC and UML have 15 members each, Maoists and Madhes-based parties have seven members each, Rastriya Prajatantra Party has two and other fringe parties have four members in the PAC.

Satrudhan Mahato and Radha Krishna Kandel of UML are proposer and seconder respectively, of Chaulagain. Likewise Ramhari Khatiwada of NC and Tek Bahadur Basnet of CPN (Maoist Center) are proposer and seconder, respectively, of Upadhyay. 

After Chairman Janardan Sharma resigned the post on August 12 last year, after he was appoined minister, the committee remained idle for months without head. Last month, the committee held its meeting under the chairmanship of its eldest member Sarvendra Nath Sukla. 

According to parliamentary regulations, any parliamentary committee must elect its chair within a month of convening its meeting under the leadership of the eldest member. 

Though, parliament secretariat had decided to conduct election of the PAC chairman on January 11, the election had been canceled at last hour following a dispute between ruling and opposition parties over whether ruling parties should lead the watchdog committee or not. 

Citing the practise of allocating PAC head for the main opposition party, UML has claimed the chairman post of the committee. But Maoist Center, which had led the committee earlier, also staked claim for the post stating that the committee had been allocated to the party during a power-sharing deal between political parties. 

After the dispute could not be resolved, Speaker Onsari Gharti decided to pick the committee chairman through the election. Earlier, most of the parliamentary committee heads were elected unopposed.

Meanwhile, the Maoist Center has decided to support NC candidate for chairperson of the Impeachment Recommendation Committee (IRC). “After failing to reach agreement with the opposition UML, Maoist Center and NC decided to support each other for PAC and IRC chairman,” said NC chief whip Chinkaji Shrestha. The IRC has yet to unveil the election schedule for picking its chairman. 

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