RSP quits government, ministers resign en masse

Published On: February 6, 2023 08:20 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Kathmandu, Feb 6: Three ministers of Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) resigned en masse on Sunday after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal denied reinstatement of RSP Chairman Rabi Lamichhane to the post of deputy prime minister and home minister even after he renewed his citizenship certificate following a court case that has taken center stage in Nepali politics.

The ministers representing the RSP, the fourth largest party in parliament, submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Dahal on Sunday as the PM refused to hand over the home ministry to the party citing conflict of interest as Lamichhane’s case related to passport is still sub judice.

Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Dol Prasad Aryal, Minister for Education, Science and Technology Shishir Khanal, and Minister of State for Health and Population Tosima Karki, handed over their resignation letters to the PM at his office on Sunday evening.     

A joint meeting of the party’s central committee members and lawmakers had decided to quit the government as PM Dahal failed to address the demands of the party.

The meeting decided to recall its ministers and state minister from the government but the party has not withdrawn its support to the incumbent government.     

Lamichhane, who was elected a member of the House of Representatives from Chitwan-2, lost his post after being found guilty in the citizenship case by the Supreme Court, which on January 27 ruled that Lamichhane had not initiated the process of acquiring Nepali citizenship after relinquishing his American passport and is ineligible to become an MP.

Lamichhane, who worked as a presenter in a television program ‘Sidha Kura Janata Sanga’, began his journey in politics with the formation of the Rastriya Swatantra Party on June 21, 2022.

Within just seven months after its formation, the RSP led by Lamichhane made a dramatic rise to become the fourth largest political party in the federal parliament. The party got four ministerial portfolios including that of deputy prime minister and home minister in the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led cabinet.

After the Supreme Court found him guilty in a passport and citizenship case and stripped him of the membership of parliament, he stepped down from the post of RSP president and home minister.

On January 29, he re-acquired Nepali citizenship certificate from the District Administration Office (DAO), Kathmandu. By re-acquiring his citizenship, he was again elected as the president of the RSP.

Lamichhane’s party had won seven seats in the HoR through direct election in the November 20 polls.

Organising a press conference on Sunday after the joint meeting, Lamichhane said that efforts were made in the past to encircle him in various controversies, but he always managed to come out.

Lamichhane has alleged that a dozen media are trying to frame him in the passport scam.

"Please frame me in the passport case. I will fight back,” he said.

Lamichhane criticized Kantipur Publications, Onlinekhabar, Annapurna Publication, Setopati and others during most of the press conference.

Lamichhane also challenged the publishers and editors of those media houses including Kailash Sirohiya, chairman and managing director of Kantipur Publications, Shiva Gaunle, editor-in-chief of Online Khabar, Amit Dhakal, editor-in-chief of Setopati and others to contest elections.

He said that the job of media persons is to run the media, not the government.

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