Ruling, oppn parties all set for epic clash in House today

Published On: January 25, 2019 07:17 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, Jan 25: The government plans to forcibly push forward the National Medical Education Bill in the House of Representatives on Friday, while the main opposition Nepali Congress has warned that there will be a strong counter-push. 

After the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) was foiled in its attempts to get the bill endorsed on Tuesday following scuffles between ruling and opposition party lawmakers, the two sides are poised for a showdown in the House meeting scheduled Friday. 

Leaders of the ruling parties have said that the bill will be pushed for endorsement even if the NC continues its obstruction of the House. Although there is a practice of not proceeding with House business if even a single lawmaker resorts to obstruction, such as rising from their seats or trooping into the well, the government has vowed to endorse the bill, in breach of established parliamentary practice if necessary. 

“You may call it autocracy or the arrogance of a two-third majority but the Medical Education Bill will be endorsed,” Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gokul Baskota, who is also the government spokesperson, said on Thursday. Claiming that all the agreements reached with Dr Govinda KC were addressed in the bill, Baskota challenged the opposition to a debate on the contents of the bill. 

The government has also piled pressure on Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara to push the bill through and ignore obstruction from the main opposition. “Parliament should move the bill forward if the government offers it for business,” Mahara said. “The government has asked parliament to push the bill without any delay. However, I have asked the minister concerned to persuade all sides and I also request the NC to help endorse the bill in a peaceful way.” 

Meanwhile, the main opposition NC has decided to strongly counter any government attempt to endorse the Medical Education Bill without meeting all the agreements reached with Dr KC. 

“The NC will not remain a mute spectator if the government moves toward bill endorsement through force,” party spokesperson Biswaprakash Sharma told a media briefing on the decision of the party central committee meeting on Thursday.

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