KATHMANDU, July 8: Parliament’s State Affairs Committee (SAC) has become the top choice of lawmakers, with the new regulations expanding the purview of the committee.
Most senior lawmakers from ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) have shown a preference for SAC over the other nine committees of the House of Representatives.
Most political parties in parliament have recommended the names of their lawmakers who will join the 10 lower house committees. But main opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) have yet to do so.
Speaker Krisha Bahadur Mahara is planning to announce the formation of the parliamentary committees by this week even if NC and the RJPN don’t forward their recommendations. The speaker will announce the formation of the panels during the House meeting and read out the names of members recommended for each committee.
Most top leaders of the major political parties were members of the Good Governance and Monitoring Committee in the previous parliament.
This committee’s purview extended over the Prime Minister’s Office, the anti-graft commission and other powerful state agencies.
But the new parliamentary regulations bring the two top offices and the peace process also under the committee. This is in addition to its previous purview over the Ministries of Home, Defense, Federal Affairs and General Administration, the Public Service Commission and the Election Commission.
Ruling NCP Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has chosen the SAC, while the other chairman of the party and prime minister, K P Oli, will be ex-officio member of the committee.
The prime minister and the ministers concerned remain ex-officio members of the various parliamentary committees .
Other senior NCP leaders including Pampha Bhusal, Bhim Rawal, Krishna Gopal Shestha, Janardan Sharma, Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, Khagraj Adhikari, Yadhoda Gurung and cop turned politician Nawaraj Silwal have been recommended for SAC membership by the party.
Rajendra Shrestha of ruling Federal Socialist Forum Nepal and Nepal Workers Peasants Party’s sole lawmaker Prem Suwal have also selected SAC.
The SAC same into the limelight after it exposed the multi-million dollar Sudan scam and found three former police chiefs and many other top police officials involved . But the committee has faced criticism for being more passive in the last parliament.
Two other senior leaders of the NCP, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalnath Khanal, have shown their preference for the international relations committee and the development committee respectively. Nepal was a member of the same committee in the erstwhile parliament while Khanal was a member of the good governance committee.
After SAC, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is believed to be most attractive for lawmakers, given its purview over the public accounts of various public agencies and the report of the Auditor General’s Office.
PAC used to have the most repeat-members and veteran lawmakers in the past. But only two veteran lawmakers from the ruling parties have been recommended for the committee so far. Hridayash Tripathi and Birodh Khatiwada of NCP are leaning on NCP lawmakers to become members of the committee yet again. Tripathi was a member of the committee more than four times in the past.
The Development Committee, which oversees physical infrastructure, information and technology, sanitation, urban development and the National Reconstruction Authority, has also remained among the most preferred committees in parliament. Besides former prime minister Khanal, former ministers Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Tek Bahadur Basnet, Prabhu Sah and other senior NCP leaders have opted for membership of this committee .
Subas Nembang, who used to be a vocal member of the PAC prior to his election as then speaker, has chosen the Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee for this term. Two former deputy speakers Onsari Gharti and Purna Kumari Subedi prefer the Agriculture, Cooperatives and Natural Resources Committee.
Former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai of Naya Shakti Party will be a member of the Finance Committee along with former ministers and NCP leaders Bishnu Paudel, Surendra Pandey, Mahesh Basnet and others.