Stop making parliamentary probe committee a matter of prestige

Published On: April 9, 2024 07:45 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

A meeting convened by Speaker Devraj Ghimire with the top leaders of the four major political parties concluded inconclusively on Monday. The meeting ended without reaching a consensus after the ruling parties rejected the demand put forth by the main opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) to form a parliamentary probe committee to investigate Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane’s involvement in cooperatives scam. The main opposition party has been demanding that a parliamentary inquiry committee be formed to investigate the matter as Lamichhane has been accused of misappropriating funds from cooperatives. With NC warning that the failure to meet their demand would result in the obstruction of parliamentary proceedings, it is concerning that the parliament, which is supposed to formulate a number of laws, is unable to function for weeks. NC, the largest party in Parliament, began obstructing the meeting of the House of Representatives demanding a parliamentary probe committee into the involvement of Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane in the cooperative scam. But later the party adopted a strategy of not disrupting the parliamentary proceedings other than those related to Home Minister Lamichhane on Sunday.

Earlier, NC had obstructed parliament demanding a reply from Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal regarding Home Minister Lamichhane's involvement in the cooperative scam. After Prime Minister Dahal replied that Lamichhane was innocent in the scam, NC became more aggressive. During his reply, Prime Minister Dahal also claimed that NC had proposed Lamichhane as the Prime Minister. After that, it appears that the strategy of keeping the demands of the parliamentary inquiry committee while allowing the functioning of the parliament to continue, but obstructing Home Minister Lamichhane, has been adopted. While the tactics and strategies of the political parties may be in place, the tendency to obstruct the Parliament and ignore the questions raised in it is not a healthy parliamentary practice.

With the growing discontent among the public towards the leaders and the system due to the tendency of political parties to use the power of parliament for their self-interest and stubbornness, it is imperative for political party leaders and especially MPs to understand the gravity of the situation and improve parliamentary practices. The practice of making parliament a hostage to self-interest and stubbornness, as a matter of prestige, must cease immediately. According to parliamentary arithmetic, power dynamics often fluctuate. Therefore, it is essential for young parliamentarians to strive for a healthy parliamentary practice that reflects public sentiment without descending into unproductive confrontations.

It would be fair and democratic for the NC to grant Home Minister Lamichhane an opportunity to explain from the rostrum of Parliament. Similarly, Prime Minister Dahal should be open to a parliamentary probe instead of assuming the role of a judge himself. Home Minister Lamichhane should also be prepared to face the parliamentary inquiry after the largest party in parliament leveled accusations against him. The government should refrain from treating the formation of the parliamentary inquiry committee as a matter of prestige in response to the inflexibility shown by the main opposition party. After the committee is formed, it should be left to the ethics of the individual whether to resign from the post or not. Following the formation of the probe committee, the opposition should refrain from creating further disruptions by demanding resignations. All parties involved must ensure that parliament conducts genuine parliamentary exercises.

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