Parties in opposition said on Friday that the KP Sharma Oli government has lost moral and political ground to govern.
Speaking on the first day of the budget session of Parliament, top leaders from the opposition parties termed the incumbent government’s move of issuing two ordinances as an autocratic step, saying it was against the principle of democracy and spirit of the constitution. They also took the Oli government to task for corruption in medical equipment procurement and abduction of a sitting lawmaker.
“At a time when the entire country had to be united to fight Covid-19, the government issued two ordinances as part of its conspiracy against the reputation of the Constitutional Council,” said Nepali Congress President and former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. “It’s a shame that the government hasn’t been able to manage test kits and other equipment needed to combat Covid-19 even months after the first case was detected in the country.”
The government on April 20 had issued two ordinances—one related to political parties and another to the Constitutional Council—with the provisions to ease the process to split the parties and increase the government’s say in the appointments to the constitutional commissions.
Both the ordinances, following criticism from various sections, including from within the ruling Nepal Communist Party, were withdrawn five days later. By that time, even the Office of the President had been drawn into controversy for acting as an arm of the executive.
The ordinance related to the political parties, which many believed was aimed at splitting Samajbadi Party Nepal, however, led to unity of the Samajbadi Party and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal. Then suddenly surfaced the allegations of abduction of Surendra Yadav, a lawmaker from the Samajbadi Party Nepal.
Even ruling party leaders have criticised the Oli government for its involvement in the abduction of a lawmaker.
On Friday, Deuba told the House that it was unfortunate that the government got involved in the abduction of a lawmaker to split a party.
“The government has failed on different fronts, and it has political and moral ground to govern,” said Deuba.
Deuba demanded a fair investigation into the case and immediate action against those involved in the kidnapping. Yadav has alleged that ruling party lawmakers Mahesh Basnet and Kisan Shrestha with the support of former chief of Nepal Police Sarbendra Khanal on April 22 had abducted him from Janakpur.
Stating that the Oli government’s different steps show he is on the autocratic path, Deuba asked opposition parties, the media and civil society to stand against it.
Baburam Bhattarai, who spoke as a leader of the Samajbadi Party as its unity with Janta Party Nepal to form Janata Samajbadi Party is yet to get legal status, said the recent acts of the government have raised moral questions against Oli.
“Morality counts the most in politics. Oli should make a self-confession and retire to rest,” said Bhattarai, also a former prime minister. “Let’s give the younger generation a chance to lead the government.”
He also raised the issue of police reluctance in registering the first information report against the ruling party lawmakers in the alleged abduction of Yadav.
Bhattarai said the police didn’t register the case as per the direction from the ‘higher authority.’
“It is very unfortunate that the police refused to register the case even when the former prime minister, along with a former minister, was present [at the police office],” he said.
Bhattarai said the country is going through an unparalleled crisis therefore.
“It is high time we revived the culture of consensus among the parties in some major issues,” said Bhattarai. “The government now should focus on reviving the economy which is hit hard by Covid-19, bringing the people stranded in different countries back home and providing relief to the poor, which are suffering the most due to the lockdown.”