Miffed, UML ministers delay Cabinet meet

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Oct 16, 2014-

A Cabinet meeting on Thursday was deferred by two hours as CPN-UML ministers refused to attend it to protest the “non-cooperation” of its coalition partner Nepali Congress.

The scheduled 10 o’clock session started only at 12:30pm as the UML ministers demanded the NC stop “interference” in the ministries led by them. The Cabinet, however, met after UML chief KP Sharma Oli and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala had a telephone conversation. Right before the meeting, UML ministers gathered at the Parliamentary Party Office and told Oli that they would not attend the meeting for the prime minister’s “interference”.

“We did not join the government as a junior partner of the NC. The UML has equal strength as the NC in Parliament,” General Administration Minister Lalbabu Pandit is learnt to have told the meeting.

UML ministers came down heavily on Prime Minister Koirala and NC ministers for “interfering with UML ministers”, who were riled by NC lawmakers’ demand for scrapping the Squatter Problem Resolution Commission.

Land Reforms and Management Minister Dal Bahadur Rana had formed branches of the commission in 72 districts to look into the issue of the landless people. The move was criticised by NC ministers.

In the meeting, Koirala proposed either scrapping the commission or revamping it.

The district chairperson of the panel enjoys facilities equivalent to an under-secretary while members receive perks as a government officer. The NC has been objecting to the move on the ground that the minister had only “UML cadres on the committees”.

According to sources, NC ministers were of the view that either there should be equal representation from the NC and the UML in the commission or it should be scrapped altogether.

The two ruling partners are also at odds over endorsing an amendment to the Civil Service Act that discourages government employees to hold or apply for any kind of permanent residence permit or citizenship of a foreign country.

The Act is pending in Parliament for the past five months. UML ministers believe the bill has been put on hold following pressure from PM Koirala and the lobbying from NC ministers.


Published: 17-10-2014 09:11

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