Race for Parliament panel chairs begins

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Jun 16, 2018-With the regulations for joint meetings of the two Houses of federal parliament ready to be endorsed, race for the chairpersons of 16 parliamentary committees has begun.

The government led by the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), commanding a two-thirds majority in Parliament, is poised to lead most of the committees while at least one including the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will be led by a lawmaker from the opposition Nepali Congress.

Although the parties have not started discussion on candidates to lead the House panels, lawmakers have started lobbying for the same. “We’re collecting forms from lawmakers wishing to join the committees,” said NCP leader Subas Nembang, adding that the PAC would be led by the opposition. The ruling NCP seems reluctant to share leadership of more than one thematic committees in the House of Representatives.

“Nine out of 10 thematic committees of the Lower House will be led by NCP,” said lawmaker Krishna Gopal Shrestha. Since the party has adopted a ‘one person one responsibility’ rule, except for party Chairman KP Sharma Oli, lawmakers who are not ministers and are without other major responsibilities would chair the parliamentary committees.

Lawmakers likely to be chosen to chair the thematic committees of the Lower House include Agni Sapkota, Ghanashyam Bhusal, Janardan Sharma, Pampha Bhusal, Yogesh Bhattarai, Devendra Poudel, Haribol Gajurel, Krishna Gopal Shrestha, Bhanubhakta Dhakal, Khagaraj Adhikari, Yagya Raj Sunuwar, Rekha Sharma, Lekhraj Bhatta, Binda Pandey, Aman Lal Modi and Hit Bahadur Tamang. If former ministers refused to lead the committees, other competent MPs from the NCP are likely to be assigned the responsibilities.

“I’m not interested in leading the parliamentary committee,” said former minister Surendra Pande.

A Standing Committee and secretariat meeting of the NCP Parliamentary Party is expected to discuss the agenda of parliamentary committees on Saturday.

The Lower House will have 10 thematic committees. The Upper House will have four besides two joint committees.

Deputy leader of NCP Parliamentary Party Nembang said the Lower House will endorse the joint regulation most probably on Sunday.

As the committee formation process starts, each lawmaker has been asked to choose three committees. In the 275-strong Lower House, 10 thematic committees will have around 27 members each. “Selection of chairpersons will begin after members of the committees are decided,” said Parliament Secretary Gopal Nath Yogi.

NCP Upper House PP leader Dinanath Sharma said the two joint committees would be led by one lawmaker each from the two Houses.

There are eight central committee members of the NCP in the Upper House, who will get priority for chairing the thematic committees. Parshuram Meghi Gurung, Khimlal Bhattarai, Kali Bahadur Malla, Balaram Prasad Baskota and Suman Pyakurel are the probable contenders. One of the female lawmakers including Dil Kumari Rawal Parbati and Udaya Sharma Poudel could be selected to chair at least one thematic committee.

Published: 16-06-2018 07:24

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