Oli avoids major issues in House

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Jan 7, 2019-

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s much-awaited speech in Parliament on issues of “public importance” turned out to be a progress report defending his government’s activities as he failed to clarify on Sunday the major controversies his government has got into recently.

Oli made a lengthy statement, reiterating his old promises, self-proclaimed achievements and stopping short of talking about the most pressing issue of the day--the aircraft purchase deal.

Much to the chagrin of the opposition, he even refused to take questions from Nepali Congress lawmakers. Oli consulted with Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari on Saturday and the nation was expecting him to shed light on the deal in the wake of a controversy surrounding it.

Opposition leaders including Minendra Rijal and Gagan Thapa commented that the PM could have revealed his “progress report” from his office in Singha Durbar using the state-owned media channels.

Oli, whose administration has drawn criticisms from all quarters, said that attacks against the government were aimed at derailing the newly adopted federal democratic system.

The prime minister defended the President’s expensive carcade and expansion of her residential area arguing that those who criticised the ceremonial institution on these matters were attacking the republic.

Oli rubbished media reports that said lawmakers having houses in Kathmandu Valley were claiming rent allowance from the government as a serious attack on Parliament.

He tried to cover the government’s controversial activities saying that the attacks could weaken the democratic practice. “It has been clear that Parliament was defamed earlier in preparation for an authoritarian rule. Negative publicity against lawmakers now is intended against democracy,” Oli warned. “We must be aware of it.”

On the civil servants adjustment ordinance, Oli said he had bailed the nation out of 50 to 60 billion rupees by aborting the voluntary retirement scheme and introducing the staff adjustment process in coordination with the official trade union of civil servants. He urged the opposition not to fish in troubled waters.

Oli, who usually speaks harshly against the opposition, urged the Nepali Congress on Sunday to join hands with his government to lead the nation towards prosperity, pledging to create an environment for that.

On news reports questioning the security of data at the action room being created at the PM’s Office and that of the national digital identity card, Oli said such “fabricated” information had confused the people.

The prime minister’s speech failed to impress many lawmakers from the ruling party, let alone the opposition.

“I still remember the loud thumping of tables when lawmakers applauded as PM Oli addressed the House for the first time after taking charge. Only a handful of ruling lawmakers lauded his speech today with a heavy heart, indicating his failure,” said Thapa, an NC member.

Published: 07-01-2019 11:25

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