Politics

Prime Minister Oli said the Speaker hasn’t asked to remove his remarks from Parliament record. He lied.

  • Krishna Bahadur Mahara has explicitly ordered secretariat officials to delete ‘unparliamentary comments’ of opposition lawmakers and prime minister
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

May 16, 2019-

Upon his arrival from a weeklong visit to two Southeast Asian nations, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Wednesday told reporters that he did not make comments that were against parliamentary decorum while responding to queries of the main opposition in the House of Representatives on May 7.

“The [House] Speaker hasn’t said I used any unparliamentary words. Nor has he directed to remove them from the record,” Oli told the media at the Tribhuvan International Airport. “Some lawmakers had used indecent, provocative and unparliamentary words, and the Speaker’s directive was targeted at them.”

Oli went on to say that he was aware of the dignity and decorum of Parliament and that he has always maintained that.

But Oli’s claims are untrue, as Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara on May 10 issued a ruling, saying, “I direct the [Parliament] Secretariat to delete the unparliamentary words that were used [by lawmakers] while questioning the prime minister on policies and programmes and while [the prime minister] answered.”

Mahara explicitly said that remarks—both by lawmakers and the prime minister—would be deleted.

“Our team is studying the remarks made by lawmakers as well as Prime Minister Oli following the Speaker’s directive,” Roj Nath Pandey, spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat, told the Post. “The phrases that need to be removed from the record will be ascertained after the study.”

Oli on May 7 was responding to questions around policies and programmes—presented by the President on May 3—raised by lawmakers from the main opposition Nepali Congress.

“I am leaving aside some trivial comments emanating from anger and complexes and would rather address other concerns,” Oli had said, immediately drawing sharp criticism from the Congress lawmakers who demanded that Speaker Mahara issue a ruling, ordering the Parliament officials to remove those comments because they were unparliamentary.  

But Mahara refused to oblige, which also earned him criticism from the main opposition that said the House Speaker had failed to rise above partisan interests and that he was siding with the government.

Mahara’s May 10 ruling, however, was for removing all those comments—by Oli and opposition lawmakers—that did not suit parliamentary decorum.  

The Speaker’s ruling has not gone down well with lawmakers from the ruling Nepal Communist Party. They say Mahara acted in a hurry.

“It is clear that the Speaker fell prey to the Congress,” said Bishal Bhattarai, a lawmaker of the ruling party. “He issued an unwanted ruling just to pacify the opposition lawmakers.”

According to Bhattarai, the word “trivial” was used [by Oli] to indicate “unimportant” questions asked by opposition lawmakers, which were provocative.

Political scientists, however, do not agree with ruling party lawmakers.

“Addressing Parliament means addressing the sovereign people of the country as the parliamentarians represent the people because it’s the people who elect them,” said Meena Baidya Malla, a professor of political science, told the Post.

“Words that are not in line with the dignity and decorum of the House should not be allowed regardless of who uses them,” she said. “And as the head of the government, the prime minister should be more sensitive in such matters.

Published: 17-05-2019 06:30

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