That Krishna Bahadur Mahara has resigned as the Speaker of the House of Representatives on moral grounds should give way to a thorough and fair investigation into the case involving him. Mahara faced rape allegations from one of the staff members of the Federal Parliament Secretaroat. He is the first Speaker of the House of Representatives to resign from the post. The female staff had accused Mahara of sexually assaulting her at her rented room in Tinkune of Kathmandu Monday night. The incident became viral in social media in no time. A secretariat meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) held on Tuesday morning took a prompt decision that Mahara should step down as the Speaker as well as the member of the House of Representatives. Even the top leaders of his party, including chairmen duo Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, urged him to resign. Just before submitting his resignation to Deputy Speaker Dr. Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe Tuesday afternoon, he issued a press note claiming that he stepped down to facilitate fair investigation into the accusation. In his resignation letter, he mentioned that he resigned on moral grounds with a view to paving the way for a factual, fair and independent investigation into the allegations labeled by the media on his character.
Mahara, 62, is an influential leader of the CPN. He was elected as the member of the erstwhile House of Representatives from Rolpa district in 1990. Having joined the then Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), he became very close to the party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’. He worked as a key negotiator from his party while holding talks with the government during the Maoist insurgency. When he was nominated as a member of the Interim Parliament in 2007, he took up several vital positions such as Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Communications and Information. He was elected to the Constituent Assembly in 2008 and 2013. Known as a ‘sober’ leader, he was elected to the House of Representatives from Dang district in 2017. He was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives in March 2018. He is considered to be very skilled at establishing inter-party and intra-party relations.
Anyway, the authorities concerned have already initiated the process of investigation into the allegations against Mahara. All the sections of the society, including the ruling and the opposition political parties, must cooperate with the probe in order to bring out the facts. It is interesting to note that the woman, who accused Mahara of assaulting her, has not shown her willingness to file a charge-sheet against him. She later conceded that she had blown up the issue in a fit of depression and anger. However, Mahara’s resignation has definitely eased the investigation process. Nobody is above the law. The political leadership should ensure the rule of law prevails in the country. Different political anomalies have hindered the nation’s social and moral progress. This event, involving a senior leader, should be handled in a way that will help make politicians and others holding public positions accountable. A thorough and fair police investigation into the case is a must to give it a reasonable conclusion.