Friday, 12 April, 2024

Obstructions Benefit None

More than five months have passed since the restoration of the House of Representatives (HoR) by the Supreme Court (SC). But the Lower House of the Federal Parliament has not been able to run in a smooth manner due to continued obstructions by the main opposition — CPN-UML. Many important bills have remained pending since long as the UML has been persistently creating obstacles. The previous government, led by KP Sharma Oli, had dissolved the HoR twice within the span of six months. Oli had taken the unconstitutional moves one after another owing to his failure to resolve the growing feuds within his party. The UML seems to have adopted the policy of stalling the parliamentary proceedings even after the reinstatement of the HoR by the apex court for the second time in July. The continued House disruption by UML is against the people’s mandate and can’t be justified on any ground. The party should be mindful that people are taking notice of the main opposition’s working approach and House obstruction cannot give a positive message.

In democracy, all the problems can be settled through dialogues and negotiations. The parliament is a suitable place where any disputes can be discussed to seek a solution. This is the beauty of democracy. But the main opposition does not seem to be so serious about ending the House impasse. The present coalition government and the Speaker have been calling the UML to come to a negotiation table to resume parliament proceedings. In his fresh effort, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Sunday called all-party meeting with an objective of ending the House deadlock and moving ahead the US government's Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) project. Under the US$ 500 million grant programme, cross-border electricity transmission lines will be constructed. This support will also be utilised for renovating some strategic roads. But the project would come into force only after the parliament endorses it.

The meeting that was attended by political parties representing the HoR mainly delved into the issues of House obstruction and MCC. Prior to the all-party meeting, the ruling alliance had also discussed the issues. However, the UML did not attend Sunday's meeting. The party had avoided a similar consultation a couple of weeks back as well. Though the meeting did not reach any conclusion in regard with the ratification of MCC, it decided to hold further discussions on the matter. The meeting also assigned a three-member taskforce that includes senior leader of CPN (Unified Socialist) Jhalanath Khanal, Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gyanendra Bahadur Karki and CPN (Maoist Centre) vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha to discuss the content of MCC and hold talks with other political parties on it before reaching a conclusion.

As the parliament is a crucial forum for holding discussions on pertinent national issues, it is an irresponsible act on the part of the main opposition to keep on blocking it. The all-party meeting asked the UML to seek a solution to the problem through discussions. Since obstructing the House cannot help address the real issues, the meeting called on the main opposition to stop such a move. The main opposition’s move has stalled numerous remarkable bills and dampened people’s aspirations. So, the UML must act in a more responsible manner to help consolidate the federal setup and address many other contemporary national issues.