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End House impasse, once and for all

End House impasse, once and for all

The main opposition party, the Nepali Congress, has been obstructing parliamentary meetings for the past few days demanding the formation of a parliamentary committee to probe the alleged involvement of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs in a cooperative fraud. However, ruling parties do not agree with the NC’s demand, stating that there is no solid evidence of the minister’s involvement in the misappropriation of cooperative funds. 

While political parties have every right to stage protests in the Parliament, they should never forget that rights come with responsibilities attached. In Nepal’s context, major parties have misused this right to protest all too often by holding the parliament hostage for fulfilling their petty interests. In essence, all major parties are responsible for not allowing a smooth, independent and effective functioning of the parliament. This practice seriously hampers the law-making process and deliberations on the people’s agendas.

A case in point: It has been a decade since Nepal formally adopted federalism, but dozens of laws are yet to be formulated, giving successive governments opportunities to rule through ordinances without parliamentary scrutiny. 

Therefore, it’s time for all major parties—the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Center)—to realize their mistakes and vow to never obstruct the parliament again by keeping in mind that such obstructions have never benefited them as they have to reach a compromise solution sooner than later.  Allowing the parliament to work independently is crucial, especially at a time when voices against the current political system are getting stronger and regressive parties are questioning the relevance of the current political system by pointing toward a dysfunctional parliament. 

The time has come for the parties to put an end to such obstructions once and for all—like they did with Nepal Bandh protests in view of tremendous hardships caused to the people—and allow the House to fulfill its duties, given that several urgent bills, including those related to the 2024 Nepal Investment Summit, remain pending in the House. 

A declining public trust toward the parliament resulting from the tendency of using the sovereign body to make or break a government and pursue various other petty interests should also act as a wake-up call for the main opposition and other parties to end such obstructions and get back to business. The sooner they do it, the better.