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Editorial: Find a middle path

Editorial: Find a middle path

The budget session of the Parliament is set to begin on May 10 with the main purpose of endorsing the budget for the fiscal year 2024-2025. As per the constitutional provision, the government must table the budget by May 28. However, it remains uncertain whether the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) will allow a smooth functioning of the House session, a prerequisite for tabling and deliberating on the budget bill.

The winter session of the parliament ended following a prolonged obstruction from the NC. This compelled the government to issue ordinances on crucial investment-related laws. The NC has been demanding formation of a parliamentary panel to investigate Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane's alleged involvement in the misuse of cooperative funds. The victims of cooperative frauds have filed cases against Lamichhane in Pokhara and other places, but state agencies have shown a lack of enthusiasm to investigate the matter. Ahead of the parliamentary session, the NC's parliamentary board meeting has reaffirmed its stance that an inquiry panel should be formed for smooth functioning of the parliament. Lamichhane and senior ruling party leaders, however, maintain that there is no need for a probe panel specifically targeting Lamichhane. While the ruling parties seem to have agreed to form a panel to investigate overall cases related to cooperatives, the NC insists on a Lamichhane-centered investigation panel. On this issue, both ruling and opposition parties should find a middle ground, as the budget process should not be obstructed for any reason. Currently, with the country facing an economic crisis, people are eagerly awaiting the measures the government will take through the budget to address the situation. Recent history shows that both ruling and opposition parties cannot bear prolonged obstructions of parliament and have to arrive at a middle ground. 

Our political parties are adept at seeking win-win solutions through abstract and vague compromises. They can apply the same formula this time too. Both the ruling and opposition parties should act responsibly to end parliamentary obstructions without delay. There is no doubt that questions surround Lamichhane, and people want to know the actual status. The only option for political parties is to pave the way for an investigation against Lamichhane while also allowing parliament to function smoothly. Parliament should be allowed to hold discussions on various aspects of the budget, which is the main duty of our lawmakers.