News Digest – Politics & Governance (April 01 – 07, 2021)


Politics & Development

Communist Party of Nepal–Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN–UML) and PM Oli:

Discussions about PM Oli’s constitutional obligation to take vote of confidence after the Supreme Court’s March 7 decision—to revive CPN–UML and CPN–MC—have begun in the parliament. Constitutional experts argue that there need not be a no confidence motion filed for PM Oli to have to seek a confidence.

Photo: RSS

After suspending Nepal and Rawal, PM Oli, on April 1, suspended Ghana Shyam Bhusal and Surendra Pandey from the UML for six months; according to PM Oli, the two leaders’ justifications were not satisfactory. Bhusal warned that the UML is made by the contribution of millions of people and that Oli cannot simply ask leaders to leave the party. He also said that Oli will be punished for his deeds.

Following Oli’s move to punish its top leaders, the UML’s Khanal–Nepal faction has begun organizing and strengthening its power by forming parallel committees in the party. The faction’s standing committee meeting on April 3 decided to launch a two-month long nationwide campaign for the same, with a slogan ‘save CPN–UML’s unity and protect the communist movement.’

On April 3, president Bidya Devi Bhandari went to meet CPN leader Jhala Nath Khanal at his residence in Dallu. Khanal admitted that president Bhandari talked about the country’s current political situation and wished the CPN–UML and the communist movement to move ahead undivided.

Speaking at an inauguration event on April 3, PM Oli restated his intention to get fresh mandates, as the ‘inappropriate game’ of number manipulation in the parliament has begun. Oli also said that he would resign as the PM if the Maoist Centre withdraws its support to him. 

Nepali Congress (NC):

With a divided Janata Samajwadi Party Nepal (JSPN) and the Communist Party of Nepal–Maoist Centre (CPN–MC) reluctant to withdraw its support to Oli, Nepali Congress disagreed make any decisive move, even after its meeting with the latter’s chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal on March 30.

NC’s Central Working Committee’s meeting on April 2 decided to demand PM Oli’s resignation on moral grounds and to take the lead in forming an alternative government. On the same account, leader Ram Chandra Poudel stated that NC will file a no confidence motion against PM Oli if he does not resign.

Some leaders and analysist speculate that Deuba is still not on board with the NC’s decision to form an alternative government in its leadership, as most of the steering is currently being done by Ram Chandra Poudel, not Deuba himself.

Communist Party of Nepal–Maoist Centre (CPN–MC):

On April 1, the SC rejected Dahal’s petition to review its March 7 decision that scrapped the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and revived the UML and Maoist Centre. A full bench of the SC, led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana, made the decision.

The CPN–MC removed four ministers— Energy Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Industry Minister Lekhraj Bhatta, Urban Development Minister Prabhu Sah and Labour Minister Gaurishankar Chaudhary—from the party and stripped their lawmaker positions, which will cost them their ministerial positions as well.  

Janata Samajwadi Party Nepal (JSPN):

Despite NC’s decision to lead the alternative government formation campaign, the political course remains uncertain, as the decisive JSPN is still divided along its Samajwadi and Janata Party lines, with the former wanting to unseat Oli and latter willing to join the government if its demands are met. Both NC and Maoist Centre have been trying to court JSPN’s Mahanth Thakur and Rajendra Mahato to get them to go with alternate government formation. However, Thakur showed his displeasure with NC’s recent decision to claim leadership, while Mahato said that they would make a decision only after a vote of confidence or no confidence enters the parliament.

Governance & Corruption

Pushpa Kamal Dahal had filed a petition to review the March 7 decision of reviving the Maoist Centre and the UML. However, the supreme court rejected this petition. Hence, the parties will remain in their pre-merger state for now.

On April 1, Oli suspended Ghanashyam Bhusal and Surendra Pandey as general party members for six months. Oli had suspended Madhav Kumar Nepal and Bhim Rawal

On March 29. In a letter to Bhusal, Oli wrote that he (Bhusal) tried to divide the party by holding separate factional meetings.

A Public Accounts Committee of Parliament probe had revealed that Omni Business Corporate International was procuring medical goods at unusually high rates. The CIAA is doing little to investigate this case.

Nepal Army selected only one, Poly Changda of Guangdong, out of 22 bidders for the 213 billion dollars Kathmandu-Tarai expressway project which would link Kathmandu with Nijgadh consisting of two tunnels totaling 2.77 km and several bridges from Simpani to Chalise Kholsi and Ghattepakha to Bandare Khola within the 72.5 km expressway scheduled to be completed for July 2024. The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament found flaws in the pre-qualification process for selecting contractors, which breaches the Public Procurement Act-2015, which states that more than one bidder must be selected.

KP Oli, on April 3, inaugurated 165 strategic road projects, one in each electoral constituency, without completing the required preparatory works including the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and detailed project report (DPR).

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