A Congress lawmaker’s support for ruling party’s motion puts main opposition in dilemmaAmresh Kumar Singh goes against his own party which has been raising voice against the government in Parliament.
A week after the Nepali Congress joined hands with the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal to strengthen its opposition to the government in the federal parliament, one of its lawmakers, Amresh Kumar Singh, has backed the ruling parties in registering a motion of public importance in the Lower House, prompting the main opposition to find a face-saver and discuss the code of ethics for its parliamentarians.
Singh, along with Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Prabhu Sah and Samajbadi Party Nepal Chief Whip Uma Shankar Argariya, on Friday registered a motion which envisions short- and long-term government actions to support and rehabilitate the victims of floods and landslides.
Pushpa Bhusal, the Nepali Congress whip, said Singh had made his move without the party’s consent. “It is purely his personal decision,” said Bhusal. It’s a general practice for a member of parliament to take permission from the chief whip or whip of the party before making any move in Parliament.
“The party learned about Singh’s move only after the motion was registered,” Bhusal told the Post. “The party will decide what should be done next.”
She said it wasn’t a right step by Singh to support the motion moved by the ruling party while the opposition forces were uniting against the government.
While discussing Singh’s move, the party will also seek to develop a code of ethics for its lawmakers, according to Bhusal.
But Singh’s move has put the main opposition in a dilemma.
Voting against the motion would mean standing against its own lawmaker and standing in favour would mean supporting the ruling party.
Bhusal said the party could ask Singh to withdraw his support to the motion.
The Post’s repeated attempts to reach out to Singh for comments went unanswered.
The Nepali Congress and Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal last week decided to raise their voice against the government jointly. They have even jointly obstructed the House of Representatives at least three times.
The two opposition parties have agreed not to allow the Lower House to function unless the ruling communist party agrees to form a parliamentary panel to look into two incidents of death in Sarlahi district last month.
Kumar Paudel, a member of the Communist Party of Nepal led by Netra Bikram Chand, was killed on June 20 in police action. On June 30, Saroj Mahato died when police opened fire on a group of villagers who were demonstrating against illegal sand mining in Banke river. The protest began after a boy fell to his death in a sand pit. The opposition parties maintain that both incidents were suspicious.
The Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal is also demanding that the government make public the study report in the cases of violence during the 2015 Tarai protests.
Despite a ruling from Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the government has not released the report prepared by a high-level commission led by Girish Chandra Lal, a former Supreme Court justice.
Amid this, opposition parties fear Singh’s support to a motion moved by the ruling parties could dilute the ongoing anti-government protests.
Asked how the ruling parties had convinced a lawmaker from a party that is obstructing the House to support their motion, Argariya said Singh decided “to stand for a good cause”.
“What’s wrong when all the parties come together in matters of national importance?” Agariya asked.
The motion demands residences for those who lost their homes in the recent floods and landslides, at least Rs 500,000 for the families of the deceased and free treatment for the injured immediately. It has asked the government to build proper embankments along the rivers, control river encroachment and save the Chure belt as a long-term solution to the perennial problem of flooding in the Tarai.
At least 90 people were killed and 29 others have gone missing in the floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains across the country a few days ago.
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