No-confidence motion filed against Gandaki Chief Minister GurungSince the Provincial Assembly was prorogued hours before the motion was filed, provincial lawmakers have also called for a special session.
As many as 28 Provincial Assembly members of Gandaki from the Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) and Janata Samajbadi Party have registered a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung.
Knowing that preparations for a no-confidence motion were going on after the Rastriya Janamorcha, with three seats in the 60-seat assembly, decided to withdraw its support to his government, Chief Minister Gurung had abruptly ended the ongoing session of the assembly on Wednesday midnight.
“After withdrawing our support to the government, we registered a no-confidence motion against the provincial government,” said Asha Khanal, a member of the assembly representing the Maoist Centre. “We have proposed Krishna Chandra Nepali [from Nepali Congress] as the new chief minister.”
In the no-confidence motion, the leaders have accused Gurung of reeling under his CPN-UML party’s internal struggle, failing to work in favour of the province and its people, and remaining busy defending and supporting the unconstitutional move of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to dissolved the House in December last year. Besides, they have also accused Gurung of neglecting and disrespecting coalition partner Maoist Centre, thus weakening the possibility of cooperation.
In the motion, the leaders have also raised the issue that Chief Minister Gurung had to seek a vote of confidence within a month after the Supreme Court on March 7 decided to revive the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) as per Article 188 (2) of the Constitution.
They have claimed that Gurung’s government has been rendered ‘illegal’ since he did not seek a vote of confidence within a month.
Article 188 (2) says: “If the political party which the Chief Minister represents is divided or a political party in coalition State Government withdraws its support, the Chief Minister shall table a resolution in the State Assembly for a vote of confidence within 30 days.”
After the March 7 decision of the Supreme Court that revived the CPN-UML and the Maoist Centre, Gurung had the support of the three provincial lawmakers of Rastriya Janamorcha while two Maoist Centre ministers were in the government.
But the Rastriya Janamorcha decided to withdraw support on Wednesday saying that Chief Minister Gurung had supported Oli when he decided to dissolve the House of Representatives on December 20 last year.
On April 7, two Maoist Centre ministers–Internal Affairs Minister Hari Bahadur Chuman and Minister for Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperatives Lekh Bahadur Thapa–left the government but the Maoist Centre had not withdrawn its support.
The Maoist Centre withdrew its support minutes before the no-confidence motion was registered on Thursday.
“With the continuity of this Gurung-led government, problems and challenges will further escalate, people’s trust will erode, and development and progress will be affected, thus afflicting a huge loss to the province,” states the motion.
In the 60-member assembly, the UML has 27 members, Congress 15, Maoist Centre 12 (including Speaker), Rastriya Janamorcha 3, and the Janata Samajbadi Party has 2 members and the status of one independent member Rajib Gurung is still unclear. Rajib Gurung has been claiming that he is an independent member despite joining the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) in July, 2019.
The no-confidence motion has been signed by 15 members of the Nepali Congress; 11 of the Maoist Centre and two members of the Janata Samajbadi Party.
However, the three members of the Rastriya Janamorcha have not signed the motion. Leaders of both Nepali Congress and Maoist Centre are confident of the no-confidence motion being passed as they have agreed to sign it whenever necessary, according to Khanal.
As per the Article 188 (4) of the constitution, one-fourth of the total members of the assembly can register a no-confidence motion against the chief minister.
After the chief minister decided to prorogue the ongoing session of the provincial assembly, the 28 members, who have signed the no-confidence motion, have registered an application to the provincial chief to call a special session of the assembly to deal with the no-confidence motion.
“We registered an application at the provincial chief’s office at 3pm requesting that he call a special session of the assembly,” said Hari Sharan Acharya, a provincial member representing the Janata Samajbadi Party.
As per Article 183(3), if, during the prorogation or recess of the session of the Provincial Assembly, one-fourth of the total members can make a petition that it is expedient to convene a session or meeting, the provincial chief shall specify the date and time for such a session or meeting and the Provincial Assembly shall meet or commence its session at the date and time so specified.
The ongoing session started on April 7, and after three consecutive meetings held on the following days, the next meeting had been scheduled for April 19.
Chief Minister Gurung, however, said that the parties are attacking him because they are angry with his party leadership in Kathmandu.
“I have performed better than any other provinces. Why should they remove me for supporting Oli?” Gurung said in a brief comment to reporters. “We decided to end the assembly session not to run away from the no-confidence motion but rather to seek options.”