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Shadow govt under Deuba on cards

The main opposition party, Nepali Congress, today decided to expedite the process of forming a shadow government headed by NC President and Leader of the Opposition Sher Bahadur Deuba.

A meeting of the NC parliamentary party asked lawmakers to submit names of three ministries of their interest for the appointment of shadow ministers. The NC’s first parliamentary party meeting had decided to form a shadow government.

NC Whip Pushpa Bhusal Gautam said once lawmakers submitted names of ministries of their interest, a panel would be formed to finalise shadow ministers. She said Deuba directed the parliamentary party to form a shadow government at the earliest.

Shadow government is a feature of the Westminster system of government. It consists of opposition lawmakers who, led by the leader of the opposition, form an alternative cabinet to that of the government.

Members of shadow cabinet, often termed shadow ministers, mirror positions of each member of the cabinet. It is the shadow cabinet’s responsibility to scrutinise policies and actions of the government, as well as to offer an alternative programme.

The concept is not new in Nepal. Communist parties had formed shadow governments when they were in opposition.

Today’s meeting of the NC parliamentary party also decided not to allow the House proceedings to move until Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli answered questions from lawmakers on his Sunday speech in the Parliament.

The NC decided that since the prime minister delivered his speech as per HoR Regulation 219 (1), lawmakers should also be allowed to question him and he should answer those questions as per HoR Regulation 219 (2).

“Once you start a process as per HoR Regulation 219 (1), you have to end it as per HoR Regulation 219 (2),” said NC Whip Pushpa Bhusal Gautam.

The meeting decided that it was HoR Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara’s responsibility to ensure that due process was followed. “Tomorrow, we’ll make the same request to the speaker,” she said.

NC lawmakers disrupted House proceedings on Sunday after Mahara did not allow them to ask questions, stating that a question-answer session would be held on another day. In fact, the speaker allowed parliamentary Finance Committee Chair Krishna Prasad Dahal to present reports on draft Pension Fund Bill and Payment and Settlement Bill in the Parliament while NC lawmakers were shouting slogans surrounding the rostrum.

After Sunday’s fiasco, NC and the speaker accepted in a meeting of Parliamentary Business Advisory Committee yesterday that they both erred by exhibiting aggression and agreed not to repeat the mistake.

The Business Advisory Committee will convene at 12:00pm tomorrow to seek an end to the stalemate, but NC lawmaker Minendra Rijal said they would not retract from their stand that they be allowed to question the PM as per HoR Regulation 219 (2). “The onus is on the speaker,” he said.

Today’s NC parliamentary party meeting also decided to vote against the National Medical Education Bill in the parliamentary Education and Health Committee.

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