Nepal's House of Representatives has elected Agni Prasad Sapota as a new Speaker on January 26, 2020. (Photo: RSS)
KATHMANDU: Amid all odds, Agni Prasad Sapkota, leader of ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), has been elected unopposed as the Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) on Sunday.
A meeting of the HoR today elected Sapkota to the post as no lawmaker contested his candidacy.
Even though Sapkota’s candidacy as the Speaker was challenged in the Supreme Court (SC) accusing him of his involvement in the abduction and murder of Arjun Lama in 2005 in Kavre, the HoR elected Sapkota as the Speaker today.
Former Speaker and NCP leader Subash Chandra Nembang proposed Sapkota’s candidacy. Likewise, another former Speaker Onsari Gharti and NCP chief whip Dev Gurung seconded Nembang’s proposal at the HoR. The senior-most member of the HoR Mahanta Thakur chaired today’s session.
Nepali Congress (NC), the main opposition, too, supported Sapkota by not filing its candidacy for the post in the hope of getting NCP’s support for its candidate for the post of Deputy Speaker. Sapkota represents Sindhupalchowk district and has also served as a minister.
Sapkota has already served as a Minister for twice — Minister for Information and Communication from May to July 2011, and Minister for Forests and Soil Conversation from Oct 2015 – July 2016.
Meanwhile, NC leader and parliamentarian Dr. Minendra Rijal said that his party supported Sapkota as the Speaker as it is a ‘neutral’ post. “We dismiss reports that NC had supported Sapkota to bargain for the post of Deputy Speaker,” he said.
Dr. Rijal expressed the hope that Sapkota would be able to move ahead in an impartial manner to prove that the voices raised by the members of the civil society outside the parliament against Sapkota would not be justified.
“NC will not shy away from fulfilling the responsibilities as an opposition. We will assure our cooperation,” he said.
The position of Speaker was lying vacant since early October 2019 after the then Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara resigned from his post following a charge of attempted rape.
Sapkota, meanwhile, has been alleged to murdering Lama in 2005. The SC’s constitutional bench is currently overseeing the case.
Lama’s wife Purni Maya, who had earlier filed a case with the District Administration Office against Sapkota alleging him of being involved in her husband’s murder, had later moved the SC after the police sent the complaint to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The next meeting of the HoR is slated for 1 pm on January 28.