“PM Deuba’s intention is to make parliament a failure”

Dhiraj Basnet

March 21, 2022


“PM Deuba’s intention is to make parliament a failure”

Lal Babu Pandit is a former minister and represents the CPN-UML party. He was elected to the House of Representatives from Morang Constituency- 6 in the 2017 election by defeating Congress candidate Shekhar Koirala. He was also elected to the first and second Constituent Assembly under the Proportional Representation system.

He is currently a member of the House of Representatives. After becoming the Minister of General Administration in 2070 BS, Pandit amended the Civil Service Act and made a law to disqualify the employees who have permanent residency permits (DV, PR, green card, etc.) from holding public office.

Khabarhub’s Dhiraj Basnet held a conversation with former minister Pandit, who has been active in communist politics since 2039 BS. Excerpts:

The winter session of Parliament ended abruptly. UML, however, did not protest. Why?

In fact, there is absolutely no doubt that the parliament meeting should be held according to the need and subject matter to solve the country’s problems.

We have been demanding this for a long time. However, the Speaker did not heed our demands. We have been accused of obstructing the parliament for six months.

However, they had been passing the bills as per their necessity. If the parliament had been completely blocked, no resolutions would have been passed.

Moreover, people have understood that the MCC was passed amid this parliamentary impasse. At present, some of the proposals in the coalition may not be agreed upon.

Therefore, they postponed the session of the parliament. UML has not considered it necessary to speak on this issue. We have said that this parliament cannot work, and have been insisting to face fresh elections, which, however, did not happen.

And, in the current parliament, we have absolutely no role. Our demands have not been heard. Therefore, we do not consider it necessary to speak even though the session of Parliament has been prorogued.

When the government was led by KP Oli, the then opposition alleged your party of ending the parliamentary session in a guerrilla style. Is this what Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is trying to do now?

The accusation is a different thing. It is the government’s responsibility to give business to the parliament.

The government is trying to avoid the problem by proroguing the parliament. Instead of giving business to the parliament, the current government is working to make the parliament jobless and ignore the opposition party’s demands.

We are of the view that the session of the Parliament has ended because the Nepali Congress President and the Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba did not want to face the Parliament.

The impeachment motion filed against Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana has been in limbo due to the prorogation of the parliament. The CPN-UML remained silent on this issue either. Why?

In fact, we are not in favor of taking part in the discussion on the impeachment motion filed against CJ Rana. If there had been a discussion, UML would not have participated. UML has included the impeachment motion in the committee in which I am a member.

But it seems that the government does not want to discuss the issue. Now, the session of the parliament has ended without bringing the proposal in the parliament and sending it to the committee. This shows that the government intends to register an impeachment motion and leave it.

The government seems to be afraid because it can be counterproductive. However, even if the parliament is prorogued now, the budget session will have to be called soon. That is when the discussion takes place. We will put pressure.

Your party has been constantly obstructing the parliament session. You even gheraoed the rostrum and shouted slogans. You neither participate in the process of ratifying the MCC nor the budget presentation. But why did UML take part in the impeachment motion committee?

We have repeatedly made our demands clear in Parliament. The Speaker has acted unconstitutionally, abused his authority, and helped split the UML.

As per the constitution, 14 parliamentarians have already been expelled. Therefore, the root of the current problem is whether the Speaker had to issue a notice of expulsion of 14 lawmakers or whether the Speaker himself had to resign and pave the way. This is our demand. Until this demand is met, the obstruction of the parliament will continue.

However, this does not mean that Parliament should not participate in the proceedings. Our protest is in the parliament, not in the committee. We are taking part in the parliamentary committees.

Local elections are around the corner. How is UML preparing for the same?

In fact, CPN-UML is an organizationally agile party. It has reached every nook and corner of the country. The party has launched a campaign intending to reach every household across the country. UML is popular among the people.

There has been a significant wave of people joining the UML party. The rights of Singha Durbar have been brought down to the villages through the local levels. We are, therefore, working to bring a wave of development.

Currently, we are embarking on a campaign to field qualified and capable people’s representatives.

What new agenda do you have this time? To remind you, your party had promised to build a mega city by combining Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. Moreover, you had also promised one house-one job, in three years.

Yes, it’s a fact that we could manage a number of federal structures and some of them have not been able to move forward owing to various political disputes.

But, we haven’t forgotten the promises that we made five years ago. UML will go to the people with the promise to complete the unaccomplished work.

You had almost a two-thirds majority in the federal parliament. You were in government for three years. The UML had nearly 40 percent of the seats at the local level. What obstructed you to work?

To tell you the truth, we have done a lot of work. But things did not go as planned. The Covid pandemic, which lasted for about two years, was the major reason behind this.

The second reason is the political wrangling. However, the pace of development was gradually picking up. I would like to urge the people to compare the work done at the local level in the last 20 years and the work done in the last 5 years.

What if political parties made promises that can be accomplished?

Yes, you are right. Since the election manifesto is merely an estimated document, it is predictable. Therefore, it cannot be cent percent accurate.

If the document does not include what can be done, should be done, and should be emphasized in the future, then it cannot be a manifesto.

Moreover, a manifesto is not a bundle of despair, it is a path of hope and faith. But it is the political parties that move forward with the confidence of the Nepali people.