Koshi Province: Tensions rise as govt and opposition lock horns over Assembly dissolution


April 11, 2024


Koshi Province: Tensions rise as govt and opposition lock horns over Assembly dissolution

Chief Minister of Koshi Province/File Photo

KATHMANDU: A high-stakes showdown unfolded in Biratnagar between the government and the opposition alliance, centered around a race to reach the provincial head office earlier this week.

Interestingly, inside the State assembly premises, MPs from CPN-UML and Maoist Center were embroiled in preparations for a significant move — drafting a letter to withdraw their support for Chief Minister Kedar Karki.

Simultaneously, efforts were underway to nominate UML parliamentary party leader Hikmat Karki as the new Chief Minister, accompanied by a petition for a special assembly session.

Sensing the brewing storm, Chief Minister Karki swiftly summoned all secretaries and chief secretaries to his office, instructing them to draft a recommendation letter for convening a regular session of the provincial assembly, counteracting the UML and Maoists’ demand for a special session.

Amid the frenzy, Chief Minister’s Public Relations Adviser Leela Ballabh Ghimire rushed to the provincial head office, bearing the hastily penned recommendation letter.

However, upon his arrival, tensions were palpable as UML and Maoist MPs convened in the office of provincial chief Parshuram Khapung.

In a surprising turn, Ghimire delivered the letter directly to the Chief Minister in the midst of what seemed like a cordial exchange.

As the lawmakers from both camps confronted each other, one MP voiced the prevailing uncertainty, questioning whether the Chief Minister proposed the dissolution of the State Assembly, or something else entirely.

As the provincial chief unfolded the government’s letter handed to him, it revealed a recommendation to convene a regular adjournment session of the state assembly scheduled for May 24.

The move, orchestrated by Chief Minister Karki’s camp, aimed to sidestep the demand for a special session.

Chief Minister Karki remains resolute in his stance, refusing to resign or undergo a vote of confidence, citing his appointment in accordance with Article 168, Clause 5 of the Constitution.

Believing that an earlier regular session could circumvent the need for a special one, Karki directed his public relations consultant Ghimire to swiftly deliver the recommendation letter to the provincial chief, preempting the UML-Maoist coalition.

However, a critical error emerged in the official letter hastily prepared in the chief minister’s office—the session’s date was incorrectly listed as “Jestha 11, 2080,’ instead of the intended ‘2081.’

Prompted by the Council of Ministers’ recommendation, Chief Minister Karki promptly dispatched a letter urging the convening of the fifth session of the Provincial Assembly on Friday, May 24, 2024.

Yet, the letter submitted by Ghimire to the provincial chief bore the erroneous date.

Upon discovery of the error, the provincial chief instructed Ghimire to rectify the date before proceeding. Realizing the oversight, Ghimire hurried back to the Chief Minister’s office to correct the dated letter.

Upon his return with the corrected document, Ghimire found that the UML and Maoist MPs had already registered their letter demanding a special session, effectively overshadowing the government’s maneuver.