The all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today held discussions on controlling COVID-19 pandemic, the by-election to the vacant posts in all the three tiers of government and the parliament's business.
Ruling party CPN-UML's spokesperson and Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, who participated in the meeting, said the parties have committed to support the government in resolving the national problems.
Talking to journalists after the meeting, Minister Gyawali said, "We have held serious discussions on a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how to adopt control measures, how to conduct the by-elections to fill the posts lying vacant in the House of Representatives, the Province Assembly and local bodies, and on some businesses held up in the parliament as well as on the latest political situation."
According to him, all parties were of the same view regarding the ways to tackle coronavirus pandemic owing to the open border and other various reasons. The leaders of the political parties, he said, suggested to the government to carry out works to that end in a more effective manner in the context of the daily increasing challenges in the country.
Minister Gyawali shared that in the meeting the leaders of the political parties urged the government to ensure Covid-19 vaccination, to order the schools in hotspot areas closed and to take steps for preventing people from crowding at places where there is usually a large crowd of people by appealing to the general public. He informed that the leaders pledged support to the government to that end.
As he said, all the parties were agreed to participate in the by-election to be held on the date specified by the Election Commission. However, the Nepali Congress has suggested that the timetable for the by-election should be prepared keeping in mind the party's upcoming general convention scheduled for Bhadau (from mid-July to mid-August) so that it does not affect the general convention.
In response PM Oli assured the Nepali Congress that he would hold consultations and move ahead so that there is no such problem, Minister Gyawali said.
He maintained that all the parties in the all-party meeting were of the common opinion that businesses, including MCC, were stuck in parliament for long, and that Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota could not keep these topics held up for long by using his discretionary power.
"It has been agreed that this topic should be finalized after discussing it at various bodies as the Speaker, the Business Advisory Committee and others," Gyawali said.
Besides this, holding this type of discussions from time to time and moving ahead in consultations to find solutions to the nation's common issues was also the meeting agenda.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was learnt to have informed the meeting that the incumbent government was committed to the issues of national interests and no compromise would be made in regard to the matter of nationality. '' Tendencies to jeopardise nation's political stability, to bring instability and to weaken the political system have seen of late in the country, democratic forces should be aware of all these and such moves should be discouraged,'' Minister Gyawali said quoting the Prime Minister.
In response to a query from journalists about the absence of CPN (Maoist-Centre) in the meeting, the Minister said, ''Why they are not present in the meeting and why are they diverting to an irresponsible path, it is up to them. But one thing they should know that the country can be run even without them.''
Talking about the move of some party lawmakers in Karnali Province, he said, ''Violation of party whip and crossing the floor is not acceptable in the parliamentary system.''
He expressed his concern that some important ordinances remaining held up in the parliament. "The ordinance to make the heinous crime like acid attack more punishable was not allowed to enter the parliament session.''
''Some of the important businesses are held in the parliament up due to its leadership. We want a common understanding about this,'' he said.
Some special provisions were made through an ordinance to ensure Covid-19 vaccines to citizens and if this ordinance was not entertained by the House, we would lose a constitutional ground to validate the vaccination campaign, he said, accusing the Parliament of failing to realise the gravity of this kind of sensitive issues.
As he said, during the meeting the Janata Samajbadi Party called for paving the way for the Citizenship Bill.
NC senior leader Ramchandra Poudel shared that they advised the government to be serious to contain the pandemic rather than taking a step to enforce lockdown. He also shared that why the government was not providing business to Parliament, why the by-elections and election to deputy speaker were not moved ahead.
According to him, they raised the issue that why the parliament was paralyzed by the government. The system should be prioritised rather than continuing in power and position, Poudel said. He also shared that they urged to table the MCC bill in the parliament.
Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) leader Prakash Chandra Lohoni mentioned that PM Oli said in the meeting that the Speaker at the House of Representatives (HoR) was not supporting the business allocated to parliament by the government, adding that his (the Speaker's) role in the parliament was not as per the expectation.
He added that the meeting allocated the responsibility to Prime Minister to coordinate between parliament and government to lessen the gap between them.
DPM Ishwar Pokharel, Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel and Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel, general secretary Bimalendra Nidhi, chief whip Balkrishna Khand, Janata Samajbadi Party leaders Mahantha Thakur and Laxman Lal Karna and Nepal Workers and Peasants Party leader Prem Suwal were present in the meeting.
However, Nepal Communist Party (Maoist Centre) leaders and CPN-UML Nepal-Khanal faction leaders did not attend the all-party meeting.