Gandaki: Province chief supports ‘unconsitutional move’ of UML, Maoist Center

Bijay Nepal 07 Apr 2024
Gandaki: Province chief supports ‘unconsitutional move’ of UML, Maoist Center Gandaki Province Chief Dilli Raj Bhatta. (File Photo)

POKHARA: The formation of the new government in Gandaki Province resembles the situation that unfolded in Koshi Province in July last year.

Province Chief of Gandaki, Dilli Raj Bhatta, on Sunday appointed Khagaraj Adhikari of CPN-UML by misinterpreting the constitution.

Adhikari, accompanied by the parliamentary party leader of CPN (Maoist Center) Hari Bahadur Chuman and independent assembly member Rajiv Gurung, visited the residence of Chief Minister Bhatta on Sunday morning and submitted his claim for government formation.

Parties need to secure the support of 31 members to form the government in the 60-member Gandaki Province Assembly.

The claim submitted to Province Chief Bhatta only includes signatures of parliamentary party leaders of UML and Maoist Center, as well as independent member Manange. UML has 22 members, including the deputy speaker, while Maoist Center has eight members, including the speaker.

Based on this claim, Province Chief Bhatta appointed Adhikari to the position of Chief Minister without going for consultations. Neither did he remember the precedence set by the Supreme Court in the case related to Koshi Chief Minister Uddhab Thapa. Furthermore, the Maoist Center has counted the support of Fanindra Devkota of Nepal Samajbadi Party, who contested the election using the election symbol of Maoist Center. Although Devkota is technically a Maoist Center leader, he has not attended parliamentary party meetings of Maoist Center for over two months.

In a similar scenario in Koshi Province nine months ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the Speaker’s signature cannot be considered valid for government formation and declared the government of Uddha Thapa of Nepali Congress invalid..

Independent member Rajiv Gurung, who quit CPN (Unified Socialist) two weeks ago to show support for former Chief Minister Surendra Raj Pandey, has shifted camps yet again to back Adhikari’s claim to form the government.¬†Gurung has been promptly rewarded by Adhikari. He has already been inducted into the new cabinet together with Maoist Center’s Basnet.

The main opposition Nepali Congress has warned that it will seek legal recourse against the new government.

Advocate Rohit Raj Bastola said that the Speaker and Deputy Speaker cannot participate in government formation while still in their positions. “The Speaker and Deputy Speaker only have the authority to cast a decisive vote in case of a tie in the provincial assembly,” he said. “Adding, since this government is unconstitutional, the court may annul it,” he added.

Published On: 07 Apr 2024

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