Kathmandu: Nepali Congress lawmakers have dubbed opposition leader K P Sharma Oli’s address at Parliament on Tuesday as his expression of frustration, anger, restlessness and sense of pain for being ousted from power ‘because of his own follies.’
Chairman of CPN-UML and the leader of the main opposition in Parliament, Oli had heavily criticized the common minimum program unveiled by Sher Bahadur Deuba’s government.
Oli basically raised four issues on Tuesday: Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant provided by the US government, the territories of the northwestern frontier in Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani, embezzlement of cantonment funds and transitional justice.
He had spoken about two of them—the MCC and cantonment fund misuse scam—on Monday as well, in his address to the Central Committee meeting of the party.
On Monday, he had said that the MCC should be passed but only by making necessary amendments on the Compact based on the aspirations of people. He had raised the question about cantonment money misuse.
On Tuesday, he took the government to task for not taking initiatives to bring back the territories of north-western frontier, not addressing transitional justice issues and not ratifying MCC.
It should be noted that Oli’s position was different on all of these issues while he was in power. While in power, Oli had never ever spoken of the need for amending the MCC compact before getting it ratified by parliament. While he was the PM, cantonment fund embezzlement was never spoken about. Transitional justice saw no progress and there were no visible efforts at bringing back the northwestern territories of Nepal, while he was in power, though it was under his leadership that Nepal amended its constitution to remap those territories.
All the Nepali Nepali Congress leaders Nepal Live Today spoke to expressed resentment against Oli’s ‘misleading’ claims in parliament.
Lawmaker Uma Regmi called Oli’s remarks at parliament nothing but his expression of frustration and suppressed guilt. “This is the expression of frustration for failing to do anything substantive while in power. There is no need to read his statements much,” said Regmi. “Now he wants MCC passed, now he remembers transitional justice and now he wants the territories of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura back,” she commented. “What stopped him from doing so when he was in power?”
According to Regmi, it is unfair of opposition leaders to demand settlement of long and complicated issues overnight from the government that has not found even a full shape. “He commanded nearly two-thirds majority for nearly three years. He could have done a lot. But what did he do when he was in power?”
Chitra Lekha Yadav, Congress lawmaker and former Minister of Education, called Oli’s address at Parliament as baseless allegations against the government. “This is the release of anger for being out of power. He must be in deep pain and shock for being ousted from power,” said Yadav. But the way Oli is presenting himself, commented Yadav, does not suit his stature. “He is a former PM. He should not make a laughing stock of himself,” she said.
Yadav said that while in power Oli had shown utter disregard for democratic norms, values, constitutional practices and parliamentary norms. “He also undermined parliament. He seems to be doing so even now,” said Yadav. “His arrogance had no limits.”
Mahendra Kumari Limbu, Nepali Congress lawmaker representing Jhapa district, echoes Regmi and Yadav. “I hope he has not lost senses,” said Limbu. “He tried to sabotage the constitution and democracy while he was in power. Congress stood in favor of these ideals, this seems to have gotten into his nerves,” commented Limbu.
According to Limbu, people should judge Oli themselves and they should be able to see through his duplicity.
UML Chair Oli had an unceremonious exit from power on July 13, after the Supreme Court verdict directed President Bidya Devi Bhandari to appoint Sher Bahadur Deuba as the Prime Minister. Oli had dissolved Parliament twice—once in December, 2020 and again in May, 2021 despite the Supreme Court overturning parliament dissolution of December, 2020. Then on May 24, 146 lawmakers led by Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba had filed a case at the Supreme Court demanding restoration of the House of Representatives and recognizing Deuba as a prime minister.
On July 11, the Court issued the mandamus order for the appointment of Sher Bahadur Deuba as the prime minister.
Since being appointed PM on July 13, Deuba has not been able to give full shape to the cabinet and proactively work to address the aspirations of the common people.