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UML launches broadside at ruling coalition

The main opposition CPN-UML has come down heavily on the government, saying the latter has desperately failed on multiple fronts— from Covid-19 response to the economy.

Issuing a statement, the first since its chair KP Sharma Oli was ousted from office, the UML has said the current coalition government is an outcome of misinterpretation of the constitution and the impacts are now becoming visible.

“The government has failed in even fulfilling its basic duty prescribed by the constitution,” the UML has said. “It has failed in serving the national interest. Its response to the pandemic has been poor. The three key organs of the state are in disarray.”

It has demanded that the local polls must be held on stipulated time saying that some leaders of the coalition have been trying to make a confusing interpretation of Article 225 of the constitution in an attempt to delay the local polls which need to be held two months before the expiry of the terms of local governments.

At a time when the ruling parties have been holding the main opposition CPN-UML responsible for taking the legislature hostage, the party has blamed the ruling parties for the deadlock.

The UML has said the ruling parties are not ready to listen to the voice of the main opposition seriously.

“Due to ill-intentions of the ruling parties, one of the most important organs of the state–the legislative has also become defunct,” the main opposition has said. “They have also ignored our own parliamentary practice to allow the main opposition to lead the Public Accounts Committee.”

The UML, however, has said that it had tried to keep the House of Representatives active before Speaker Agni Sapkota’s ‘discriminatory’ move on July 18 against the party.

On August 17 last year the UML had recommended that the Speaker sack its 14 dissident lawmakers “for conspiring to split the party.” But Sapkota took no action on the recommendation until the government brought an ordinance to ease splits in parties and the UML dissidents launched the CPN (Unified Socialist) the next day, which was registered at the Election Commission on August 25.

And on August 29, the Speaker announced it was not necessary to take action on the UML’s recommendation as the dissidents had already formed a new party.

The UML has been charging the Speaker with playing foul and joining the ruling party alliance in its conspiracy to split the party.

On the economy front the CPN-UML has said all the indicators of the economy do not bode well.

“The pace of development in this government’s tenure has almost stalled. Nepal Rastra Bank’s financial report has painted a bleak picture of the economy and the country is heading towards a financial crisis,” the party said. “The foreign currency reserves have depleted to their lowest levels in a decade.”

Surging imports and decline in tourism has taken a toll on forex reserves in the country. In October last year, the foreign currency reserves, which was enough to fund imports for 10 months at fiscal year’s start, had dropped by about Rs100 billion.

Prices are going through the roof, which could affect the overall standards of living and frustrate economic growth as the inflation has burst with increase in Covid-19 cases.

Inflation has reached a six-year high of 7.11 percent, said the UML. “In the first five months of the last fiscal year, it stood at 2.93 percent.”

The main opposition has also accused the government of failing to build proper diplomatic relations with neighbouring countries. In the statement, it has said instead of making attempts to resolve the border issues with India on the basis of the historical treaty, documents and proof, the government has not even made Nepal’s position on Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani clear.

The party has said the government made unnecessary moves to sour relations with the northern neighbour by forming a probe committee unilaterally to study the already resolved border issues with China.

About two months after its formation, the Deuba government on September 1 last year had formed a committee to study the border issues with China. Beijing, however, has maintained that all border issues with Nepal have been resolved.

On the Millennium Challenge Corporation compact, a $500 million US grant project, the UML has accused the leaders of the ruling coalition of having made contradictory statements.

“The leaders of the coalition are acting duplicitous–they say one thing to the American authorities and something different to their party cadres–and are keeping the people in the dark,” Oli said. “By forming a task force now to study the [MCC] agreement which they had signed five years ago, they have done a childish job.”

The UML said the government has also rendered many diplomatic missions in important countries headless by recalling the ambassadors.

As many as 23 diplomatic missions are vacant as of Sunday.

The main opposition has also taken serious exception to the ruling alliance’s recent discussion on holding the federal elections in April-May instead of local polls at that time.

“The UML is clear and firm about holding the local elections on time,” the party has said in the statement. “The coalition leaders have been throwing the card of general elections in April-May in a bid to push local elections. Such a move won’t be acceptable to us.”

The main opposition had earlier planned to hold a press conference to make public its position. However, after Oli got infected with Covid on Saturday, the party decided to issue a statement.

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