Physical altercation in Nepal's House of Representatives over financial misconduct inquiry

Physical altercation in Nepal's House of Representatives over financial misconduct inquiry
House of Representatives Nepal

Attempts to establish a parliamentary investigation into claims of significant financial misconduct in Nepal's cooperative descended into chaos on Thursday, as deep rifts between the governing alliance and opposition factions led to a violent confrontation in the House of Representatives.

The chaos began when Speaker Devraj Ghimire tried to continue with the day's agenda before reaching an agreement on the proposed investigative committee's scope. At the center of the dispute are allegations that Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ravi Lamichhane was implicated in mishandling funds during his previous tenure at a media organization.

As Lamichhane took the floor, lawmakers from the main opposition Nepali Congress party joined those from allied ruling parties in trying to shout him down. Congress Vice President Dhanraj Gurung led the charge to block the embattled minister from speaking, prompting a heated exchange with Communist Party chief KP Sharma Oli, who demanded the Congress members "leave" the well of the house.

Amid the raucous scenes, shoving and pushing broke out between Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) MPs. Ultimately, the pandemonium forced Speaker Ghimire to abruptly adjourn proceedings as the situation spiraled out of control.

The dramatic events capped days of contentious negotiations between the Congress and Lamichhane's Rashtriya Swatantra Party over the inquiry committee's scope and powers. While RSP had proposed a broad mandate to examine legal loopholes and lapses in oversight of the cooperative sector, the Congress demanded the explicit inclusion of Lamichhane and companies allegedly complicit in financial misconduct.

House of Representatives Nepal

Earlier in the day, discussions seemed to be moving towards an agreement at the prime minister's residence, with both parties agreeing to establish the committee. However, the Congress later took a firmer position by circulating updated terms that insisted on including the name of Lamichhane's previous media project and specifying that the committee should also propose measures to recover funds from defaulters and safeguard troubled depositors.

In the aftermath, an enraged Nepali Congress General Secretary Gagan Thapa declared his party would boycott further negotiations unless the government unequivocally committed to the opposition's inquiry parameters ahead of the next parliament sitting. RASP leaders countered by accusing the Congress of negotiating in bad faith and vowed to block any attempt at a "witch hunt" against Lamichhane.

The altercation highlights the difficulties in probing the cooperative financial controversy amid intense political hostility. With escalating rhetoric from both factions, the likelihood of establishing an unbiased parliamentary investigation seems dim, particularly in the short term.

Experts suggest that the crisis could worsen the instability of Nepal's already fragile governing partnership and amplify the divisive political divisions affecting the young democracy's establishments.

Related News

No stories found.
Ph: ++977-1-5172640 | | Publisher : Mellow Arc Media Pvt.Ltd.| Editor: Madhusudan Bajgain| Reg.No: 00102/078-079
Daily News Nepal