Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli (L) and Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal in a sidetalk during the orientation for UML and Maoist MPs at New Baneshwar, Kathmandu on Saturday. Photo: Dinesh Gole/Republica
KATHMANDU, Mar 4: With a month left for their formal unification, the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Center) have started joint exercises to bring about a smooth transition into a unified party. As part of this, the two parties for the first time organized a joint meeting for the orientation of their parliamentarians, on Saturday. Not only that, the leaders of the two parties went on to instruct their lawmakers to speak with one voice in parliament on the agenda and priorities of the soon-to-be-unified party.
Though the meeting was called for instructing lawmakers about their common priorities and role in parliament, the party leaders said the exercise was also aimed at creating a friendly environment between them. UML and the Maoists likewise briefed the lawmakers on the technical and procedural aspects of parliament.
Addressing the joint meeting held at the parliament building, the UML and Maoist Center chiefs assured the participants of the merging of the two parties very soon. UML has 148 members in parliament, including both the lower and upper houses, while Maoist Center has 65.
Prime Minister and UML Chairman K P Oli instructed the lawmakers to work for unification and the prosperity of the country through parliament. He asked them to refrain from carrying the files for the transfer and promotion of civil servants.
“We have earned this status in parliament through hard work, not by tossing a coin,” Oli said. “You should have files with plans and visions for the development of the country instead of for the transfer and promotion of civil servants.”
Maoist Chairman and former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said that UML and the Maoists have already become one but remain separate only due to a technical process. “We will soon become a single party; so I urge you all to act as a member of a single party, setting aside your differences,” he added. Dahal suggested that the newly elected lawmakers study all the bills in parliament and the rules, laws and procedures, to facilitate their best performance.
Lawmakers attending the joint meeting expressed excitement over the efforts by the two parties at a smooth unification. UML lawmaker Rabindra Adhikari tweeted that the joint meeting was a pleasurable moment and it made him confident about the future.
Meanwhile, while addressing the same meeting, Oli vented his ire against the judiciary for what he described as its breaching the jurisdiction of the executive. Pointing to a stay order against the pending appointment of three National Assembly members, Oli claimed that the courts couldn't revoke their appointment. “I hope the judiciary will abstain from interfering in the jurisdiction of the executive,” he said.
Referring to the date of birth controversies surrounding the chief justice and the eldest member of parliament, Oli said sarcastically that he himself doesn't have more than one date of birth. “Someone younger than me is going to administer the oath of office to us in the capacity of the eldest member simply due to a mistake in his date of birth. This just shows the chaos in the country,” he said.