People's Review Weekly

Federalism jatra visible in Koshi province

- By Our Reporter

The provincial structure of the nation has become a stage for the politician­s to show their Jatra (fun) in Nepal. It is evident from the appointmen­t of the same man as Chief Minister of Koshi Province twice in 26 days. The ruling alliance demonstrat­ed the character of grasping power at any cost.

Uddav Thapa of the Nepali Congress was appointed Chief Minister of Koshi on July 6, but the Supreme Court annulled his appointmen­t on July 27. Again, Province Chief Parshuram Khapung appointed him Chief Minister of the Province. However, Thapa, Nepali Congress Parliament­ary Party leader in the Provincial Assembly may not survive more than 30 days, considerin­g the structure of the Assembly.

Thapa was appointed Chief Minister for the second time on Tuesday evening.

Earlier, Thapa was appointed the Chief Minister of Koshi Province on July 6, but the Supreme Court later invalidate­d his appointmen­t. Interpreti­ng the role of the Speaker, the Supreme Court on July 27 annulled his appointmen­t as CM. Thapa, elected to the Provincial Assembly under a proportion­al (PR) election from the Nepali Congress, had included the signature of the sitting Speaker of the Provincial Assembly to form a majority government under Article 168 (2) of the Constituti­on of Nepal.

Speaker Baburam Gautam had put his signature in favour of Thapa to form the provincial government after former Chief Minister Hikmat Kumar Karki of the UML lost the majority.

Thapa showed a majority of 47 members in the 93-member provincial assembly including the name of the Speaker. Former CM Karki filed a writ in the SC challengin­g the government formation process and the biased role of the Speaker. The court ruled that Thapa had violated the Constituti­on by submitting the claim to form the with the of Speaker


Following the Supreme Court's order, Provincial Chief Khapung again resumed the government formation process, and Thapa was reappointe­d as the Chief Minister under Article 168 (2) of the Constituti­on. He garnered the support of 47 lawmakers, consisting of 29 from the Nepali Congress, 13 from the CPN (Maoist Centre), four from the CPN (Unified Socialist) and one from the Janata Samajwadi Party.

Earlier, Speaker Baburam Gautam had signed separately to participat­e in government formation, but this time he resigned from his position before supporting Thapa's candidacy. Speaker Gautam resigned from the post on Tuesday evening.

Gautam's resignatio­n was driven by the absence of the probabilit­y of a split between allies in the province, as the political parties were divided into two alliances. He said government signature Baburam that he felt compelled to resign although it did not seem right at the moment. To form the government, a minimum of 47 out of the 93 Koshi Province Assembly members' support was required. As no coalition could secure a majority with 47 members, Speaker Gautam's resignatio­n became crucial for the formation of the new government.

Probably, the Koshi Province will go for a mid-term election in the next 30 days as Thapa is not likely to show his majority in the House. The two alliance in the 93-member Assembly has almost equal strength with the UML having support of 46 members and the NC of 47 and if a single member of Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal changes the coalition, the situation gets altered. Going for a mid-term will add only financial burden, but there will also be no option but to hold snap polls. As such, the provincial structure will be nothing more than a 'white elephant' for a resource-crunched country like Nepal.

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