Ready to act

The Nepali Parliament is winding down its monsoon session amidst the most rowdy inter-party squabble the Lower House has ever seen, reminding one of the bedlam that overtook the Uttar Pradesh state legislature only a few months ago. The cause of the floor-fight, which left some furniture and a Danish-funded mike system as casualties, was a local self-government bill up for passage. No, the honourable members were not battling about the philosophical issues behind the landmark bill, which has the ability to make or break the system of governance nationwide. Their bickering was limited to the fact that one article allowed members of local-level councils to switch political parties after elections. This was against the prevailing interests of, particularly, the United Marxist-Leninists (UML) which feared that its splinter party, the recently formed Marxist-Leninists (ML), would stand to gain from the provision. (The ML is presently cohabiting with the Nepali Congress in government.)

Even though the governing coalition had the required majority to pass the bill, the main opposition uml was determined to do its utmost to block it; hence, the fracas. The larger issues emanating from the Local Self-Government Act, which was finally adopted, seemed to be far from the minds of the legislators.

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Himal Southasian