KATHMANDU: Opposition parties today reached out to President Ram Baran Yadav, urging him to block this fiscal’s budget, which they said the government was trying to bring unconstitutionally.
“We have been informed that the caretaker government is gearing up for bringing the budget for this fiscal through ordinance, instead of making efforts to form a national unity government. In such a situation, it is inappropriate to endorse the ordinance and it is also necessary to prevent the country from going into further conflict,” reads the petition the leaders of the opposition parties submitted to the President.
A meeting of 26 opposition parties, including the newly formed Mohan Baidhya-led CPN-Maoist, had yesterday decided that they would urge the President to block the full budget that the government was trying to bring. The petition has been signed by Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, Rastriya Prajatantra Party Chairman Pashupati Sumsher Rana, CPN (ML) General Secretary CP Mainali and Rastriya Janashakti Party Co-chairman Prakash Chandra Lohani.
“We would like to remind the President that as per Article 88 of the Interim Constitution, the Head of State should endorse any ordinance only if he is fully satisfied with it. We request you not to approve the ordinance which the caretaker government is planning to present before you for authentication,” adds the letter.
Opposition parties argue that Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai does not have the right to bring the budget through ordinance as ‘he was relieved of his duty on May 27’ after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly that doubled as Parliament.
“The government cannot bring full budget for two reasons: First, it is a caretaker government and second, it has already announced fresh elections,” said UML Chairman Khanal, adding that opposition parties have only reminded the President to act as per the spirit of the Interim Constitution.
NC leader Ram Sharan Mahat said, “Four years ago, I had in capacity of finance minister brought partial budget, as the change of guard was on the anvil. Surendra Pandey also brought partial budget as finance minister. So, there are precedents and constitutional obligations which call for a caretaker government to bring only a partial budget.”
Mahat came down heavily on Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun’s yesterday’s statement that the President was constitutionally bound to endorse the ordinance recommended by the government. “Such statements don’t suit a minister. In addition, such remarks are unconstitutional and could fan the flames of discord,” he added.
Sources said President Yadav once again urged parties to make efforts for consensus and reiterated that he would take necessary steps as per the spirit of the Interim Constitution.