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Nepal’s President prorogues House session amid Covid surge

Even as Speaker Agni Sapkota declared that he wouldnot let whims and fancies dictate House proceedings, Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Monday prorogued the current session of Nepal’s House of Representatives.

The decision to abruptly end the session, taken on the recommendation of the Cabinet, comes in view of the rapid growth of Covid-19 cases in the country. However, the move also coincided with the Opposition parties’ decision to table a no-confidence motion against the government soon.

“The government has decided not to let assembly of more than 25 people because of the prevailing pandemic, and therefore, letting the House run was not possible,” Information Minister Parbat Gurung said.

This comes after provincial leaders who support Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli also faced the possibility of no-confidence votes, but were able to survive the attempt to bring down their governments.

The government in Gandak province, which is headed by Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist leader Prithvi Subba Gurung, had also prorogued the provincial legislature two days previously, after an Opposition party and dissident lawmakers seemed determined to bring the government down on the floor of the House.

Shankar Pokharel, the Chief Minister of Lumbini province and an ardent supporter of Oli like Gurung, also faced the possibility of a no-confidence motion in the provincial legislature. However, he was able to bring four legislators who were signatories of the no-confidence motion over to his side by giving them ministerial berths.

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