The government’s plan to indorse the Medical Education Ordinance Replacement Bill that was attempted to table in the parliament on Sunday is withdrawn for now, thanks to the strong protest from the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC). The NC stood firmly against of the Bill as it was brought going against the past agreements and commitments but also attempted to endorse by suspending the parliamentary regulations. Though the main opposition, NC and the government head, Nepal Communist Party (NCP), have agreed to draft a new medical education bill on the basis of consensus, it is unlikely to table another consensus bill by Wednesday, the deadline to expire the ordinance. The constitutional provision compels to endorse any ordinance to be endorsed by the Parliament within 60 days of the first House. The situation is likely that the old law will come into force after Wednesday until a new bill is endorsed. As the government had registered the replacement bill in haste even suspending the parliamentary regulations with the motive to continue the existing monopoly of mafias in the medical education, not only the main opposition NC but also the concerned stakes holders stood against of the bill including Prof. Dr. Govinda KC, who had already completed 14th hunger strike demanding reform in the medical education sector. Dr. KC has now begun his 15th hunger strike by reaching out at Jumla district to escape the government’s arrest.
The government has brought the bill altering some key provisions of the ordinance issued by the previous government led by NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba. NC president Deuba led government had issued the ordinance addressing the past agreements made by the government responding to the struggle of Dr. KC. The demands raised by Dr. KC has to be addressed unconditionally not only to respect the past agreements and commitments made on behalf of the government but also give access to the meager section of the society to have the medical education. The new ordinance was tabled completely neglecting the past agreements made even by the erstwhile CPN UML led government with the motive to promote the private sector in medical education sector. As some of these provisions of the past ordinance were removed even inserting vague terms giving space to the medical mafia, the motive of the government is being questioned from different sectors. Though it was already understood that incumbent leftist government would be deceitful to reform the medical education sector due to investment of its leaders in the sector, the people in general have still been questioning to the incumbent government particularly its head Prime Minister KP Oli that why does a demand for broader medical reform and transparency and accountably trouble the government?
Not only the issue of medical education bill but also other controversial decision made by the government to ban demonstrations at Maiti Ghar Mandala is condemned from different sectors. Some have been casting their doubts that the government would transform into dictator even restricting the fundamental democratic right to assemble of the people. As the majority government had come up with some promising agendas of guarantying political stability, adopting zero-tolerance against corruption with zero-impunity, respecting fundamental freedom granted by the constitution, and so on, the people in general had kept some expectation from the incumbent government. The commitment to end the deeply deep-rooted cartel and syndicate in public transport sector, commitment to take action against naughty contractors and so on had also raised hope from the government. But the initial euphoria and optimism of the incumbent government is waning because of its own doing. Prime Minister Oli and leaders of his party would not have aware with the diminishing popularity of the government, thanks to the arrogance of two third majorities. There is no necessary to say that the government is showing signs of authoritarian attitude by arresting the people who had staged a demonstration to express solidarity with Dr KC. It seems that the leaders of the NCP are forgetting to the past that Maiti Ghar Mandala is the place from where they had also raised their voices in the past? We have nothing to say to the Prime Minister Oli and the leaders of his party but like to remind here that deviation from the commitment made before the people and any attempt to stand against of the fundamental spirit of the democracy will invite huge public backlash to brushing away the arrogance kept on the name of two third majorities in the parliament.