Millennium Post

Politics of conflicting interests

Having brought about dissolution of their Constituent Assembly tasked to write Nepal’s new democratic Constitution, the countries myopic and selfish politicians are continuing to feud over who among them should head the government until fresh elections take place to a new constituent assembly which will resume the exercise. For nearly four wasted years and several extensions they could not agree on the basic framework of a new democratic constitution, forcing the Supreme Court to dissolve the assembly as further extension was not permissible. It is doubtful if they will agree to sink differences and give up their egos and be able to finally draft a constitution which incorporates the hopes and aspirations of the people, because the chasm separating them appears unbridgeable.

Nepal’s worsening security and economic situation is of no consequence to these politicians, nor do they seem concerned about the activities of inimical foreign forces which are trying to take advantage of the moment to spread their influence without check and detection, which could have adverse implications for India as well. They are not able to come to an understanding on the composition of an interim government which would lead the country to the poll in 2013. The Nepali Congress, the principal opposition party, wants to head the interim outfit, while the ruling Maoists see no reason to step aside because they were the single largest group in the dissolved house, which had enabled them to form a coalition government. They have offered the Nepali Congress to join the present government and choose its portfolios to create a national government and conduct the affairs of state till fresh elections are held. But the Nepali Congress wants either the government, or an arrangement to be headed by a ‘neutral’ person, not Maoists.

President Ram Baran Yadav, who wields limited power under the country’s interim constitution, has been desperately trying to bring together the parties and evolve a consensus among them on formation of an interim government, but has not succeeded so far. He has expressed his anger, as well as, despair over the conduct of the politicians and warned of increased lawlessness and adverse economic consequences of a continuing political stalemate. But the parties are not listening and the people are getting more and more restless and desperate.  Even though all political forces had joined hands to get rid of the centuries old monarchy, following a bloody Maoist insurgency that claimed thousands of lives, the parties are managing the transition very poorly. The interim constitution by which the country is presently governed, was not meant to be a permanent feature because it is not complete and is transient in nature. Democracy cannot come to Nepal till it has its proper Constitution and the temporary phase in its political evolution cannot last for ever.

To make things worse, the opposition parties including Nepali Congress (NC); Communist Party of Nepal – Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) and Unifed Madhesi Democratic Front (UDMF) have announced a programme of country-wide agitations to force the Baburam Bhattarai-led government out. The ruling combine of Unified Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (UCPN-M) and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) have called for counter-demonstrations of support for the government to neutralise the opposition. This means that confrontationist politics, which is the bane of Nepal, will now descend to streets and there could be an adverse fallout on the law and order front. The economy is already in the doldrums, all foreign (including Indian) investment has come to a halt and unemployment has increased. The Maoists have split and Mr. Mohan Vaidya Kiran has floated his own ultra-nationalist Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) and joined the anti-government movement which is, however, accompanied by India-bashing as well.

In the resulting confusion, the monarchists are coming out in the open demanding restoration of the monarchy because the political parties, including the once-revolutionary Maoists, had failed to deliver a constitution and usher in democracy through a newly – elected parliament and a popular government. [IFS]
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