The May 27 deadline is just round the corner that is it is less than four weeks away, yet the major party leaders are not doing the needful for thrashing out the contentious constitutional issues. The common meeting point is nowhere apparent, as the parties are adhering to their rigid stances. Like it had been suspected earlier, there would be some last minute bargaining down the corridor in the interest of the parties concerned rather than of the nation as a whole on what provisions go into the constitution. Now, the leaders have agreed to take the contentious constitutional issues numbering some 125 to the full house meeting of the Constituent Assembly (CA) for voting. If the simple majority is not garnered, the leaders have again agreed to send the issues back to the Constitutional Committee. That highlights the importance of consensus which has proved elusive so far, that is for four years. Even the calendar that is designed to make the constitution drafting task smooth has not been adhered to, and the parties are always willing to add a few more days for some form of consensus to materialise. It has been this tendency all the way, and even coming to the eleventh hour, the chorus is not on coming to a clear-cut agreement, and distractions are being created. The note of distraction at the moment is the formation of a unity government rather than on how best to resolve the outstanding constitutional issues.
When the amendment in Article 70 of the Interim Constitution is effected, the constitution-drafting task can be speeded up to meet the deadline. The formation of the government has its own implications as it is the facilitator for seeing that the twin tasks of peace and constitution-drafting are completed within the stipulated date. In fact, what the leaders are now focussing on is only a reflection of being in the driver’s seat—a reflection of partisan selfish interest. Whichever party has the reins of the government in hand is duty-bound to assist in completing the twin mandated tasks within the latest deadline. However, not only the government, but the stakeholder parties are not doing enough in the direction. How will it help if the parties shift their focus from resolving the contentious issues to the formation of a unity government? It can be of no help at all, even from the viewpoint of a layperson.
While this power deal is being discussed, a former prime minster has made an audacious statement that the CA tenure could be extended by another month and a half, that is till mid-July. That is not what the country wants. Just because the major parties do not want to come to a consensus, it does not mean that the May 27 deadline should be ignored. The leaders ought to have better sense and wrap up the constitution-drafting task by that deadline. They have to live up to the commitment made while extending the CA tenure many times now, and the last one was made some five months back. They will have to bear the blame squarely if consensus still proves elusive. And, the constitution ought to be readied for promulgation by the time the CA’s tenure ends. which will obviously pave the way for national and local elections to be announced, which will be timely.
Every year, May 1 is observed as the international workers’ day. The workers stage rallies worldwide as a sign of unity so that their rights are heeded. The rights they demand include working hours and conditions. In Nepal too such rallies are staged by workers with much fanfare and jubilation. No doubt, the workers deserve a fair deal and any exploitation of them should be opposed and condemned. Meanwhile, it does not behoove on the part of workers to make unreasonable demands, for in many cases this would lead to the shutdown of the industries which provide the source of livelihood for the workers. However, the management should also heed the genuine demands of the workers, and make all possible efforts to get them fulfilled.
All concerned should realize that the fate of the workers and their employers are interlinked. May 1 should thus be taken as a day for the workers to commemorate the sacrifices made by many of their predecessors so that all workers would have their rights guaranteed. In the meantime, the employers too need to be sensitive so they are respected, as the workers of the world unite for the purpose.