PROF. BIRENDRA P MISHRA
Federal Democratic Republic Alliance (FDRA) has come into being with three main purposes as claimed by UCPN-Maoist Finance Minister Barshaman Pun. These are- to endeavor to bring national consensus, deploy political cadres whenever needed and face jointly the fresh election to the Constituent Assembly (CA). Perhaps, the take off of the formation was not trouble-free as the term ’republic’ was included on the last date and the number of alliance partners came down when it was finally announced formally on August 15. Interestingly, not all the coalition partners of the government are the partners of the alliance. And, not all Madhesi parties are a part of the alliance. Thus, the purpose of the alliance banks on vagueness.
Apparently, both the major coalition partners, the United CPN-Maoist and the Madhesi parties seem to be placed in a directionless state for they are unable to decide the way out of the present political and constitutional impasse. In the post Constituent Assembly dispensation, not only the largest political force, the UCPN-Maoist is in a reduced strength but also the government led by it has been rendered a caretaker government being deprived of its status of a normal government. Furthermore, the Madhesi parties have become a house divided against themselves as almost all the original parties, elected in the CA, have been divided during the last four years.
In fact, the government has failed to conduct fresh CA elections as per the date announced by it for there is no legislative body to amend the Interim Constitution (IC) to facilitate the process of the election. The Election Commission seems partially right when it wants some of the provisions of the Interim Constitution to be amended to mandate it to conduct the fresh CA election constitutionally. The government appeared adamant in going ahead with its decision to execute its decision through the ordinances, without amending the constitution, but ordinances, of course, cannot amend the constitution. Hence, the process of holding election is paralyzed. The government may face financial problems after some time as the national budget has been approved for the first quarter only. The government is passing its time by simply engaging itself in trivial matters like promotion and transfer of government officials.
The main objectives of the alliance seem quite different from those that were claimed. The formation of alliance in no way seems helpful in bringing national consensus as the alliance has pushed the main opposition parties, the Nepali Congress (NC) and The CPN-UML (UML) to the wall demonizing them as anti-federal forces, which they are not exactly. There are some reservations, of course, which can be discussed and sorted out in the larger interest of the country. The present state of affairs, do not benefit any party. The people will be the losers ultimately. With regard to the second objective of deputing party cadres, it will certainly be needed when some sort of confrontation takes place. It is hard to guess that the alliance is anticipating any kind of confrontation, or planning to create such a situation in the country, which will attract clashes between the political forces. If it is so, again, it will not be good for the country. Lastly, the alliance may guarantee its electoral victory when election takes place. But even this last point does not carry water for two reasons. First, The UCPN-Maoist division has definitely taken away its glory of being the largest party in the CA with the maximum popular support. As such, its people support is yet to be tested, as it has to go to the people once again to reconfirm it.
Secondly, the condition of Madhesi outfits is in no way better than that of UCPN-Maoist for almost all major Madhesi parties have been fragmented for securing power. Originally only the three major Madhes parties had emerged with people support in the CA election, but all these parties were divided during the last four years. Hence, they feel secure with the help of each other in the next election. But in the changed situation, when the CPN-Maoist has taken away a major share of votes on the one hand and the fragmented Madhesi outfits, instead of taking up the cause of Madhes, have divided the parties for the sake of power, on the other, may not be helpful to the UCPN Maoist either. It is also because the Madhes psyche is hardly in favour of any authoritarian regime.
To some, it is a ploy to facilitate the continuity of the present government. But actually it is not so, for the government survives even if there is no alliance. It cannot last indefinitely. Of course, when it is dismissed, it may require more cadres and especially from Madhesi outfits to resist the removal in streets. However, it is doubtful whether Madhesi cadres will support the alliance for there is no guarantee of provincial status to the Madhes as the ethnic federalism advocated by the UCPN-Maoist is different from that of Madhesi federalism for Madhes is a nation in itself. Moreover, the divided Madhesi parties have no specific role in the alliance. Thus, the effectiveness of the alliance will be tested in the days to come.