Uncertainty still lingers on after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA) on May 27. The whole focus of the people is now on how the constitution is going to be drafted and promulgated. The political parties had squandered the opportunity of giving an all-inclusive democratic constitution to the people because of their rigid stances, ideological or otherwise. Even now, the political parties are not seeing eye-to-eye and are sticking to their self-made boundaries. That is the reason for their being unable to come to consensus on a variety of contentious issues. In this, the Maoists and the Madhes parties in the government are for the CA elections to be held on November 22 as announced by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. But, the two major parties Nepali Congress and CPN-UML want the prime minister to make way for the formation of a new government. It is a confrontation of sorts. Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) wants the government to clear the legal and constitutional hurdles by July 22 so that the election could be held on the scheduled date. But, as things are, the possibility of holding the CA polls on November 22 is next to impossible. It is true that election is mandatory because it is the CA that alone can write the constitution as per the provision of the Interim Constitution. And, for the said election to be held depends on the ability of the parties to come to consensus. Without consensus emerging, no further steps can be envisaged as far as drafting the constitution is concerned.
With NC and UML boycotting the all-party meetings, any hope of reaching an agreement among the parties cannot materialise. The two parties want PM Bhattarai to make way for a national unity government to break the impasse. But, the incumbent prime minister wants to see the election through before moving out. The complications are too glaring and an immediate passage is not visible. However, what must be borne in mind is that the constitution has to be framed whether by reviving the dissolved CA if possible or go for an exorbitant election for a new CA. Whatever the means, it has to come from an all-party consensus. If the parties distance themselves from any attempts for consensus, the delivery of a new constitution cannot be done.
This also brings to mind the needed amendments in the Interim Constitution and other election acts for any of the above mentioned way out. Now, it all can be the outcome if the political parties iron out their differences to arrive at a consensus. On this score, the parties have their own ground reality for not wanting to go for an election. The leaders of the political parties need to wake up from their slumber and come to an agreement to identify a way out from the present deadlock. It is the Maoists who must go to appease all the parties outside the government by paving the way for a national consensus government. In this context, it may be worthwhile mentioning that the lack of consensus can be the obstacle for the full-budget from coming, and that will not be good for the ailing economy. The delay in coming to consensus has to be ended at the earliest.
The consumers in the country are easy victims because the laws are not being enforced to the required extent to correct the irregularities in the market. All this is happening because of the black-marketing forces seem have the final say and they escape any punishment applicable by law. This is unfortunate despite the government repeatedly making commitments to protect the consumers from the evils of black-marketing and adulteration among others. Even the forum for the protection of the rights of the consumers is too weak to fulfil its mission. And, in the meanwhile, the consumers remain the biggest sufferers in the free market economy, which should have been of benefit to them.
The biggest hurdle is posed by the cartels of different kinds. The government has so far been unable to break their back, that is to enforce the provisions of the various laws against them. The half-hearted attempts of the government offices concerned cannot do anything to protect consumer rights. Seriousness has to be there, and leniency for the defaulters cannot be justified. Therefore, there has now been much focus on Consumer Activism.