Congress should sit in the opposition

In absence of loyalty and morality, political leaders become power-mongers. An ineffectual

‘inter-party consensus’ to form the long-awaited government mirrors vagueness in our political affairs. Political pundits speculate that President Yadav’s open invitation to the parties for a majority government under Article 38 (2) of the constitution and election of Prime Minister by simple majority has handed the caretaker PM Girija Prasad Koirala a

‘constitutional recipe’ to cook up a non-Maoist government.

If the former NC man’s ‘loyalty’ holds the key to that question, then the answer is an unequivocal yes. Yadav, more companionable than a revolutionary thinker, shares a good rapport with top NC, UML and MJF leaders. But he is also someone christened by Koirala during presidential polls and so remains loyal to the old man. There is a buzz about Koirala setting up to exercise executive power. If this is what the Congress is up to, one can imagine why the steroid-supported Girijababu is repeatedly failing to locate a meeting point on the subject of portfolio when he is ready to accept Maoist leadership in the government.

However, one may not disregard the fact that our President is executing a bold ‘constitutional statesmanship’ to formulate a national unity government. But political commentators say the ping pong of Baluwatar-Shital Niwas politics is making it impossible for the largest party to pilot and outline the design of government formation. It is puzzling why the Congress is so ‘pigheaded’ on defence ministry office. Is this an old Koirala trick to tame Maoist paramilitary structures? The key to this question lies in the spirit and fortitude of the defence ministry that deals with an establishment of 90,000 professionally-trained soldiers. The Congress distrusts the Maoists, claiming that in the foreseeable future the infiltration of politically indoctrinated Maoist combatants will certainly convert the national army into a

‘political force’ and strengthen multi-polarity within the institution.

On the other hand, Maoists perceive the defense department as a platform for group-wise entry of their combatants into the national army. Can’t the Maoists be trusted with this job? Or is it that Congress desires to be a ‘military watchdog’ in both the government and the CA? These questions must be posed before CA. Moreover, political pundits worry that the level of distrust between the top two parties might contribute to loss of faith in the Comprehensive Peace Accord and in the constitution-making process. In its quest for power, NC should not ignore the people’s mandate and as the second largest party in the CA must sit in the opposition to maintain its pride.

The NC should not depend on the UML and Madhesi blocs. Instead, it should take its own stance as a powerful watchdog in CA and shout down every wrong move of the Maoists. The party of gods, it seems, does not know what it stands for. It is time for NC to accept growing anti-incumbency feeling and develop into a viable opposition and not a ‘coalition-cobbler’. NC problems should not be offset by the President’s jittery conscience. The Kangresis should understand that it is in their best interest to follow a democratic path. But will the President be able to balance the equation between democracy and political equilibrium?