Dashain dialogue

KATHMANDU: The Dashain break has given much confidence to the political parties, prodding them to form talk teams

in order to avoid an impending governance crisis. Then there is the constitution drafting process.

If the government is unable to get the budget approved by the parliament within 15 days, it will have problems providing salary to the civil servants, bearing government expenditure, and running development projects.

The Prime Minister, therefore, is eager to strike a deal with the Maoists in order to resume the parliament.

The three largest political parties, the NC, the UML and the UCPN-Maoist have been holding dialogue during the Dashain festivities. These talks give the message that the parties are serious about ending the political impasse.

The political deadlock has arisen because of the main opposition-the UCPN-Maoist, which has warned that it will launch a full fledged people’s revolt if its demands are not fulfilled within the first week of October. Maoist Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda has claimed

that they have the support of the United Nations and

that they would topple the present government through revolt in order to establish civilian supremacy.

Chairperson Prachanda has warned that the Maoist party would not allow the budget to be passed by the parliament if its demands are not fulfilled.

Parties have formed talks teams. The ruling CPN-UML has already formed a talks team under the leadership of Standing Committee member Bharat Mohan Adhikari.

Likewise, the Maoist party today formed a team comprising of its vice chairperson Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai and Narayan Kaji Shrestha, politburo members Netra Bikram Chand, Dev Gurung and post Bahadur Bogati.

One major achievement is that the parties are giving more priority to the dialogue now than in the past.

The UCPN-Maoist and the Nepali Congress are still firm on their stand despite many rounds of talks. The meeting of the high-ranking leaders of the UCPN-Maoist on Tuesday clarified that the party would not compromise on their key stance related to the issues of civilian supremacy and President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav’s controversial move. The meeting concluded that the party was ready to seek consensus, but it would not compromise on its key stance

All sides are now stressing the need to find a solution to the protracted political deadlock in order to adopt a new constitution by May 28, 2010 and conclude the peace process. However, it seems very difficult to find an all-acceptable solution.

Leaders are mainly talking about two options: the first option being a common consensus Sankalpa Prastav that addresses the Maoist demand for civilian supremacy, and the President’s May 3 move; and the second option

being the amendment of the interim constitution to clarify the roles and rights of a ceremonial president. The CPN-UML and the Maoist are flexible about these options. The NC is yet to give in to these propositions.

Nepali Congress leaders are repeatedly saying that the President’s move cannot be discussed in the parliament. The NC, furthermore, does not also want any amendement to the interim constitution regarding the rights of the President. Despite the differences, top leaders are beginning to agree on one thing-that the nation cannot move ahead with a politics of consensus. It may already be too late to forge a consensus to save the nation from impending political crisis.

In his message to the nation, Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala expressed serious concern over the sorry state of the nation and urged all to pull the country out from a quagmire and help herald peace and prosperity in the nation.

Koirala’s message indicates that the nation is in a critical situation. Koirala states: “It is disheartening that clouds of uncertainty are looming large on the political horizon. There have been attempts to hijack the achievements of the people’s movement. But it will only push the nation into anarchy and help all these disruptive forces to fish in the troubled water.” Koirala also insisted on the need for a high-level political mechanism to resolve the current crisis. The idea of a mechanism is yet to be translated into reality. The task force, which has been assigned the task of conceptualizing the mechanism, has also remained passive, and has not produced any result.