No iced tea

The Nepali Congress (NC) has continued its tradition of organising a tea party on Kojagrata Purnima, signaling the end of the Dashain festivities. The first such tea party was started by late BP Koirala with the slogan of reconciliation and friendship over three decades back. The later tea parties have more to do with inter-party confidence and camaraderie building, and also is a set up for informal exchange of views and opinions on the political complexities of the time. Though CPN (UML) was a late starter, it has also been organising such a gathering as it did on Sunday. However, the Saturday tea reception by NC went a step further by seeing an impressive congregation and views of the top leaders of all the parties. NC President Girija Prasad Koirala was conspicuous with his assertion that the consensual move would be readied as per the need of the hour thereby paving the way for the resolution of the simmering political standoff. While the NC and UML are deep into the task of drafting the ground breaking proposal, the UCPN (Maoist) chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal expressed his happiness on the mission taken up with urgency. Of course, some Maoist leaders have not been silent in saying that if consensus eludes their vital demands the country was set for another round of "people's movement". In fact, such inflammatory talks just

go to highlight the propaganda machinery. It also goes against the spirit with which the top leadership of the three major parties UML, NC and UCPN (M) are involved in charting out the path which could bring the whole political process in the right direction.

The commitment has been made by NC president Koirala, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, of UML, and UCPN (M) chief Dahal. And, it is wise to presume that they will do all the best they can to resolve the disputes through consensus, that is without any standoff. When the responsible leaders make any commitment in public glare, it seems reasonable to hope for an amicable solution to the problems that the country is facing. In fact, the past five months have been very disheartening as far as the smooth functioning of the House is concerned, which has a bearing on the way the country moves both politically and economically. The seemingly thawing relationship among the three major parties must be taken in a positive light because it is only the "politics of unity" that can be the panacea in the rather fragile transitional phase that the country is traversing through at the moment. It is worthwhile recalling that the whole historic exercise of the Constituent Assembly polls had been dictated with the mandate of drafting the new constitution and getting the peace process to its destination. But, the inter-party friction has been inordinately harsh on the progress on both the fronts.

The inter-party rivalry could be justified with

the new constitution promulgated, but not for

the time being when the parties have to make a

common front to achieve the goal. In this, all the

parties have to blamed in one way or the other, but the UCPN (M) has a greater share of it because of their focus on party-oriented issues and demands. But, there seems to be some form of agreement on the path to be followed, after all.

Risky way

Now with the Dashain festivities over, we see a lot of people flocking into the capital city after visiting their homes and families outside. Tickets are hard to come by for those travelling by buses as a result passengers are jam packed inside the buses, and the daring even commute on the roof of the buses. This is risky by all accounts and punishable by the law, but the authorities mostly look the other way, and commuters are allowed to travel on top of the buses at their own peril. Fortunately, no grave accidents have been reported so far although passengers are commuting in overcrowded buses. It should be mentioned that there are not enough buses to ferry the passengers during the festive seasons in the country.

However, considering that accidents of serious nature can take place when the buses are carrying more passengers and load than they are supposed to, the authorities should step in and prevent the vehicles from taking more passengers than they can. The transporters usually want to make the most of the opportunity and do not hesitate to take in extra passengers. This should be discouraged and security should be the first and foremost concern.