End pretenses
If the “upbeat” mood of the major party leaders
are to be believed, then the end of the long
simmering status quo might be seen within the
next few days, or rather after the festivity of Dashain concludes. In fact, the top leaders seem to have
made use of the Dashain recess to pore over the contentious issue that has been dogging all along, leaving the constitution writing task in an almost suspended state. It must be remembered that the House has to get into the act to fulfill many a obligations,
including the approval for the budget for 2009/10. In all this melee for “civilian supremacy”, the real
citizens were forgotten, the only highlight was the UCPN (M) with its rigid stance. However, the
beginning of the festival of Vijaya Dashami seemed to galvanise the octogenarian Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala to assert that a solution was possible to the impasse that has been haunting the political activities in the country. In fact, it seemed like god sent that even the UCPN (Maoist) Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal was impressed with the sincerity of Koirala regarding the strategies to be worked out to resolve the demands that would be crucial in the House resuming its usual business, which has been obstructed in general since the
new government was formed, except for a few
days for the presentation of the policies and programmes and the fiscal budget for 2009/10.
The events of the past few months are enough to suggest how fragile the relations between the three major parties are. It has come as a jolt that the three parties that harped on the usual theme of consensus suddenly came to split apart, with UML leading the government with the strong support of NC and the UCPN(M) as the main opposition trying to flex its muscles. Despite all the talks of chalking out a compromise in the past, no such deal has emerged in all this time. The whole episode has hung on the fine thread of the Maoist demand for parliamentary debate on the President’s move regarding the then CoAS Rookmangud Katawal. After all that flurry of disruptive activities by UCPN (M) cadres in the past weeks, its leadership seems to have come to the conclusion that the further the political stalemate advances it would not be a winner in the end. That has made it go for “maximum flexibility” the meaning of which is more understood by them than by others. Yet, there is an undercurrent to get the issue resolved at the earliest by getting their demand fulfilled in a more indirect manner like the “common proposal” it is mooting with the possible support of the ruling parties CPN (UML) and NC.
The intensified pace of meeting between the
major party stalwarts is sending the vibes of an
amicable solution to materialise within the shortest time possible. The message that a layperson can
read between the lines is that if the UML, NC and UCPN (M) make a point jointly then there can be
no delay in its implementation. The positive
note that is being sounded during this Dashain
festivities certainly augurs well for the consensus part that has reverberated all through but had
not been able to strike the cherished chord. Now,
this may be it.

Begging to be heard
Beggars can be found in almost all places frequented by passers-by. Their lot is indeed pitiable, and it is up to the society to look after their welfare and upkeep. Many of the beggars are physically and mentally challenged who have been abandoned by their near and dear ones to live in the streets. They often have to go hungry and also lack proper shelter. Since most of them are without a source of income they have no alternative other than to beg in the streets. The government and NGOs supposed to be looking after the welfare of such people should focus on their basic needs. There are no programmes as such that caters to the specific needs of the beggars. It is high time there were such as providing them with free meals and also decent accommodation should the need arise.
In the absence of organizations that specifically look into the needs of the beggars such ought to be set up. The harsh way in which society treats the beggars is very inhumane. They deserve a better deal as the beggars are in the profession out of compulsion as the last resort for earning for their livelihood, and all should take up their cause with sympathy.