The CMP will continue to remain effective as long as the ruling coalition partners stand united till the next election

The ruling coalition partners on Sunday unveiled a common minimum programme (CMP), one month after the formation of the government, to, what they said, run the government smoothly until the next general election. Although the CMP has talked about resolving the Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulek region, which were included in the country's map following its endorsement by the federal parliament last year, through diplomatic means with India, it has remained silent on the issue of the US-funded MCC (Millennium Challenge Corporation) that has recently generated controversy over its intention. It has also talked about reviewing the treaties that are not in favour of national interest. Insiders within the coalition said they could not include the MCC in the CMP due to differences within the collation as the CPN-Maoist Centre and the Madhav Kumar Nepal faction of the CPN-UML, which also voted for Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba as Prime Minister during the vote of confidence, were averse to it. The CMP has stressed on strengthening the border outposts to protect the borders and control cross-border smuggling and crimes.

In what seems to be a retaliatory tactic against the main opposition, the coalition partners have also vowed to probe the alleged irregularities in the procurement of health equipment by the KP Oli-led government last year. Some of the ministers were accused of indulging in irregularities while purchasing test kits for the coronavirus. The CMP has stated that the government will vaccinate one-third of the total population by mid-October and all by mid-April next year. It has also expressed its commitment to make amendments to the constitution on the basis of political consensus.

But it did not say what Articles of the constitution will be amended. An amendment to the constitution is one of the major demands of the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP)., which also had reached an agreement to this effect with the erstwhile government.

However, the coalition partners could not reach an agreement on the issue of forming a high-level political mechanism to guide the government's day-today works. It was, in fact, proposed by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairman of the CPN-Maoist Centre, who wanted to chair the mechanism. But PM Deuba was against the idea, insisting that it could go against the constitution. The CMP has also kept mum on bringing the local levels under the provinces, a key demand of the JSP. The constitution needs to be amended should the coalition partners want to bring the local level under the jurisdiction of the provinces.

It has, however, talked about completing the remaining tasks of the peace process and making public the report by the Girish Chandra Lal Commission, which had investigated the alleged atrocities committed by the state side during the Madhes movement before and after the promulgation of the constitution. The CMP will continue to remain effective as long as the coalition partners stand united. However, the inability of PM Deuba to expand his cabinet even a month after his appointment shows that it is not going to be smooth sailing for the government.

Can we ever improve?

The Tokyo Olympics 2020, held in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, came to a close on Sunday, and its medal tally has put a big question mark over the status of sports in Nepal and South Asia as a whole. Why is it that the South Asian countries fare so badly in international sports events, with the exception of cricket? India was the only country in the region that was able to bag some medals, that too, just one gold as against 38 for China with a similar population.

As for Nepal, all participants crashed out in the very first rounds of the games, although not much was expected from them by the Nepalis.

Sports is a strong generator of nationalism and patriotism, and it is not without reason that socialist countries put in so much effort and money to groom their players and athletes. There is definitely something wrong in the way our sportsmen are selected and trained, otherwise how do you explain medal wins by countries like Fiji, Uganda, Bermuda and Mongolia? As with all sectors, sports bodies in Nepal are heavily politicised. And unless the sports officials are made to answer for the poor performance of participants in international events, the country will continue to be shamed in the future.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 10 2021, of The Himalayan Times.