EDITORIAL: Trouble ahead

The Oli government has survived a major plot to unseat it, but the political crisis is far from over

Out of the blue last week, a meeting of the UCPN-M office bearers decided to form a government, backed by the main opposition Nepali Congress.

Then, UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal rushed to Baluwatar to hand over the decision to Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli.

The prime minister urged Dahal to stick to the government, in the midst of preparations to present its policy and programmes for the fiscal year 2016/17 beginning mid-July.

On the sidelines, the Nepali Congress engaged with the agitating Madhesi leaders to be part of the plot to dislodge the government and join the new one that was in the making.

The Madhesi parties were, of course, delighted at the offer but declined to join the government saying that their demands had long remained ignored, or unmet.

Later in the afternoon that day PM Oli called a meeting of the ruling coalition, to discuss the way forward following developments emanating from the UCPN-M move.

UCPN-M also snubbed a meeting of the coalition partners called by the PM the same afternoon as Dahal was off to Gorkha, returning late. UCPN-M’s Politburo endorsed the decision made by their office bearers the same evening.

After that, Dahal headed for Baluwatar late at night to speak to PM Oli about his intention to form the government.

The PM urged the UCPN-M chair to at least allow the incumbent government to present its policy and programmes, followed by the new fiscal year’s budget on May 28. After which, he would quit.

The two leaders parted after 9.30 saying they would meet again the following morning. The political developments of that day indicated that Dahal had pulled off a coup attempt against Oli.

Whatever had transpired after the Dahal-Oli meeting Wednesday night, Nepal’s perennially fluid politics had made a U-turn by the break of dawn the following day.

Soon it appeared Dahal informed NC boss Sher Bahadur Deuba  of course, to the latter’s dismay that he had backed out and that he was no longer keen to head the government.

The fickleness of Dahal not only riled Deuba, but also created fissures in the relationship between the ruling and the main opposition parties.

By Friday, things came to such a pass that President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s maiden visit to India beginning on May 9  to observe the month long Simhahastha Kumbha Mela at Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh  got cancelled after Thursday evening’s cabinet failed to endorse it, and the government moved to recall Nepal’s ambassador to New Delhi for expressing displeasure over the cancellation of the visit.

The dizzy pace of political developments from Wednesday through Friday have paused for now and the Oli government has survived a major plot to unseat it, but the political crisis is far from over.

In fact, it has only just begun. These turns of events certainly do not augur well for Nepal as the country tries to put behind several decades of political transition.

The country appears to battle even harder after the promulgation of the new constitution.

The political leaders, known for their sheer indulgence in power politics, have dented their image and credibility yet again.

Whatever explanations the political actors have given after these events the common man is hardly willing to take it at their face value.

Action needed

It is indeed very distressing that despite all out efforts cannabis cultivation continues to thrive in this nation.

As a matter of fact, their cultivation is on the rise at various parts of the country, and Kathmandu is no exception.

That this is being allowed to continue shows the nexus between the drug traffickers and even those in position of power.

That the Narcotics Control Bureau and the police confiscated and destroyed 1,300 kilograms of marijuana from the Gorkarna area in the outskirts of the capital shows how this problem is.

Over 1,100 ropanies of land had been used for this purpose. If we cannot prevent such cultivation things might get worse with large swaths of land being used for illegal cultivation.

Those who cultivate marijuana do so as they can make more money.

Action needs to be taken to see to it that this clandestine trade and cultivation is brought to a complete halt. Sometimes, while destroying the crops of cannabis the locals attempt to defy the authorities.

Therefore, the police and others concerned should be informed if they have knowledge about where cannabis is being cultivated.