Good sense

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, towards the evening of his life and ahead of his retirement from politics (he has announced he will take rest after the election to the Constituent Assembly) appears to be a considerably different man, in his certain

approaches to politics, from what he used to be, till just a few years ago. His view of the country’s difficult political transition and of how to take good care of it is rightly formed, as far as he has emphasised the necessity of the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) to stay together well beyond the CA polls. Since the historic people’s movement of April 2006, he has spoken of this on more than one occasion. Whatever factors may have led to this change of heart in him, but its message is welcome because the need for a spirit of cooperation between the SPA partners will not die away with the CA election or the first general election after that. The consolidation process for what has been created is equally important, and it will take a few years. Also in the light of past hijackings of democracy in the country, the task of guarding against any deadly attack on the achievements of the Nepali people’s hard and long struggle for democracy and justice cannot be underestimated.

When releasing the election manifesto of the Nepali Congress the other day, Koirala spoke of

a post-election coalition government, a point taken care of in the Interim Constitution. But what has not been provided for in it is his sentiment, expressed again on Saturday in his interaction with cultural and media figures, that the alliance should continue in its present form for another ten years. This he has urged because he thinks the critical period will not be over for the country much sooner. On Saturday, he stressed that even if the Nepali Congress won most seats it would form a coalition government, and would expect other parties to do the same too. At the same time, his apprehensions about the alliance coming unstuck sooner should receive the most serious attention of the top leaders of the constituent parties.

Given the unpleasant war of words now going on between top leaders of some of the parties, not the least between those of the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist, things might take a worse turn in days to come if good sense does not prevail.

Those who want to change the present course of Nepali politics will be most likely to take advantage of any SPA rift. These forces have been trying the utmost, before and after Jana Andolan II, to derail the seven-party alliance. The SPA constituents have already made common commitments on some of the issues of the most fundamental importance to the country, such as republicanism, federalism and state restructuring, and they are bound by these pledges. So, any of the SPA partners winning an absolute majority cannot change

these things. Their emphasis should have been rather on securing the presence of all the parties in the Constituent Assembly, of the major ones in respectable numerical strength. On the contrary, their discord might endanger the hard-won gains of the people. And Koirala may have departed from the political scene by then.