Looking ahead

The major political parties started making a head count even before Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had finished with his address to the nation on Monday announcing that he was resigning from his post. In fact, it was something that had to happen with the gathering storm that the army chief issue had unleashed. It was just a day after the prime minister had relieved CoAS Rookmangud Katawal from his office, but was reinstated by the president. The pressure had been building because of PM Dahal’s failure in his bid for national consensus. With the prime minister resigning, the political scramble for the formation of a new government began in earnest. Jockeying in the forefront are mainly the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML who rank second and third as regards their strength in the parliament. There is no clear cut path that the parties will be taking, because UCPN-Maoist remains the largest single party in the House. This has fuelled the necessity to go for a national government as in the run up to the CA polls.

The national government in focus would have to include the Maoists as that will be according to the spirit of consensus that has been mooted as the bulwark of national politics since the successful conclusion of the Jana Andolan II. From the beginning, post-12-point agreement, national consensus had been given due recognition. Yet, obstacles were always present with the unilateral moves made by the Maoist-led government from time to time. The latest in the series became the army chief row. The resignation of the prime minister created the right space for the other parties to step in on condition that they fulfilled the minimum required MPs to back them. As a 300 plus backing will not be easy to muster, this has focused some attention on the idea of a national government that can fully represent the people as is the case with the CA.

This has to be the urgent step as the parties have been called to form a government by Saturday. But the task of forming a new government will have to overcome numerous hurdles, including the obstruction of the House proceedings by the Maoist MPs. The Maoists have a clear instruction on disturbing the meetings till their demand for revoking the presidential action materialises. This is a situation where national consensus will prove elusive as every party is guided with its own interests somewhat overshadowing the national interests that hover around the logical conclusion of the peace process and putting stress on the restructuring of the state. The present situation requires a broad-based government so that its future steps will receive the continual support of all. What, however, is disconcerting is that in all this political sport the constitution drafting process has been afflicted with one delay after another. That is the greatest setback, and the need is for a stable government which has to be one with consensual character so that it can function smoothly. This is also necessary to avoid any unilateral decision during its tenure. With these in focus, the government that will be formed will have to be prepared to face more serious challenges in the time to come.