The sudden resignation by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal from his post may have taken many observers by surprise. Yet, if the backdrop is analysed, this had to happen because the mandate for the Maoist-led coalition government to continue no longer held legitimacy. With the rapid change in the political permutation and combination setting in recent days, it had been rather difficult to predict the moves that each political party,
within and outside the government, had up its sleeve. Prime Minister Dahal or rather the UCPN-Maoist had been quite adamant on the removal of CoAS Rookmangud Katawal from his post, and that did take place despite the general view not in its favour. The lack of national consensus has been evident in the prime minister failing to muster the support even of his coalition partners. And, on top of it, the president stepped in for CoAS Katawal to continue after he had been removed by the government. It is a move that merits attention as it has raised a serious debate as regards the role of the president in the overall scheme of the state structure.
With the breakdown of the old order, the need is for a new political alignment to emerge so that the possibility of conflict being at the centre stage of national affairs could be avoided. This is all the more essential as the country is in the transitional phase, a very sensitive stage. It calls for not only the peace mechanisms to be set up, but also for greater sensitivity among the political parties as the focus is always on the competitive aspect. It all can be resolved through the medium of national consensus which has been lacking, particularly in the recent past. However, for national consensus to materialize the stakeholders ought to ready for making sacrifices, and not merely be guided by petty partisan interests. This can only be the base for achieving the goal of integration, constitution drafting and state restructuring. What should now come to focus is greater maturity and wisdom of the parties while charting the path ahead.
The army chief issue has highlighted the brittle ground that the country is treading on. The Maoists had been rather obsessed with dismissing the CoAS and making a national issue of something that was, in fact, a part of the day-to-day affair of any government. And, they failed because of misguided notions. However, it brought to light the uneasy civil-military relations that have been in limelight now. There has to be clear definition and understanding of that relation so that no tussle like the one witnessed in the past weeks would rear its head again in the future. The Maoists realised the danger zone they were venturing into by unilaterally making the decision to dismiss the CoAS. A price has to be paid for obstinacy, and the UCPN-Maoist is getting its due. The change of guards had to come, but it has been sooner than expected. The failures of the Maoist-led coalition government are too many to enumerate. Yet, the times ahead are going to be challenging with the peace process hitting snags every now and then. The constitution drafting too has not been able to pick up pace to meet the timeframe fixed in the beginning.