Nasty turn

It cannot be called a full circle for certain, but Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, through a unilateral UCPN-Maoist decision, has officially given the dismissal letter to CoAS Rookmangud Katawal. The whole affair has been mired in controversy with the Maoists stubbornly sticking to their guns, and the President requesting the government to review its decision as it is unconstitutional. It seems that

the Maoists' plan of coming to this particular decision did not materialise through national consensus, the much mooted plank that was so highly highlighted in their commitment. The Maoist behavior in the recent past indicates their authoritarian upbringing, and an inability to work with others. Unilateral decisions are totalitarian in nature, especially when the culture of consensus is the central pillar of the Interim Constitution. Therefore, the whole episode, although it has revolved around the Nepali Army, points to a much bigger issue-the behavioral and cultural orientation of the Maoists.

The developments cannot be said to be fruitful in the present circumstances that the country is going through. When national consensus had to be the key factor in reaching any decision, the unilateral move has irked all. That the UML has pulled out of the government with it deciding to recall its ministers is plain evidence that the Maoists do not believe in working with the other parties when it comes to such important decisions. In fact, the UCPN-Maoist has its own method of running the government as seen through this particular exercise. In the transitional phase, a one party decision cannot be the right approach. The coalition partners too have to give it the backing which did not happen in this case. It is unfortunate that the events took such a nasty turn, when all the parties and even the President had called upon the Maoists to consult the other political parties and try to reach a consensus.

A worrying trend is the process of political polarization in the country, and the growing level of mistrust between the Maoists and other major political parties. It will be more difficult to accomplish the three major elements of the peace process: integration of Maoist combatants in the society, restructuring the state, and most importantly writing the new constitution now that the relationship between the major political parties has soured.

The Maoist-led government has taken a decision and the fall out is not going to be pleasant. In doing all this, UCPN-Maoist has forgotten what the government's real tasks are but is more concerned with its own interest, with the common people taking the backseat. Given the current political developments, the CPN-Maoist is likely to lose majority support in the parliament and thus, the legitimacy to rule. The only expectation is that they will learn from the mistakes and act more responsibly in the future. Without team work and a culture of consensus, political parties will not be able to deliver what they've promised to the people.