Oli has found an ally in the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP), which is yet another political outfit that is ready to take even poison if it fulfills immediate hunger. Otherwise, how could one tie bogey with a person whom it had opposed for its erratic dissolution of the Parliament?

Prime Minister KP Oli has crossed all boundaries of political decorum. The recent reshuffle of the cabinet is a pointer to this direction.

A caretaker government that Oli is heading at the present should simply preside, not govern. Such a government just has legal personality without any political legitimacy because it simply exists under the assumption that a country can never ever be without a government.

The Prime Minister is launching such political misadventures one after another at a time when he is at the receiving end of yet another lusty judicial blow from the Supreme Court like last time for repetitively dissolving the Parliament.

Like a frog that catches the fly despite being half swallowed by a snake, he is still engaging with such political gimmicks that tend to embarrass all alike.

Oli appears to be under the hangover of still leading a two-thirds majority government when he has been dramatically reduced to a minority government now.

People are amazed as such an act was not expected of a politician who had made a name for remaining unmoved even in the time of the border blockade by India that too in the worst of circumstances, immediately after the country was ravaged by a killer earthquake.

It appears that not just for the sake of it had William Shakespeare written, "For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds, lilies that fester smell far worse than the weeds".

The government that announces the polls after dissolving the parliament is known as a caretaker government as that of Oli.

The first caretaker government is said to be that of Winston Churchill in England, following the resignation of ailing Chamberlain, which was formed during the Second World War in 1945, according to veteran political scientist Sir Ivor Jennings.

An all-party government was formed to fight the war under the leadership of Churchill.

Similar is the situation in Nepal at the present, the only difference being a virus war, and not a political one, that the country is up against. As soon as the Supreme Court held Prime Minister Oli responsible for the unconstitutional moves, he should have resigned like Chamberlain.

It would have paved the way for the formation of an all-party government under a leader other than Oli.

Caretaker governments are a global phenomenon.

In Pakistan, several caretaker governments were formed to ensure an impartial election, which they did admiringly well, even if the preceding and following events were rife with the expulsion of popularly elected prime ministers by the President under allegations of nepotism, corruption and deterioration of law and order.

In Bangladesh, non-party governments perform a caretaker role in the time of general elections like that of Supreme Court Justice Khila Raj Regmi in Nepal.

In neighbouring India, the first caretaker government to take office was that of Chaudhary Charan Singh.

He was followed by Chandra Shekhar and then Atal Vihari Vajpeyee. But never did such controversies arise in India. It was primarily because of two reasons. The caretaker prime ministers were very honest unlike Oli.

Secondly, the President ensured that the constitution was followed in letter and spirit unlike Bidhya Devi Bhandari.

Even in Nepal, there is a glowing example of toeing the erring government along the lines of the constitutional norms.

Accordingly, when Man Mohan Adhikari and Madhav Nepal approached King Birendra for the dissolution of the Parliament, the late King did not oppose because then the constitution provided for such action by the reigning government.

He, however, did not allow for the expansion of the cabinet despite the duo's repeated requests, citing the caretaker capacity of the government.

Countries like Britain, Australia and New Zealand have caretaker conventions, which dictate caretaker governance in these countries.

The common denominator of these conventions is that the caretaker government should maintain the policy status quo, avoid senior appointments and building contracts and, above all, it should not use the public service for partisan advantage.

The conventions are moral rather than legal, and the penalties for breaching them are political rather than legal.

Unfortunately, in Nepal, some parties and politicians treat the constitution like chewing gum wrapping paper.

They enjoy the power and dump it in the container.

KP Oli has established himself as an actor par excellence in this regard.

Now, he has found an ally in the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP), which is yet another political outfit that is ready to take even poison if it fulfills immediate hunger.

Otherwise, how could one tie bogey with a person whom it had opposed for its erratic dissolution of the Parliament?

The RJP has virtually set its house on fire to warm itself.

The erring party leaders appear to be heading for an uncertain future.

The glaring precedents are of those politicians who joined the cabinet formed by former King Gyanendra, who also dissolved the Parliament violating the constitution of 1990.

They appear to have faded into oblivion as they are hardly heard or seen in public.

A person of the stature of Mahanta Thakur, who dedicated his whole life to value- based politics, should not otherwise have surrendered for petty interests at a time when the constitution itself is in the doldrums following the unconstitutional acts of Oli one after another.

The need of the hour is to ensure continuity of the constitution and not fulfillment of the political sundries.

But the Prime Minister and his cohort are bent on violating the constitution by hook or by crook.

They seem to be intoxicated by state power.

It reminds one of a number by Voice Emperor Narayan Gopal, which goes:" Do not take me as a caretaker, at a time when I have been a monster, do not you come alone, when I am intoxicatingly down".

A version of this article appears in the print on June 9, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.