Prachanda’s pledges : Actions speak louder

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” has repeatedly stated that all political parties are sailing in the same boat. If the boat sinks, all will drown in the vast sea of challenges that we confront. On the other hand, the CPN-UML accuses the Prime Minister of having forgotten that he is navigating the boat. These two parties are accusing each other of non-cooperation. The third partner, the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF) is time and again threatening to quit the government as the accord signed between the then government and the Madhesi political outfits nearly a year back remains unexecuted. However, if all these three parties pull the government in three different directions, there is strong likelihood that the state would fall into the destructive trap of inertia.

Common people wonder as to how long they will have to wait for the Maoist-led government to act decisively. The Prime Minister on January 7 assured the Constituent Assembly that the agreement reached with the Nepali Congress (NC) will be implemented immediately. Interestingly, he had made the same commitment with the Nepali Congress for

implementing the 9-point demand on January 1, 2009. The Prime Minister had assured the Constituent Assembly on November 11, 2008, that the government would implement

the nine-point agreement signed with the Nepali Congress along with all accords signed previously, including the return of the seized assets to the owners by December 15, and the implementation part of which would be monitored by one of the parliamentary committees.

In case of failure to hand over the property to the rightful owners, the state promised to provide them with due compensation and relief. The Maoist leadership also assured that the paramilitary structure of the Maoist-affiliated Young Communist League (YCL) would be dissolved soon and that YCL would release and return all public and private properties that were under its possession.

Against this backdrop, it should be remembered that an assurance given by a prime minister is quite different from that given by any other leader. The Prime Minister is being criticised for not fulfilling his commitments made, not in closed-door meetings or before any group or community, but before the elected Constituent Assembly that has actually elected him as its leader. He should always be careful while making any commitment as unimplemented commitments would question his credibility for a start and gradually also erode the credibility of the government, which he leads.

No doubt, governace is not an easy task, but there has to be the honest will to lead the nation in the right direction. But the real leader is one who tackles the inter-party and intra-party problems simultaneously. If his endeavours are transparent, people will acknowledge his difficulties, otherwise, he is bound to fail miserably.

Leading the peace process ahead and providing good governance to the country are two sides of the same coin. It is exclusively Prime Minister Prachanda’s main business to see that the peace process moves ahead. The responsibilities of his colleagues and the coalition partners come next to his. When the Prime Minister’s assurances are not transformed into action immediately, his sincerity, ability and credibility will be in doubt. The moment credibility is lost, it will be extremely difficult for him to regain public trust.

Ironically, the reality of non-execution of the pact came with Deputy Prime Minister and the Home minister Bamdev Gautam’s revelation on December 28 while emerging from the cabinet meeting that the nine-point demand of the Nepali Congress endorsed earlier was only meant to facilitate formulation of government policies and the government was yet to instruct the offices concerned at the district level to implement them. This disclosure by the Home

minister made people doubt the government’s intent towards the peace process, which is very much related to and dependent on the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace accord (CPA), the very foundation of the peace process.

People are at a loss to comprehend as to why the government did not take the most serious issues that will have a direct impact on the peace process. Prime Minister Prachanda was definitely not waiting for the crisis to pose a threat to the very peace process and the writing of the new constitution. Non-implementation of the accords only suggests that the Prime Minister hopes to delay constitution drafting process as the Nepali Congress and other members continuously disrupted the Constituent Assembly meetings for several days. All these doubts can be assuaged only when the government takes prompt action to address the grievances of the victims and implement the accords urgently.

Prof Mishra is former election commissioner