Precarious game of politics: Choices for the premier
Nepal's democracy has entered into such a phase that it is irrelevant proving and un-proving majority support by the government-of-the-day,
unlike in other democratic states. Universally democracy is intended 'for the people, by the people, of the people', but our democracy is heading towards 'for the parties, by the parties, of the parties' thus minimizing individual values, liberty and rights- which are the basic pillars of any full-fledged democracy.
PM Madhav Kumar Nepal is one of the architects of
the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1990; who shouldered the responsibility of deputy PM and was in charge of defense and foreign ministries
concurrently; who had
taken over the helm of
CPN (UML) as its General Secretary, and guided it through ups-and-downs for a decade. This is itself a manifest of his experience on state affairs. But, these are non-issues in today's political culture, where politics is played not with minds, but with hearts.
The situation of the country has changed a lot in a Federal Republic Nepal since he had taken a smooth sailing a decade and half ago under the dispensation of the parliamentary democracy. His party has also transformed a lot with widening generation gap and ideological, policy and structural shifts. There are formidable factions and lobbies functioning inside his party who are trying tooth-and-nail to pull
him apart in different directions. CPN (UML) lacks charismatic leaders like
the late Man Mohan Adhikari and late Madan Bhandari, who would have held the ranks-and-files intact amidst a growing political threat looming constantly from another communist outfit, UCPN (Maoist)- which is perceived to be enjoying the incognito support of MKN's own party leaders. Fighting enemies is a straight affair, but fighting friends is not so. In spite
of this, it is critically necessary for the MKN government to invade all outposts captured by UCPN (Maoist) during their nine-month rule and disarm their armed combatants to survive in
the battle of politics.
MKN is riding on the saddle of Nepali Congress (NC)- the second largest party with good faith. NC has unparalleled democratic credentials in domestic and international arena compared to CPN (UML)'s. So, MKN has already inherited a risk by forming his government. There is no answer why NC did not claim its prerogative to form the government after the harakiri by the Maoist government. Both, NC's and Maoists' moves are uncommon phenomena in multi-party democracies of the world.
In this precarious situation, MKN was unanimously elected to the highest executive position of the country with a thundering support of 356 Legislature Parliament members. On July 12 his Government's Policies and Programs (GPP) was passed with a majority 305 votes against 251 votes. Lawmakers from the single largest party, the UCNP-Maoist and the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF) led by former foreign minister Upendra Yadav voted against it. In a third political bout, within the same month the MKN's government's annual budget for 2009/2010 was passed unanimously without any challenge from UCPN-Maoist and MJF. Both UCPN-Maoist and MJF who vehemently oppose the constitutionality of the MKN government for public consumption in contradiction have repeatedly been accepting the legitimacy by participating in voting in the Legislature Parliament, nullifying their own claim. As per the ethos and norms of democracy and universally accepted multi-party practices, MKN has repeatedly proven majority support and legitimacy of his government not once, not twice but for the third time within two months period.
The only viable option left to the Prime Minister, who is haunted by his own fellows and oppositions time and again, is to retain the continuum support and confidence of the countrymen expediting people-centric policies, and possibly flex muscles if necessary. It is the only tool that can streamline divergent elements of the 22-parties coalition to head-in one direction, and confront the unruly opposition parties both on the streets and floors of the House. It is an unwarranted challenge posed, but not impossible to overcome. If MKN fails to prevail over the wicked game, nobody knows what would be his next step.
MKN has been facing tremendous pressures from all quarters following his assumption to the Head of the Government. Senior leader of the CPN-UML, MKN was elected the Prime Minister on May 23, following UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" declaration to resign over the army chief row. Many believe that MKN is unmatched within his party for his political sagacity, experience in party organization and handling crucial situations. Still, there is a wide perception that his government would not survive more than a month or two. The MKN government can survive if it is able to manage, integrate and rehabilitate Maoist combatants, and heed the demands of Madhesis prior to the proclamation of the new constitution of Nepal.