Even if the CPN-UML does not leave the five-party “anti-regression” alliance, the latter will not be the same again. Disenchanted with Congress president Girija Prasad Koirala, the CPN-UML has called for a review of the alliance, stressing that going together again will be possible only if its and the other parties’ aims and objectives converge. For the past several days, it has not taken part in street protests. It is being wooed by Sher Bahadur Deuba, the new Prime Minister, to join his government, or at least back it from outside, as its support is crucial. Even the RPP appears to be postponing its decision whether to join the Deuba government until the CPN-UML makes up its mind. Even after a week, Deuba has not been able to induct any minister and is reported to have postponed his address to the nation pending the CPN-UML’s decision.

At the same time, Koirala is reported to be trying his utmost to woo back his disenchanted partner. The CPN-UML feels that Koirala has conspired to kill any chance of its leading a government, including allegations that he has been up to it, within the alliance and outside, for example, in diplomatic circles. Koirala had dismissed its proposal that the alliance should at least field a consensus candidate, along with conditions, in response to King Gyanendra’s call for applications for the top job. Without CPN-UML’s backing, Deuba is likely to go the way of its immediate predecessor. Without it, the alliance is also likely to face a serious setback. And Koirala’s reportedly fresh commitment that he would back Nepal for prime minister when the time comes is nothing but a reflection of his compulsion.

A leader of Koirala’s experience and standing is expected to show greater vision than he has thus far. If he had to support Nepal, he could have done so at that fateful meeting, thus avoiding an unpleasant situation. To many, therefore, his role may appear to be obstructionist. Recently, Nepal’s major donors had urged the alliance to name its consensus candidate. It failed to do so, saying that, if need be, it could provide the name within a minute. But when the time came it could not. As it is, the five-party movement may not go very far, without revising its demands to suit the present realities. For example, the Congress’s insistence on the House restoration seems to have few takers. Meanwhile, it has formed a five-member panel to suggest the next course of action the party should take, raising the possibility that it will support a constituent assembly. Whether the country needs constitutional amendments, a referendum or a constituent assembly should naturally come up, but later on. The task at hand is to form an all-party government, initiate talks with the Maoists and hold the parliamentary elections.