The state mourning period over for late prime minister and President of Nepali Congress Girija Prasad Koirala, the nation seems to be slowly reverting to its normal mode of life. It is true that the loss of the great and foremost leader has been the most talked about in every quarter with anxiety reigning in the political sphere. The basis for such is not unfounded as a void has been created. But, the sad thoughts apart, it is time for business as usual. The Constituent Assembly passed a “condolence proposal” which was fitting as late Koirala had been its august member. However, the mention of the CA itself brings to mind the unfinished tasks of national importance with the completion of the statute drafting task remaining the foremost. How things will be in the days to come cannot be predicted at the moment. In all this, it remains to be seen what steps the Nepali Congress (NC) will take to fill the space where Koirala had been prior to his death. It is a Herculean task but has to be achieved, and NC has to rise to the occasion in its obligation to all the democracy-loving people. It goes without saying that it is time for collective leadership without any NC leader trying to supersede the others within the party. The united approach should be adhered to till the general convention that will decide on the top NC posts.
The precedence that late Koirala followed in getting along with the UML and the UCPN (M) ought to be a page from experience. Sidelining the Maoists will not achieve results as they hold the position of the largest single party in the House. Over and above, the completion of the drafting and promulgation of the constitution will require the wholehearted support of the Maoists. The dealing with the UCPN (M) will require all the intricacies from the NC fold. In the meanwhile, the Maoists
have been rather shy for words after Koirala passed away, but the momentary calm could be a
precursor of the unpredictable. It has to do more
with the usual Maoist demand for the formation
of a unity government, but under their leadership. With just two months remaining for the statute promulgation date, a change of guard cannot be
justified on any ground. It will be worth watching how the NC leadership galvanises into action after the 13-day mourning period.
The beneath-the-surface rumblings have been there with the various party leaders meeting each other in the backdrop of Koirala’s demise last Saturday. It may be worth thinking that the pleasantries exchanged among the leaders in the past few days could be a basis when they stand on their own turf. For the moment, the High Level Political Mechanism (HLPM) seems to have caught the attention with the UCPN (M) claiming it should get the top post that had been occupied earlier by late Koirala. NC wants to lead the mechanism. The signs of a sort of tussle have begun for a body that has no constitutional sanction nor are its recommendations directives to the government. However, as the day begins after Koirala’s departure, there will be the need for flexibility, patience, tolerance and manoeuvrability from all the political actors to achieve the set results.
Agitating students, resident doctors, professors and nurses of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) called for a closure of the hospital citing that questions for the Doctor of Medicine (DoM) and Masters of Surgery (MS) entrance exams were leaked. They accuse the Dean and some other university officials of taking a “hefty bribe” ,and they want them to resign and the exams retaken. TUTH is one of the biggest hospitals in the country and every day around 1300 patients seek treatment there. Now that the strikers have decided to halt hospital
services, including the emergency services, patients are in a quandary. This is especially hard on
those who cannot afford expensive treatment in private hospitals. The agitation has been going on for some time now and many patients are being deprived of urgently needed services of some of the best doctors in the country.
An amicable settlement should be reached between the parties at loggerhead, and it is regrettable that they are not sitting down for talks to end the deadlock. Moreover, whatever may be the reason halting services at hospitals should not be taken recourse to to fulfill demands.