Impasse Stalls Nepal’s New Government

Starting his job at the office PM Madhav Kumar Nepal came up with rather an optimistic note calling for the politics of consensus and cooperation for the way ahead at this difficult time, yet the terms being clichéd abounding in the contemporary politics of the country. But the alliance already seems to be in snag, as indicated by one or the other instances.

Instances like the dispute arisen in one of the essential coalition partners, the Forum, and the hard time the parties encountered while distributing the power, signifies an infirmity in the coalition of the twenty two parties with their inherently diverse ideological pathways. The displeasure surfaced among the Nepali Congress’ senior leaders over assigning of Sujata by her father and NC president Girija Prasad Koirala to lead the party in government, too signals a probable hitch for the sustainability of the coalition government sooner or later. Further, this event forces us to brood over how effective (or rather autocratic) is the party president Koirala’s decision in the Nepali Congress, as it has the capacity to choke the voice of negation even of the other very influential, senior leaders in the party. All such instances could invite intricacy in the politics of consensus as a whole, moreover the intra-party disputes that could eventually lead to the inter-party one pushing the coalition in trouble. Besides the different ideological positions of the parties, this could be a major reason that the coalition partners could not have sustained their consensus in ruling, in several occasions in the past too. But, let’s hope this won’t happen this time, at least for the period that the new government fulfills the crucial task left unfulfilled by the Maoist-led government.

The task is drafting an entirely democratic, people friendly constitution and concluding the peace process logically, which could only be attained through a joint, altruistic and determined effort of the parties in and out of the government. Still, there are aspects I am bound to specify, at least with an intention that unrewarding and detrimental ways will be mended for good. To point out one of those aspects, the new heads in the government, mainly holding the vital portfolios, seem to have clinched to the politics of appeasement, be it appeasing the internal political partners, alongside the power axes such as security bodies, to sustain the frailly attained bond, or appeasing the international partners.

Such approach could be termed as practically adept and fruitful only if it refrains from the very ideals of politics for power and self-benefit, but solely intended for the good of the nation and its people. But if the politics of appeasement is carried out at the cost of an efficient and pragmatic deliberation over the problem in hand and if decisions or remarks are made in this regard, then it will eventually mean to be unrewarding or even detrimental, for the country and its people with regard to peace, political stability, rule of law and constitution-building which are yet far from been put on a sustainable track. An instance of politics of appeasement is a recent attempt to appease the forces (those opposing the Maoists) by the new Defense Minister, by publicly remarking that the Maoist combatants should not be integrated in Nepal Army at all. Desirably, the statement made by this very responsible position should have been a fair and careful one, intended for a resolution rather than causing needless refutation and controversy.

The minister’s remark also sounded more like a posture of vengeance against the Maoist party as a whole and to some Maoist leaders’ unmerited assertion that the party’s combatants should be abundantly inculcated in the national army. Alongside this, a matter equally needs to be pondered considerately. It is that the political figures acquiring the offices those entail substantial experience and knowledge to handle the sensitive responsibilities associated with such acquisition. While, the sensitive portfolios like the important ministries or other governmental posts are seen to have been ‘distributed’ among the leaders having good plunk in their respective parties, rather than based on their aptitude requisite to handle the respective posts.

This seems to be more palpable in the current government, which rather portrays a feeble structure in itself when it comes to sustainability and strong maneuvering needed to sort out the grave problems facing the nation, notwithstanding the ‘good intent’ of the persons in charge. With the onset of the democratic political practice in the country, Nepalis have been entitled to be engulfed by another reality too. Many houses called ‘governments’ have been built confirming to ‘democratic’ political practice, but sadly no home in the form of a ‘government,’ the one proving to be entirely protective and concerned for the common citizens, could have come to life since a long time. Adequate bricks and cement would easily fulfill the requirement for the physical formation of a house, but building a home is something inherent, guided by an apt thinking, intellect and altruistically caring spirit. The bodily formation of a government is one thing, while being able to toil according to the need and wish of the people is another.

Amid the practice of coalition governments (as no party could have attained a perfect majority), the ‘politics of consensus’ has become a constant wish (if not a reality) among the people in the contemporary politics of the country.

But the aspects that unfortunately seem to be synonymous with the ‘politics of consensus’ is the politics of vengeance, opportunity and blame game.

Despite such deformities in sight, we still have no option but to pray that the parties will come together for the common good of the nation and its people, which is perhaps the most important thing (which indeed seems the only outcome) for the time being, as rectifying the ways can come alongside this major facet.

Despite the deformities in sight, we still hope that the current government will set a new example by making all parties abide by the politics of consensus and cooperation, no matter how clichéd it sounds, because without that the current peace process could have no clue of attaining a success. It’s high time that parties rise well above the deep fissure of distrust, blames and dispute among them, for the cause perceptibly standing as the most important in the current situation, i.e. writing the new constitution that would address the plights and desires of people from all forms of sects and communities and making the peace process a success. Besides, the national harmony and camaraderie is crucial even along the path to achieve these goals, because without them the term ‘sustainable peace’ would remain as elusive as has ever been. Let us see how adeptly the parties will work in this regard, only by which they could prove their mettle for the good of people, democracy and peace.