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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2040

No End To Turmoil In Nepal

By RC Saldi - Syndicate Features

28th May is a significant day in the history of Nepal, as the country was declared a Federal Democratic Republic on this day in 2008, abolishing the 273- year- old Monarchy, and vesting all executive powers in the Prime Minister. The country’s Parliament was reinstated on May 18, 2006 after a popular Jan Andolan, ending the second spell of direct rule by King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah who continued as Constitutional Head till he was deposed.

Nepal had witnessed frequent change of Heads of Government; as many as 14 Prime Ministers changed between 1990 and 2008. The trend continued even after the country became a Federal Democratic Republic. Seven Prime Ministers occupied the highest executive post since then; the present incumbent K. P. Sharma Oli is the eighth Premier in as many years. His Communist Party of Nepal -Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN -UML) led government came to office in Oct 2015 with the backing of the Maoists - the Unified Communist Party of Nepal –Maoist. If we begin the count from 1990, when democracy was restored replacing Panchayati Raj, Nepal has seen as many as 22 heads of state.

Political leaders of all hues in Nepal continue to indulge in brinkmanship politics. In their quest and lust for power, larger interests of the country take a back seat. So are peace and development, which the landlocked country badly needs in the wake of a devastating earthquake.

The tenure of the present Nepalese Parliament ends in less than 20 months, now on 21st January, 2018. It means the Oli government has the onerous task of implementing the Constitution promulgated on 20th September last year. It also will have to hold elections to local bodies and municipalities elections. And of course, complete the peace process.

The first week of May saw the Oli government literally tottering on the brink. It was because the Maoist supremo, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prachanda had threatened to pull out of the ruling coalition. He entered into negotiations with the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) in full public view. Some back channel tête-à-tête with whoever mattered to the Maoists and UML, saw Prachanda roll back his threat at the last minute on 4th May. People of Nepal heaved a sigh of relief. But it came at a huge cost to the image of Oli government.
A fall-out of Prachanda- Oli spat was further souring of ties between India and Nepal. Oli and his party blamed India for their troubles and accused New Delhi of trying to destabilize a democratic government - a charge South Block denied swiftly.

Yet, in a display of his pique, Prime Minister Oli cancelled the scheduled visit of President Vidya Devi Bhandari to India and recalled Ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay from Delhi. The envoy was a Nepali Congress appointee. New Delhi remarked: “three main political parties in Nepal cannot get their act together and find it easy to blame India”.

Many analysts believe that Prachanda buckled under Chinese pressure as Beijing felt that New Delhi was turning too proactive in Nepal, jeopardizing its interests. It resulted in a new 9-point deal between Prachanda and Oli. The details are a Sudoku. In fact, the deal has not been made public. So it is shrouded in mystery though it was reached on 4th May.

The respite for the Oli government appears to be running out. And Nepal is heading for a political storm. Because, Prachanda is again saying he will form a National Government under gentleman agreement after Parliament approved the Budget..

“There is no option but to form a consensus government for effective implementation of the Constitution”, Prachanda told a press meet at Bharatpur in Chitwan district. Going by Prachanda-speak, the CPN – UML leadership has agreed to hand over the reins to him. But from either the UML leadership or Oli camp, there is no word. Neither the Nepali Congress nor the United Democratic Madeshi Front (UDMF) have dropped any hint about their thinking. Prachanda’s flip-flops have not earned for him any brownie points either.

Viewed against this back drop, the planned agitation by the Madeshi Front and the newly constituted 27- party Sanghiya Samajwadi Forum (SSF) of Madeshi parties, Tharus, Janjatis, and Minorities will lead to more flux on the political scene. Meeting on 27th May in Kathmandu, the Sanghiya Forum decided to step up their agitation across the country by holding relay hunger strike to press for implementation of their 11 point charter. Amendments to the Constitution to redraw the boundaries of provinces and population based representation in the provinces and federal government are among their key demands.

The political atmosphere in Nepal is likely to hot up in June as the Government would seek approval of Budget in Parliament and the threat by the Madeshi leaders to step up their agitation is likely to materialize. The government appears to be cornering Prachanda by accelerating the pace of internal strife time cases against him that date to the period 1996 to 2005.

On his part, Prachanda may pressurize Oli to step down in his favour as per the 9-point agreement. Without his party, UCPN (Maoist) vote, the government cannot get the Budget passed as it does not have the requisite number of members on its side.

The agitating UDMF and the government have not held talks since February 18, the day the government announced formation of a political mechanism to address the concerns of the agitating parties.

Madeshi leaders also would have to put their house in order first as different voices on their demands would not augur well for them or for the people of Madesh, the Terai region bordering India.

The unfolding events will be pregnant with multiple possibilities. Interesting to watch will be the role of the main opposition in Parliament Nepali Congress, the 7-party United Democratic Madeshi Front and, the 27 -party Sanghiya Gathbandhan, Sanghiya Socialist Front would also be crucial for any new dispensation to come to power in Nepal.

By RC Saldi - Syndicate Features

28th May is a significant day in the history of Nepal, as the country was declared a Federal Democratic Republic on this day in 2008, abolishing the 273- year- old Monarchy, and vesting all executive powers in the Prime Minister. The country’s Parliament was reinstated on May 18, 2006 after a popular Jan Andolan, ending the second spell of direct rule by King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah who continued as Constitutional Head till he was deposed.

Nepal had witnessed frequent change of Heads of Government; as many as 14 Prime Ministers changed between 1990 and 2008. The trend continued even after the country became a Federal Democratic Republic. Seven Prime Ministers occupied the highest executive post since then; the present incumbent K. P. Sharma Oli is the eighth Premier in as many years. His Communist Party of Nepal -Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN -UML) led government came to office in Oct 2015 with the backing of the Maoists - the Unified Communist Party of Nepal –Maoist. If we begin the count from 1990, when democracy was restored replacing Panchayati Raj, Nepal has seen as many as 22 heads of state.

Political leaders of all hues in Nepal continue to indulge in brinkmanship politics. In their quest and lust for power, larger interests of the country take a back seat. So are peace and development, which the landlocked country badly needs in the wake of a devastating earthquake.

The tenure of the present Nepalese Parliament ends in less than 20 months, now on 21st January, 2018. It means the Oli government has the onerous task of implementing the Constitution promulgated on 20th September last year. It also will have to hold elections to local bodies and municipalities elections. And of course, complete the peace process.

The first week of May saw the Oli government literally tottering on the brink. It was because the Maoist supremo, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prachanda had threatened to pull out of the ruling coalition. He entered into negotiations with the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) in full public view. Some back channel tête-à-tête with whoever mattered to the Maoists and UML, saw Prachanda roll back his threat at the last minute on 4th May. People of Nepal heaved a sigh of relief. But it came at a huge cost to the image of Oli government.
A fall-out of Prachanda- Oli spat was further souring of ties between India and Nepal. Oli and his party blamed India for their troubles and accused New Delhi of trying to destabilize a democratic government - a charge South Block denied swiftly.

Yet, in a display of his pique, Prime Minister Oli cancelled the scheduled visit of President Vidya Devi Bhandari to India and recalled Ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay from Delhi. The envoy was a Nepali Congress appointee. New Delhi remarked: “three main political parties in Nepal cannot get their act together and find it easy to blame India”.

Many analysts believe that Prachanda buckled under Chinese pressure as Beijing felt that New Delhi was turning too proactive in Nepal, jeopardizing its interests. It resulted in a new 9-point deal between Prachanda and Oli. The details are a Sudoku. In fact, the deal has not been made public. So it is shrouded in mystery though it was reached on 4th May.

The respite for the Oli government appears to be running out. And Nepal is heading for a political storm. Because, Prachanda is again saying he will form a National Government under gentleman agreement after Parliament approved the Budget..

“There is no option but to form a consensus government for effective implementation of the Constitution”, Prachanda told a press meet at Bharatpur in Chitwan district. Going by Prachanda-speak, the CPN – UML leadership has agreed to hand over the reins to him. But from either the UML leadership or Oli camp, there is no word. Neither the Nepali Congress nor the United Democratic Madeshi Front (UDMF) have dropped any hint about their thinking. Prachanda’s flip-flops have not earned for him any brownie points either.

Viewed against this back drop, the planned agitation by the Madeshi Front and the newly constituted 27- party Sanghiya Samajwadi Forum (SSF) of Madeshi parties, Tharus, Janjatis, and Minorities will lead to more flux on the political scene. Meeting on 27th May in Kathmandu, the Sanghiya Forum decided to step up their agitation across the country by holding relay hunger strike to press for implementation of their 11 point charter. Amendments to the Constitution to redraw the boundaries of provinces and population based representation in the provinces and federal government are among their key demands.

The political atmosphere in Nepal is likely to hot up in June as the Government would seek approval of Budget in Parliament and the threat by the Madeshi leaders to step up their agitation is likely to materialize. The government appears to be cornering Prachanda by accelerating the pace of internal strife time cases against him that date to the period 1996 to 2005.

On his part, Prachanda may pressurize Oli to step down in his favour as per the 9-point agreement. Without his party, UCPN (Maoist) vote, the government cannot get the Budget passed as it does not have the requisite number of members on its side.

The agitating UDMF and the government have not held talks since February 18, the day the government announced formation of a political mechanism to address the concerns of the agitating parties.

Madeshi leaders also would have to put their house in order first as different voices on their demands would not augur well for them or for the people of Madesh, the Terai region bordering India.

The unfolding events will be pregnant with multiple possibilities. Interesting to watch will be the role of the main opposition in Parliament Nepali Congress, the 7-party United Democratic Madeshi Front and, the 27 -party Sanghiya Gathbandhan, Sanghiya Socialist Front would also be crucial for any new dispensation to come to power in Nepal.

- Asian Tribune -

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