JUN 14 -
Following recent attempts at political mobilisation by the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, RPP-N and other parties in the opposition, it appears that the Maoists
are now gearing up for the same. They have not yet held mass meetings or demonstrations. But party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is currently busy trying to consolidate his grip over the party and to revive some of its moribund organs. In a situation where no agreement with the other parties is imminent and where the government has many constraints upon it, Dahal seems keen to ensure that the party remains firm and united. With this in mind, he has been reaching out to his opponents within the party—the faction led by Mohan Baidya. In addition, he has also revived the Maoist trade union led by his loyalist Salikram Jamarkattel. The body had been dissolved following major factional disputes over a year ago.
All these signs indicate that Nepali politics is heading for a period when the state will further weaken. Even though the Maoists are in government, it is difficult for them to push their agenda through it, due to the lack of a legislature. Because of this the Maoists and other parties are intent on increasing their strength by bypassing the state. In their attempt to reach out to the population and garner support, the parties are very likely to engage in radical rhetoric. Dahal could become more beholden to the party hardliners and be forced to adopt a more “revolutionary” line. The other parties will then respond with belligerent positions of their own. Madhesi and Janajati groups, their agenda thwarted by the dissolution of the CA, will also almost certainly go out to their communities and try to incite them against the state.
These are ominous signs. With the country in crisis and total uncertainty regarding its future political direction, this is the time when the politics of consensus and agreement is most necessary. It may take a longer period of time to agree on whether to hold elections or reinstate the dissolved CA, or how to bring together a national unity government. But however difficult, it is necessary for the parties to reach agreement on legislation that has to be passed through ordinance, for a lot is at stake. The budget is scheduled to be passed now and if cross-party discussions do not begin immediately, this will lead to a paralysis across the country. Even if the parties decide to postpone negotiations over the more difficult issues, they should come together on issues of immediate important such as these. It is in their common interest to pass the budget on schedule and on other legislation necessary to keep the state functioning.
Posted on: 2012-06-14 08:28