New Government And Ray Of Hope

Kushal Pokharel

The eight month long tenure of one of the most unpopular governments in the history has finally come to an end. Mired in the controversies to corruption of various sorts, the outgoing Deuba government has left a negative impression in the public mind even though the successful conduction of the three tier – local, province and central elections took place under Deuba’s premiership. This is significant not because the country is getting another person in the coveted seat but more importantly due to the fact that the new Prime Minister will be the first PM with relatively a longer tenure to assume the office than the former PMs and work towards the full implementation of his government policies and programmes.
Under Article 76 (2) of the new constitution, K.P. Sharma Oli has been appointed as the 41st PM of Nepal as the common candidate of the left alliance. With this, he has bagged the PM’s chair for the second time. Known for his aggressive instincts and frank nature, Mr. Oli has some serious tasks ahead to manage as the head of the government to earn credit for his work. Also popular in selling big dreams and hopes to the public in the past, Oli has a reputation of an uncompromising leader for protecting national interests.
It would be interesting to revisit his first term before discussing how things will unfold in the current term. When India imposed a serious blockade on Nepal expressing its dissatisfaction over the incorporation of Madhes issues in the new constitution, Oli stood as a firm leader vehemently criticising the Indian government for its inhuman decision. In a rare incident, Nepal openly criticised his southern neighbour for its demeaning policy of blockade. Obstructions in the basic essential supplies like food and medicine was considered as an irresponsible behaviour- a situation equivalent to war period. From this point of time, Oli has left an impression of a true nationalist leader among the public. With the public approval of his party in the recent elections, Oli seems to have reaped the seed of the nationalist sentiment in coming to the current state of becoming the most powerful leader in the contemporary political scene.
Keeping the promises of prosperity would not be easy for the new PM. He will have to make some ground-breaking decisions in the history of our governance system to make unprecedented achievements in the path of economic development and prosperity. The beginning point would be to declare an implementable short term program or package to address the everyday life concerns of people- quality assurance of food and vegetables products, checking inflation in price of goods and services, management of public transport, speedy implementation of post-earthquake reconstruction package among others could be incorporated in the short term programs. In addition to this, the medium and long term government action plans should also be formulated in consultations with the thematic experts related to various sectors of development- health, education, communication, transportation etc.
In the new federal setup, the role of the central government also needs to be revisited. As per the constitution, the national executive will look into very important matters on economic development and financial planning, national security and foreign policies. Thus, concentration on key sectors of national significance instead of making fragmented efforts to boost development will play a vital role in shaping the development trajectory of the nation. In this light, the new government needs to act as a facilitator for the provincial and the local government to function effectively.
Opportunities lie ahead of the Oli government to institutionalise democratic practices and rule of law ending impunity and indiscipline. Contrary to the past, the government now enjoys a clear mandate to execute its task without any hurdles. Even the constitution has guaranteed a 2 year term for the new PM as it provisions a system of not lodging a vote of no confidence for at least two years.
Backed up by the Maoist Chairman Prachanda, Mr. Oli can rely on the strength of the left alliance to work wholeheartedly for changing the face of the nation. While it is learnt that there has been an agreement of the handing over of the premiership to Mr. Dahal after certain period of time, there are less chances of the politics being unstable since the two parties are integrating into a single powerful communist force in the country. Amid this scenario, the new government is fortunate enough to enjoy a secured tenure and implement its policies.
Hoping for the new government to bring some tangible relief measures to the public would not be unwise at this point of time now. Reminiscing the speeches of Mr. Oli before the elections where he has repeatedly expressed his commitment to eradicate poverty from this country by transforming the lives of the rural poor, one can be cautiously optimistic about better days ahead for the people and the nation. Provided Oli and his ministers are ready to change, things will be better.

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