No Alternative To National Unity Govt.: Mukti Rijal

The political parties have started to reenact and replay the drama of bargaining over the berth of power after Prime Minister Sushil Koirala observed that he would fulfill the commitment which he had made to step down following the promulgation of the constitution.  The prime minister, in his valedictory speech given at the national legislature the other day, expressed his satisfaction at the achievement of his tenure as prime minister, especially on the count that he was able to deliver the much-awaited constitution for the nation reeling from protracted political instability and fluidity. He also called on the president to convey his decision to exit and commence the process to invite the parties for the formation of a new government.  BargainingThe president has already invited the parties to come up with a proposal to form a new government of unity by fulfilling the requirements set forth to this end .This has unfolded the drama currently being played out in the political arena, which is characterised by bargaining and counter bargaining for the seat of power.  The major political parties – the NC, UML and UCPN-Maoist - have initiated their respective moves to prevail and occupy a space in the new equation and alignment of power. Since KP Oli is being tipped to become the next prime minister according to the gentlemen’s agreement with outgoing Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, the CPN (UML) has rightfully put him up as the candidate for the prime minister with the unanimous decision of the party.  Moreover, a panel of senior leaders, including Madhav Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal, have been pitted to negotiate and finalise the deal with the major political constituents for the formation of the new government under the leadership of KP Sharma Oli. As the UCPN-Maoist is committed to extend support to the CPN (UML) and its leader KP Sharma Oli as the new prime minister, it is almost likely that he will occupy Baluwatar as the next prime minister.  However, some leaders, especially from the Nepali Congress, appear to be reluctant to hand over the mantle of prime ministership to Oli, and Sushil Koirala himself is also reportedly interested in clinging on to the post though he himself has not come out openly on this score.  Given the ongoing national crisis, resulting from the blockade enforced by India by stopping essential supplies to Nepal, Koirala and his loyalists in the party may attempt to invent some excuse to continue staying at the apex seat of power, arguing that it is not an opportune moment to quit. That the Nepali Congress is not keen to concede the post of prime minister to KP Oli is evident from some of the leaders’ insistence and contention that the matter has not been officially and formally discussed and agreed in the party.  Some leaders do reportedly argue that the post of prime minister is strategically important for the politics of the time, especially for the fact that elections for the different tiers - national, provincial and local - of the government will be held in the days to come. K.P.Oli and his party will have the advantage of using the power muscle to their favour in this context.  UML leaders are often times alleged to engage in tactical and shrewd maneuvers for harnessing the political resources in favour of their party. This is feared and taken warily by parties like the Nepali Congress as the UML is a major rival of the former, especially in electoral competition.  Moreover, Oli has been projected as a hard and instinctive leader. He is also said to be not amenable to the pressures being exerted by the Madhes-based parties to fulfill their demands and concerns on citizenship and province delineation. The agitating Madhes-based parties that have mounted their offensive with the alleged tacit support and backing of India may not favour KP Oli as the incoming prime minister.  However, it will be very difficult to stop Oli from become the incoming prime minister at this moment because UCPN-Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda – at one time a vitriolic critic and arch political rival - has extended all out support on behalf of his party to Oli for the new prime ministership. At the all-party meeting held the other day Dahal was at the forefront to take up and defend the case of KP Oli as the next prime minister.  The Nepali Congress is expected to lend support to KP Oli as the prime minister in consideration of the fact that the UML supported the NC in leading the government and making the onerous task of writing the new federal constitution a success. It is the seminal role of the CPN (UML) that helped the NC to deliver the constitution and take due credit for it.  Prime Minister Sushil Koirala who was considered a very meek and inexperienced hand for heading the government at a very difficult period came to be a very successful and task-oriented leader, especially due to the successful handling of the task of promulgating the constitution. The best and moral course for the Nepali Congress at this moment is to support KP Oli as the incoming prime minister and to cooperate in forming a government of national consensus.  The biggest threat right now is the unclaimed blockade imposed by India as a result of which the national economy has been seriously impaired and life of the ordinary people debilitated. Another challenge before the nation is the implementation of the provisions in the constitution especially related to federal reorganisation of the state.  Unity the only wayThe political parties need to work together in a collaborative and coordinated spirit to meet the threats and challenges for which a government of national unity is a must. The NC as a mature and responsible political organisation should do everything possible to ensure that the cooperation with the CPN (UML) and UCPN-Maoist is not strained. Neither should the UML and UCPN-Maoist fritter away from the path of collaboration. Unity and unanimous position on all national issues are the only way left for all the political stakeholders to move ahead in the days to come.

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