Sunday, 11 April, 2021
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OPINION

Comfortable Government For Whom?



Gopal Khanal

 

As Nepal’s politics takes a new turn with the restoration of the House of Representatives (HoR), some leaders of the Prachanda-Nepal faction of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) have openly sought the support of India to find an alternative to KP Sharma Oli as Prime Minister. They have reportedly assured India that they would better serve India's interest in Nepal than the current government does.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, in a television talk show, recently said he would lead a government in Nepal, which would be comfortable to India, following the ouster of Prime Minister Oli, who is also the NCP chairman. According to him, the alternative coalition government, comprising his faction of NCP, Nepali Congress (NC) and JSP, would be comfortable for India. Diverse sources have claimed that Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal have urged India's establishment to help them forming their government in Nepal dismissing Oli on condition that they will address India's interest. But, the representatives of India's establishment rejected their proposal repeating the previous stance that India would not suggest any ideas about the very domestic affairs of Nepal.
This statement of Prachanda is not new if his previous ones made some months back are properly analysed and put them in perspective. When his party had launched the street protest against the dissolution of HoR which they called a 'regressive move', he was openly calling India, China and the US, for intervening in the internal affairs of Nepal by supporting them to unseat Oli from premiership. Prachanda and Nepal had repeatedly urged the international community and neighbouring countries to extend support for their street protest.
The Prachanda-Nepal faction had been demanding the restoration of HoR, which was dissolved by Prime Minister Oli citing the non-cooperation and obstruction by his own colleagues. But the SC quashed the PM's move of dissolving HoR and declaration of fresh election. Though Prachanda and Nepal toasted their victory after the court verdict, they seemed to have faced further tension since Prime Minister Oli has decided not to resign and face the parliament. Prachanda-Nepal faction could not replace Oli by forwarding another Prime Minister politically and through the parliamentary procedure since party statute, parliamentary act and law related to political parties have fixed certain models and processes to seek alternative to sitting Prime Minister.
Prachanda and Nepal have been openly requesting the president of Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba to lead the government but Deuba has rejected their offer and put up a condition that the NCP should formally split before he accepts their proposal. It seems the NC is now in further difficulty after Prachanda floated the idea of 'comfortable government.' Therefore, there is slim chance of forming a coalition involving Prachanda-Nepal faction and NC.

Extremist attitude
But, Prachanda and Nepal will try their best to oust Oli till the last moment since they have declared Oli as their sworn enemy. They will try to play within the Oli's group saying they will support any other name as Prime Minister from Oli group but not Oli. This extremist attitude is the outcome of bitter personality clash. Many communist parties across the world faced their untimely demise due to the destructive ego of their leaders. It seems Nepal is bound to suffer from the same fate.
Prachanda’s former colleague and JPS leader Dr. Babauram Bhattarai pull his weight to snatch the chair of Prime Minister Oli. Bhattarai, who returned from Delhi after his treatment, had posted a video immediately describing the SC's in a triumphant tone. Baburam is known for his unstable politics since he changes his party almost frequently. Once an esteemed leader, Bhattarai has now lost his trust in Nepali politics. In a line with Prachanda’s views, Bhattarai, in an interview with Indian newspaper, Hindustan Times, on February 2 has assured India that he wants to establish good ties with New Delhi. The interview has been posted under the title of 'Not Beijing, Only New Delhi'. But he has said that the parties of Nepal will collectively find the solution of political crisis they are facing.
No To external interference
Prachanda, Nepal and Baburam Bhattarai can play fair games in politics, forging alliances to achieve their goal to oust Oli from the premiership. If Prachanda and Nepal think, they can break with the party and form their own. If they think the NCP could not solve the problems and the Oli-led government failed to address them, they have the full right to dissolve the communist government.
But, all moves should be carried out within the constitutional framework. The spirit of SC verdict is to find a solution to political crises in parliament. Prime Minister Oli has said he would face parliament instead of resigning. This is due constitutional process. The Prachanda-Nepal faction can replace Oli by mustering the support of majority lawmakers.
But, they should not invite the neighbours to poke into the domestic affairs of Nepal. It is simply unacceptable to seek the role of India and China to form and dismiss the government in Nepal. India and China are our neighbours and have been supporting Nepal as per the request of Nepal government. Any attempt to drag neighbours into our domestic affairs will be counterproductive.
After decades of instability, Nepal had embarked on the path of political order following the promulgation of constitution through CA. Nepali people have been independently deciding their domestic affairs. India and China, possibly observing the Nepalis’ strength and unity, have been maintaining their diplomatic role and refraining themselves from making any interventionist overtures. We shouldn't invite external powers to play a role in our politics. Such mentality will make us weaker while foreign players might further question our integrity and independence.

(Khanal is consulting editor at Gorkhapatra Corporation. khanalbro@gmail.com)