|ONE STEP FORWARD TWO STEPS BACK: Baburam Bhatarai standing in for Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal delivers a fiery speech at Tundikhel on Tuesday saying his party would not abide by the Election Commision\'s rules.|
The Maoists played serious brinkmanship on Tuesday by walking out of government and calling for street protests to obstruct polls.This could be a two-track tactic to either play the role of a political opposition against a status quo state by projecting itself as a party of change, or to escalate protests to get elections postponed. The self-absorption of the Maoists with their internal pressures and the resignation drama in Kathmandu distracted attention from the enormous loss of life and property in Kapilbastu and the continuing violence in the eastern tarai.
In Kapilbastu it was the failure of the state to prevent the riots, and it continues four days after. In the eastern tarai, criminalised militants are rampaging because of the political and administrative vacuum. The Maoist resignations made an unstable government even more insecure, and emboldened royalists who also don\'t want elections.
Baburam Bhattarai\'s vicious speech on Tuesday was meant to appease hardliners within his party from whom he has come under attack. Backroom negotiations were going on till late Thursday at Baluwatar to work out a compromise on a republic declaration to satisfy both the Maoists and the seven parties.
The resignation crisis, Kapilbastu and the eastern tarai all add up to a loud wakeup call for the prime minister to urgently show the people that he leads a government that is in charge and can deliver peace and development.