Nepali Times
Dasain wish

If things go on like this, Nepal will have only nuisance value for the international community.

The reason foreigners interfere so much with our politics is because our rulers are such serial delinquents. If they were more united, possessed with some vision for the future, and were committed to the national interest, Gen Mehta wouldn't be ranting away again, European ministers wouldn't be dispensing unsolicited advice and Shyam Saran wouldn't be airdashing to Kathmandu.

At the rate things are going, there is a danger of a catastrophic cascade of events that will unravel the peace process. If that happens we would probably wish the foreigners would interfere to rescue us from the brink of chaos. If we want less outside meddling, we better to put our own house in order, and quickly.

The trinity of high priests that have taken it upon themselves to command our destiny (PKD, GPK and MKN) seems chronically incapable of thinking beyond tactical electoral advantage. Political parties everywhere are preoccupied with electoral arithmetic, but our rulers seem bent on delaying or abandoning elections unless they can win big.

This week's haggling behind closed doors between the three bahuns at Baluwatar were deadlocked till deadline. We won't go into gory details, but you can be sure the bargaining was not about protecting the national interest.

A big portion of the blame must go to the Maoists, who keep on changing the rules of the game and going back on past agreements. Everyone understands this is because of their internal contradictions and the dominance of a hardline faction. They've got cold feet about the elections and the leadership fears it can't hold the party together if the party suffers a major defeat in polls.

The UML and NC need to understand this Maoist sense of insecurity and not try to exploit it for partisan advantage. The Maoists are not going back to the jungles, but let's not corner them so much that hardline warlords take up ethno-regional banners and go back to armed struggle. This is not so far-fetched because that is exactly what happened in the tarai with the JTMM.

The NC is also guilty of vacillating on the elections because of its own fears of losing out in a full-proportional system. The prime minister and his home minister have proven themselves to be incapable of ensuring security.

The end result of all this is that a majority of Nepalis are beginning to give up on the politicians in Kathmandu ever getting their act together. After more than 18 months of ceasefire, they are still waiting for an improvement in service delivery, in job creation and relief to victims of conflict and of recent tarai violence. Anything, in fact, that shows we have a government. But failure to do so is spreading cynicism and increasing the influence of foreigners in our polity.

Across Nepal, ordinary people equate long-term peace with elections. The constituent assembly polls would bring closure to this period of unstable transition. It would focus people's minds on what politics should really be about: improving people's lives.

And that is the Dasain wish of all Nepalis.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)