Krishna Prasad Sitaula has managed to hold on to his position of home minister for the third time despite opposition from the seven parties. Even the Maoists who were known to have a soft spot for Sitaula have spoken out against him. Senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai says: "The home administration is very weak."
During his two years' tenure as home minister, a record number of people lost their lives while the tarai violence became a colossal problem. Despite the Gaur incident in March 2007 and Kapilbastu in September 2007, Sitaula is still the home minister.
When asked whether Sitaula's appointment was due to a lack of alternative candidates, Bhattarai said: "We have plenty of candidates but the NC just won't let go. Both national and international power houses have made sure that the home ministry isn't given to us." NC's Govinda Raj Joshi said: "It's not just the prime minister who wants Sitaula in the cabinet. Madhab Kumar Nepal and Puspha Kamal Dahal want him too."
Other parties have voiced their opinions about Sitaula's incompetence in maintaining law and order. The Election Commission and various diplomatic organisations have also shown concern at the worsening peace and security situation.
Although Bhattarai denied that the Maoists are holding on to Sitaula, he accepted that the Maoists were in favour of Sitaula rather than other leaders from the NC. Bhattarai asked: "Who has better vision than Sitaula in NC? Khum Bahadur, Govinda Raj?" According to him, NC's failure to move with the times is more responsible for the worsening situation than Sitaula's leadership.
Relations between the Maoists and Sitaula soured after two dozen Maoist party workers were killed in the Gaur incident and Sitaula openly put the blame for the postponement of the November election on the Maoists. The CA polls have been announced for early April and peace and security is a must if the election is to take place. The question is whether Sitaula, who has failed to create a suitable environment for the election twice before, will succeed this time.