Jhala Nath Khanal has made two blunders in the two weeks since he took over the UML which have put the party's reputation at risk. First, during the discussions relating to presidency, Khanal betrayed the seven-party alliance, sidelined the NC and piggybacked on the Maoists. There is disgreement within the UML about this decision. One faction thinks Khanal did the right thing because he is trying to ensure that Madhab Kumar Nepal gets a respectable position. But there are dissidents who think Khanal just wants to save his general secretary position by kicking Nepal upstairs. Khanal's plans have backfired and even Nepal is now accusing him of character assassination. Other leaders of the seven parties think that Khanal is an opportunist and even the Maoists distrust him. In the past, Khanal and the UML had been critical of the Maoist YCL for taking justice into its own hands. They have criticised YCL for their methods, for perpetuating violence and have demanded that group be disbanded.
But as soon as Khanal took over leadership of the UML the first thing he did was form a 'Youth Force', which has since been spreading terror and violence. Last week they caught two Labour Ministry officers supposedly taking a bribe. They manhandled the officers and took them to the police. The Youth Force is a part of the UML, which is a part of the governing alliance. One wing of the same party is out on the streets taking justice in its own hands.
Needless to say corruption is rampant in the public administration and the justice system is too weak to check corruption. But the Youth Force is following the YCL's example of exacting summary justice. If the Force is serious about curbing corruption, it should start by probing the assets of some UML leaders.