Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
United we stand, divided we fall

The Maoists now have the verdict of their first 100 days in power. The security situation hasn't improved, the youth wings continue their mayhem, the economy is stagnant, foreign policy is unclear and there has been little progress in terms of post-conflict rehabilitation. The electorate is clearly fed up with their focus on futile and unconstitutional discussions about what sort of a democracy we want.

But the fact is this government will remain in charge.

If Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal & Co continue to fail in their efforts, dissatisfaction will only increase. It will not take much to trigger another explosion. Extremists are sure to take advantage of such a situation. To begin to fight off such a threat the PM needs to get to grips with drafting the constitution.

PM Dahal also needs the NC and the Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party to join the government and form an alliance of national cooperation.

Not having the NC in government has broken the brief cooperation between the seven parties and overshadowed the main task of drafting the constitution. If the Maoists continue to ignore the fact that this is an interim government and if the tension between the parties continues to build, having the NC in opposition could further thwart the constitution drafting process.

The NC seems content in its role as the opposition, but it still has to co-operate in writing the constitution-even though it means the second largest party remains outside the government.

So the UML and MJF have taken advantage of the situation to enjoy a taste of power. While the Maoists and the UML might share same principles, the internally divided MJF needs the lure of power to hold it together. Isn't the closer involvement of the NC at this crucial time vital for writing the constitution and for the future of democracy in Nepal?

There remain plenty who are opposed to the NC being in the government. One faction of the Maoists has even branded them as enemies. But having recently demonstrated his authority at the Maoist party convention over the type of republic Nepal should be, PM Dahal should be able to convince his followers that the NC should be onboard.
If Dahal takes that farsighted and generous step, Girija Prasad Koirala will also be under pressure to join the government. Only then will Nepal have a sense of unity and be able to fulfil the tasks in hand.

If the present uncertainty continues there could be dire consequences. Dahal and Koirala take note.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)