MIN RATNA BAJRACHARYA
Unfortunately, consensus has become the first casualty in the conflict of interest between the Maoists and the rest. Chairman Dahal erroneously thought that being the biggest party in the CA gave him the right to decide things on his own. The NC leadership erred grievously by first calling for the CA session and then obstructing its proceedings. The Maoists are now following the example the NC set. The controversy over unilateral dismissal and subsequent reinstatement of the army chief was a consequence rather than cause of the crisis of confidence between the main political parties.
Contrary to what many fear, the Maoists are not in a position to capture the state apparatus through a popular uprising. The lack of public support for the Maoists' protest programs nationwide clearly show that Nepalis are fed up with the shenanigans of Kathmandu's rulers and shakers.
Confrontation between a future Maoist-led coalition and NC-supported configuration (or vice-versa) will ultimately harm them both as governance collapses. The Big Four parties all swear by consensus politics. Yet, their actions speak louder than words. It has become a clich?, but a consensus government is the only thing that will work now. The army row has drawn a lot of bad blood, it's time the parties began looking beyond who forms a government to how they can form a government together.
The Maoists need to prove that they are committed to open and competitive politics. Other parties have to reassure the Maoists that they have no intention of using the government machinery to corner the former guerrillas. There is an urgent need to address integration, rehabilitation and demobilisation of combatants in cantonments. There are too many enormously complicated and volatile problems ahead of us while we finalise the form of federalism in the new constitution to waste time bickering over government berths in what is going to be a fractious state.
There is a commercial of Tata Tea on Indian tv channels these days in which a citizen badgers a campaigning politician with questions. "What is this, a job interview?" asks the irritated candidate. "Yes, you are applying for the job of MP," replies the citizen.
Our politicians, too, have forgotten why they got the people's mandate. It wasn't to bicker endlessly in Kathmandu over power, but to finish the job of constitution writing so this country can be steered back to peace and development. But they are too busy scrambling for office to give a thought to why the people elected them in the first place.