The relationship between the ruling coalition and the main opposition party in the legislature continues to deteriorate. From waving black flags at ministers, Maoist cadres have resorted to pelting stones at them. This is a dangerous portent. Unfortunately, the government doesn't seem to be in a mood to cede an inch of political space to the Maoists. This makes the likelihood of a rapprochement remote.
Should the standoff in Parliament and the confrontation in the streets continue, the drafting of a new statute will be delayed, if not altogether sabotaged. The second casualty will be the functioning of the government, which has already been brought to its knees by various armed groups operating in the eastern hills and the central Tarai. The third impact will be the most cataclysmic: the ongoing peace process will unravel, with all the attendant complications and consequences.
The term 'failed state' is one of the most misunderstood and misused of our times. But the possibility appears to be staring us in the face. Girija Prasad Koirala and Madhav Kumar Nepal quibble over the arrangement of deckchairs even as the ship risks being sunk by the Maoists and its breakaway armed groups. No matter how many berths the prime minister adds to his cabinet, they will not be enough to accommodate all the minister-aspirants and keep his wobbly coalition afloat. There has to be some other way to end the stalemate.
Koirala believes the deadlock can end with the formation of a high-level coordination committee. He has to take the initiative if his prescriptions are to be taken seriously. Nepal thinks the Maoists can be brought into the present coalition government. If so, he needs to stop abusing them. Pushpa Kamal Dahal insists that his party is the only one capable of taking the peace process to its logical conclusion. Pelting stones at one's political rivals is hardly likely to contribute to this process.
Our leaders need to consider whether their actions have real value or whether they are merely reacting to events. It has been said several times before but it bears repetition once more: there is no alternative to the politics of consensus during this, the most revolutionary period of the history of Nepal. This Dasain, let's hope the renewal of family ties will inspire in all a sense of common purpose.