We may soon have a new prime minister and a new cabinet, but the problems will be the same old ones that have haunted this nation for the last four years. Nepal's traditional politicians haven't learnt from history, and are therefore doomed to repeat it.
The megalomaniacs in the ruling circles are dragging this country back to the pre-27 May deadlock. Tuesday's all-party meeting made it clear that this bunch of men is impervious to reality and simply incapable of learning anything at all.
Baburam Bhattarai and his coalition partners in government may pat each other's backs but they don't seem to have anything new to offer either. They have been busy with populist agendas while under their watch, corruption and mismanagement in the government have broken all previous records. Inflation and shortage of essential goods has hit people hard.
Political bickering at the top has a chain reaction on the economy, development and people's livelihoods. The expansion of roads throughout the country, construction of hospitals, bridges and schools in remote areas should have brought relief to many. Instead, life has gone from bad to worse because our politics is such a mess. Public resentment against the parties is building, and it is going to manifest itself in elections which is why everyone is terrified of elections.
The opposition NC and UML share a part of this blame, but people will ultimately question the incumbent government for failing to get a grip on the situation. It is those in power that people expect action from.
To be sure, the government has found itself in an unprecedented void. The two main parties in the coalition have suffered serious splits. Its legitimacy is being questioned at every step. But by calling for the ouster of Bhattarai without presenting an alternative, the opposition is trying to drag the nation into another crisis. Both sides are gearing up for a showdown this monsoon.
The NC and UML are putting pressure on the president to act, while the Maoists have invited Janajati leaders to form a new front and join their coalition. Both believe that somehow the other side will relent. Amid all the chaos, Gyanendra Shah's statement in Bhairawa was intended to remind the populace that however bad things were during the days of the monarchy, they weren't this bad.
Amidst all this, an important development is taking place within the Madhesi front. Last week, honorary Madhesi, Sarat Singh Bhandari broke away from the Bijay Gachhadar-led MJF-Loktantrik. Then, this week MJF-Republic withdrew its support from the government after ousting its sitting minister Rajkishor Yadav.
On the surface, this looks like an intra-party squabbling, but one can discern a trend. The fact that Baburam Bhattarai chose not to replace an expelled member of the party in coalition from his cabinet has exposed the cracks in the Morcha, and if things don't change dramatically, the rifts will surface in the next two weeks.
Madhesi pundits reckon this may be the beginning of the end. "Legitimately the present government cannot be ousted until the next elections but it will be forced to resign if the coalition falls apart," a Madhesi intellectual told me this week.
Those observing these developments from the sidelines believe that although the Madhesi parties have been brought together by a common agenda on federalism, they are not driven by a collective sense of purpose. There is increasing tussle within the Front to occupy the kingmaker role. The 'hidden hand' that was supposed to be the architect of this coalition must be getting restless.
Sooner or later, Bhattarai will have to step down. But that will leave us with CA elections, or CA revival which require unprecedented consensus, unlikely at present. Even if there is a roundtable conference as some have been suggesting, how will it resolve any of this?
This is paddy plantation season, so expect more mudslinging, and more sound and fury signifying nothing.
All politics is local
A democratic jolt, RUBEENA MAHATO
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