13-19 February 2015 #745

Political personalities

Naya Patrika, 31 January

Meetings of top political leaders have often ended inconclusively not because of their ideological differences but because of the way they put forth their arguments. Here is an insight into how top leaders conduct themselves during negotiations.

Sushil Koirala, Prime Minister/NC president

Rambles, fails to understand most of the points raised by other interlocutors. Often talks about ‘give and take’ and ‘win-win’ but never explains how to achieve that and what Plan B could be. Listens attentively but rarely counters their argument with his own logic, does not grasp technicalities, and has a short temper. But is always taking the initiative to clear the air.

KP Oli, UML Chair

Often turns up late at meeting, talks clearly and counters arguments of other leaders logically. Prone to breaking into proverbs and parables to get point across sharply and hurting the feelings of other leaders. Rarely backtracks from statements and decisions.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal, UCPN (Maoist) Chair

Begins softly, always harps on the 12-point agreement, peace accord and spirit of the Interim Constitution. Tries his best to convince other leaders with the force of argument. Takes on a strong posture when arguments get heated.

Sher Bahadur Deuba, NC leader

A listener. Tries to calm things down when discussions get heated. Simplifies complicated political issues and talks in a clear and concise way.

Madhav Nepal, UML leader

Fancies himself as a mediator and middle-of-the-roader. Comes up with alternatives when negotiations get stuck. Speaks to other leaders and understands their points of view well before meetings begin, and always arrives promptly.

Baburam Bhattarai, UCPN (Maoist) leader

Seconds Dahal and spends much of his time explaining his party’s ideology on key issues. Often gives examples to explain his party’s concept and Dahal’s point of view and rarely breaks from the party line.

Jhalnath Khanal, UML leader

Arguments are always roundabout, never straight or concise. Digresses from the matter at hand, and goes into elaborate analyses of historical political events. Although no longer party chairman, often presents the UML’s stance on key issues.

Ramchandra Poudel, NC leader

Sticks to the partyline, speaks bluntly and sometimes ignores or bypasses his party president.

Narayan Kaji Shrestha, UCPN (Maoist) leader

First to arrive at meetings. Presents himself differently than Dahal and Bhattarai, and is willing to be a free thinker to get negotiations unstuck. Exhorts other leaders to show flexibility for a consensus.