Scholar leader Baburam Bhattarai shot to popularity as an economic and administrative reformer with austerity measures and set an example of good governance which even those on the opposition appreciated. But the way Bhattarai cobbled together an outsized cabinet added an economic burden to the state. Then his decision to recommend a presidential pardon to a murder convict proved that he is no different from his predecessors. He has turned a deaf ear to widespread public criticism and continues to sing to his own tune.
Bhattarai rode a locally-assembled Mustang vehicle when he drove to his office after being sworn in, reinforcing the public perception of his modest ways. But with 49 ministers on board and the state having to spend millions per year for each minister, the entire Mustang gesture has turned into a farce.
Bhattarai must know he doesn't need four dozen ministers to run a transitional government. He has already set a new record by forming a 44 member secretariat of advisers at his office and doling out ministries to stay in power is a betrayal of the nation's trust. The government's decision to grant amnesty to Dhungel without forming a Truth and Reconciliation Commission has made mockery of rule of law. Had the Supreme Court not issued a stay order on the cabinet decision on Sunday, it would have embroiled the office of the president in controversy as well.
Upon his return from the SAARC Summit, Bhattarai made irresponsible remarks against "a small coterie of
dollar-earning groups" blowing the issue out of proportion. Nobody is opposed to the formation of Truth and Reconciliation committee to look into the war time cases but to condone individual acts of crime under political pretext will only promote impunity and anarchy.