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Questions Of Leading A National Consensus Government

Issue 25, June 20, 2010

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

The question of leading a new government has been floated for quite some time either to distract the people from the ongoing pressure of the UCPN-Maoist leaders on the current government to quit for forming a new national consensus government or to create a debate over it. We have many politician aspirants to the Prime Ministerial position. Some of them claim for taking up the position rather than for being capable for the position. Anyway, the question of being a Prime Minister has been already in air for some time to debate over it. NC and CPN-UML leaders might form a new majority government rather forming a consensus with the UCPN-Maoist, as they have given a good chance to Madhav Nepal for plundering the national resources.

NC and CPN-UML leaders have been asking the UCPN-Maoist to present any other person other than Chairman Prachanda of the UCPN-Maoist for a Prime Ministerial position. They even have said that they prefer one of the Vice-chairmen of UCPN-Maoist Baburam Bhattarai to Prachanda. The UCPN-Maoist leaders have taken the offer of the Prime Ministerial position made by the NC and CPN-UML leaders to Dr. Bhattarai as the tactics of creating division among the leaders in the UCPN-Maoist.

So, the UCPN-Maoist has decided that no other than Prachanda would lead a new government. The UCPN-Maoist leaders have rallied behind Prachanda even though Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has not cover up his desire for leading a new government given the chance. Some UCPN-Maoist leaders have been put forward the idea of three potential candidates such as Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ for a Prime Minister. Repeatedly, Dr. Bhattarai has said that he is not for taking up a Prime Ministerial position risking the integrity of the party.

The UCPN-Maoist sticks to its decision on making Prachanda a Prime Minister. "It is very objectionable that NC and CPN-UML are dictating us on which leader from our party should lead the national consensus government. Their decisions or views are undemocratic, dictatorial and against multi party system," spokesperson for the UCPN-Maoist Dina Nath Sharma has told the reporters after the standing committee meeting of the party on Friday, June 11, 2010 according to the state-run newspaper ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 12, 2010. Spokesperson Sharma has said that it is the right of a concerned party to decide its leaders to hold positions in a government. "We have already decided that our party chairman ‘Prachanda’ will lead the national consensus government and there is no dispute in the party over this."

Some of the UCPN-Maoist leaders don’t see the possibility of leading a new consensus government so they have opted for staying on in the opposition. However, Dr, Baburam Bhattarai is for his party leading a new consensus government, as without the consensus politics, the peace process will not be completed and promulgation of a new constitution will not be possible, too.

At the same time, the leaders of NC at the central committee meeting on Thursday, June 10, 2010 have stated that the UCP-Maoist’s decision on making its Chairman Prachanda lead a national unity government would obstruct the formation of an unity government according to ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 12, 20101.

Similarly, the CPN-UML leaders have asked the UCPN-Maoist leaders to present anybody other than Prachanda for a Prime Minister of a new unity government to be formed. None of the CPN-UML leaders have dared to claim for the position of Prime Minister. They know that one of the leaders of their party has already malfunctioned the government. So, it is futile to claim for leading a new government. However, some sycophants have proposed the name of Chairman of CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal for the position of Prime Minister.

Some of the NC leaders have been claiming for forming a new government. They have said that the UCPN-Maoist and the CPN-UML have already led one government after another. They have failed in completing the peace process and the writing of a new constitution. Now, it is their turn to lead a new government and complete the peace process and promulgate a new constitution. However, Acting President of NC Sushil Koirala and some other central working committee members are not favoring the NC forming a new government. They think that it is not the appropriate time for them to form a new government.

Among the NC leaders, some of them have been logically claiming the position of Prime Minister. “Naturally, there will be debate in the party as to who will become the next prime minister if the party is offered to lead the government. As I have contributed a lot to the party and know well that Sher Bahadur became prime minister thrice and Ram Chandra took the portfolio of deputy prime minister and became speaker of the erstwhile parliament and rumors are rife that Shushil Koirala is not interested to become the prime minister at the moment, I have told the men in the party that I am also a prime ministerial candidate. I have put this view in the party as well. Above all, I am the senior most leader of the party.” Kul Bahadur Gurung has stated in the interview given to ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 12, 2010.

Ram Chandra Poudel has sounded the UCPN-Maoist leaders whether he would be acceptable to them for a position of Prime Minster in the past. He has not even been a unanimous candidate of his party for the Prime minister. He is only a contender for the position. As his colleague Mr. Gurung has said that he has been the Speaker of previous parliament, current vice-president of NC and parliamentary leader of his party. However, his supporters in the NC have started lobbying for making him a Prime Minister. So, he has a good chance of being a next Prime Minister if the NC gets the chance of forming a next government.

Concerning Mr. Kul Bahadur Gurung claiming for the position of Prime Minister, he has to demonstrate his ability to lead his party rather than asking for the position based on the merits he has in the party. Not only Mr. Gurung but also numerous persons similar to Gurung have contributed to the party no less than he has. So, Mr. Gurung needs to perform rather than simply aspiring for the position of Prime Minister.

Former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has been waiting to see how the allocation of status. He has lost the election for the Parliamentary Party leader of NC to Ram Chandra Poudel. Currently, he is no more than a member of the elected member of the legislature and honorary senior leader of NC. However, he has been claiming for the position of the president of his party after the death of Girija Prasad Koirala although acting President Sushil Koirala is supposed to be leading the NC.

Mr. Deuba has lost some of his supporters to Ram Chandra Poudel. So, he would have difficult time to garner sufficient support for being a next Prime Minister although his supporters also have started lobbying for him in the party. Most probably, Acting President Sushil Koirala will have a last say in making a next Prime Minister if the NC is really forming a new government.

Bijaya Gacchedar has been claiming for the position of Prime Minister. His party has only about five percent of the total members of 601-seat legislature. He would have been the Prime Minister if his party has at least 15 percent of the total members of the legislature. So, his claim for the Prime Ministerial has made him no more than a political clown in the political circus of the three major parties: UCPN-Maoist, NC and CPN-UML.

Mr. Gacchedar had split his party called Madhseh People’s Rights Forum into his Madhseh People’s Rights Forum-Democratic and his archrival Upendra Yadav’s Madhseh People’s Rights Forum-Nepal. The strength of the undivided Madhseh People’s Rights Forum was more than eight percent in the 601-seat legislature. Mr. Gacchedar did so to get the position of Deputy Prime Minister in the Madhav government. Mr. Gacchedar is one of the most unscrupulous politicians of his mother party: NC. Recently, he has been nervous of diplomats of the western countries favoring the UCPN-Maoist to lead a new government and has severely criticized them for supporting the Maoists.

In view of recently the Deputy Prime Ministers such as Biyaya Gacchedar and Sujata Koirala recently visiting India and meeting with the Indian leaders, and the Gacchedar’s statement of breaking the current deadlock forming a new government clearly indicate that they are forming a new majority government rather than forming a new consensus government led by the UCPN-Maoist leader. These guys have already given a good chance to Madhav Nepal to plunder the national resources and would give another unscrupulous politician to grab the national resources.

If we follow the democratic principles and norms then one of the UCPN-Maoist leaders, no matter whether he is Prachanda, Prakash, Bhattarai or Kiran should lead a new consensus government. The current political activities the NC and CPN-UML have followed are quite far from following the democratic norms and values. So, currently, we have the man defeated in the elections for the legislature in two constituencies is holding the position of Prime Minister. He has been violating the rule of law and doing everything possible for amassing wealth for his relatives, friends and himself. Consequently, his administration has been the most corrupt and has mismanaged the state resources but most of the politicians failed in receiving the people’s mandate have been supporting him and keeping in the position for more than a year. So, it won’t be surprise the defeated politicians put up another failed politician in the position of Prime Minister again.

June 16, 2010

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