Leaving 3.2 million people roofless, leftist parties ‘dream of power capture’
Leaving more than 3.2 million people without house with their battered lives in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes, the leftist parties are dreaming of capturing the government. The ruling coalition partner CPN-UML and the opposition UCPN –Maoist today concluded that Nepali Congress-led government should make the way for a new government owing to its ‘failure to lead the nation in time of crisis and the delay in constitution writing’.
UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and senior leader Baburam Bhattarai visited CPN-UML chairman KP Oli’s residence today evening as the Nepali Congress leaders reiterated that the government leadership should not be changed until the constitution writing process is over. The democrats have asked left wing parties to join the incumbent government led by Prime Minister Koirala to transform it into national consensus government.
The country is still mourning the loss of lives and properties from the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake of April 25 and 7.3-magnitude earthquake of May 12, followed by thousands of aftershocks. But the two major political parties – completely insensitive of the gravity and situation of the people’s loss – are planning to change the government. The devastating earthquakes have left more than 3.2 million people homeless as according to the Home Ministry some 800,000 houses have been partially and completely damaged.
But the two communist parties – UCPN-Maoist and CPN-UML – are rigorously working on to topple the incumbent government led Koirala and form a government led by CPN-UML chairman K P Oli.
Though, the Prime Minister Koirala-led incumbent coalition government – that has CPN-UML as partner – has been slow in service delivery to the people affected by the earthquakes, the urgency of the CPN-UML and its leaders in changing government could not be justified at the time of national crisis, according to Nepali Congress.
The second and third largest parties in the Constituent Assembly (CA) and parliament that have been holding regular meetings – since last week – for the formation of a national consensus government claim that Koirala had failed to lead the government effectively during the national crisis.
The CPN-UML – that has key ministries including home ministry that is key in rescue, relief and security of the affected populace – is eager to lead the government in the national consensus government. However, the CPN-UML has forgotten that they are also a part of the incumbent government. If the incumbent government has failed to deliver service or cannot deliver the service in future, CPN-UML – that is ready to lead the next government cannot escape the blame. The wrong timing of the CPN-UML chairman K P Oli’s mood to lead the government automatically raises the serious question on the party’s intention. If the UCPN-Maoist is pressing the CPN-UML to change the guard of the government, Oli should remember that former guerillas might be using him as a trump card that will definitely back fire his political career.
The second largest party – CPN-UML – however claims that the sense of urgency has become necessary to form a strong government for reconstruction, and rehabilitation, as well as to complete the pending constitution writing process, and to conduct local elections.
The UCPN-Maoist that has also been an impotent opposition party in the parliament has been impatient as it could also not serve people in their hard times. The UCPN-Maoist has also done nothing except asking the government to dole out cash to the victims of the earthquake.
Following a series of discussions with the Maoist leadership, the CPN-UML has reached the conclusion that it would ask the Koirala either to prove the backing of the major parties represented in the parliament or clear the way for the second largest party to lead the government.
“The CPN-UML has presented two options before prime minister, either garner the support of all the parties in the parliament or pave the way for others to do so,” according to CPN-UML deputy-general secretary Bishnu Poudel.
However, both the leftist parties also know that Koirala is not ready to step down as Nepali Congress general convention – scheduled for September 10 – is nearing. “Koirala is unwilling to stay away from the power to maintain his hold in the party,” a CPN-UML leader said, assuming that Koirala is planning to run for the president a second term. “It would further prolong the constitution drafting process while reconstruction and rehabilitation works suffer.”
“CPN-UML is planning to withdraw its support from the government,” the leader said, “If Koirala fails to renew the support of the major parties and continues to obstruct the CPN-UML’s bid to lead the government.”
The opposition party UCPN-Maoist is lobbying for a consensus government, leaving Rastriya Prajatantra Party in the opposition. In the parliamentary democracy opposition has a major task of balancing the government by not letting them monopolise the resources. The opposition is important in parliamentary practice to check and balance the government monopoly and raise the people’s voice.
However, the Nepali Congress leaders are of the view that the change of guard in the government during a national crisis would be a bad idea, let alone a national consensus government. “National consensus government without completing the constitution writing process makes no sense,” according to Nepali Congress leader Purna Bahadur Khadka.
However, he said that the party has suggested the Koirala to invite the heads of three major parties and the Madhesi Morcha coordinator and brief his plans on the constitution writing process, reconstruction and holding the local elections.
“Promulgating the new Constitution – the key responsibility of the incumbent government — by mid-July is Nepali Congress’s major target,” Khadka said, “The promulgation of the Constitution will automatically open up all the remaining avenues including rebuilding nation, holding local polls and formation of national consensus government, as planned earlier.”