By Our Reporter
We recently bid adieu to 2016 and welcomed the New Year–2017. As usual, we have both good and bad incidents throughout the year.
The Year 2016 had begun amidst difficult times being faced by the Nepalese people. The inhuman blockade imposed by India against Nepal was still in place and the Nepalese people were living in misery without fuel and gas while the Madhesi leaders were trying their best to weaken Nepal by launching a protest across Terai in the backing of India.
The Indian blockade was lifted in the second month of the year and the Madhes-based movement ended. However, to please India, the parties had to amend the constitution within five months of its implementation.
Nepal lost Shusil Koirala, the NC leader, during whose tenure as PM Nepal got the new constitution. With Koirala’s demise just a few weeks before the party’s 13th general convention, the leadership of NC went out of the Koirala family. Sher Bahadur Deuba became new NC president in the convention held in March by defeating Ram Chandra Poudel by a big margin.
Prime Minister K P Oli’s visits to India and China were two major events of the year. India had to lift the embargo imposed against Nepal to ensure Oli’s Nepal visit. However, the visit could not become fruitful as enmity between the government of Nepal and India continued even after the visit. President Bidya Bhandari’s India visit was cancelled due to this enmity between Oli government and India. The Oli government also called back Nepal’s ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhya.
Prime Minister Oli’s China visit in March was more fruitful as he signed some important treaties with the northern neighbour in a bid to end Nepal’s dependency on India. However, no progress was made to implement the treaties in the year.
India visit by NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba prepared a ground for the fall of the KP Oli-led government. Although his first attempt to pull down the Oli-led government and form a new government under Pushpa Kamal Dahal failed when Dahal and Oli stroke a deal in May. But the government of Oli collapsed in July. India had its role in pulling down the Oli-led government. It was evident because the fall of Oli government in Kathmandu was celebrated in New Delhi.
In August, Dahal formed a coalition government of his party—CPN-Maoist C entre and NC, which is still continuing. As the government was formed to please the Indian establishment, it registered a bill to make amendment to the constitution as per the Indian design. However, the bill was strongly opposed by the people and the CPN-UML and the parliament meeting was obstructed throughout December.
Politically, the second half of the year was not good for Nepal as the Nepalese people who suffered a lot from the blockade had to witness formation of the government under the pro-Indian parties.
Creation of Naya Shakti party under Dr Baburam Bhattarai and the ineffective Kathmandu-centric movement of the Madhesi parties were other important political events of the year. As Prime Minister, Oli had succeeded to weaken the movement of the power-hungry Madhesi leaders.
End of load-shedding from Tihar was probably the best gift of the year for the Nepalese people. CEO of Nepal Electricity Authority Kul Man Singh Ghising and Energy Minister Janardhan Sharma deserve kudos for the feat. These two also revealed that the Nepalese people were compelled to face the artificial load-shedding for years.
Prime Minister Dahal’s India visit in September was dragged to controversy due to the 25-point joint statement issued in New Delhi as Dahal in the statement agreed that Nepal’s constitution was incomplete.
Suspension of Lok Man Singh Karki, chairman of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority was another important political incident. Karki was suspended following a registration of impeachment motion in the parliament. Maoist leaders as well as the UML leaders had registered the motion fearing that Karki might start investigation into them. Still the parliament has not finalized the motion.
At the end of the year, people in Province No 5 took to the street against the amendment bill registered in the parliament while the UML continued to obstruct the parliament in Kathmandu.
Dr Govind KC continued to make headlines by staging series of fast-unto-death throughout the year.
The country also witnessed series of air and road accidents throughout the year. Anyway, the year 2016 was not good for Nepal in terms of safeguarding sovereignty and national integrity.