• Friday 10th April 2020

Power Politics

  • Published on: December 25, 2019



  • Focus inevitably turns on the NCP and the party and its leaders know it. The unification of the erstwhile radical and revolutionary Maoists and the United Marxist Leninists into a gargantuan Nepal Communist Party commanding a near two thirds majority in parliament turns the conduct of state squarely on its shoulders. The government is headed by Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli who faces a second time kidney transplant, is on repeated dialysis and has only recently emerged from an operation that casts shadows over his ailing health. This makes the search for his succession in government and the party a natural obsession. The fact that he has a parallel party president on whom the task of running the party has only recently been grudgingly bestowed should have made this task simple. But it is not so. He heads a wing of the party that has been, only recently again, amalgamated. The combine, as may be understood, is neither coherent nor cohesive as has several times over been demonstrated. Indeed, even before the amalgamation, each of the two parties had time and again revealed ideological and personality groupings and the combination and permutations of group interests had manifested themselves in several digressions that continue to date. Events appear to have caught up with the party now.
    On the face of it, the party combine has upon its shoulders the task of implementing the Maoist agenda of republicanism, secularism and confederation which are said to be the principal achievements of the past decade and a half of violent national stir that is said to have resulted in the current constitution. The end purpose of the constitution is said to be a transition into stability and plenty laying the responsibility of the conduct of state squarely on the government. But, anomalies resulting in non performance of both the constitution and government that can no longer be swept under the carpet appear have cropped up. There is the winter session that has emerged to pester the constitution’s pliable purposes of power sharing. Who is to contend to the vacant speaker’s seat and how transcends of bon jovi arrangement of the different parties sharing the constitutional positions since the new party permutations have been events that have overtaken the joviality of constitution making on grounds of power sharing. Indeed, it is old hat already since the Nepali Congress is now restricted merely to the opposition and the government party occupies all other constitutional positions.
    So much are the current contradictions now that the whole exercise of constitutionalism has been bared as mere power politics designed to share the spoils of state of which even the very vacancy of the speaker’s seat is being revealed as a design of the spoils. The government party is embarrassed not just by non-performance. It is being exposed by the extent of corruption. This is being taken to extents where even its governing body can no longer ignore. To top it, there is the pressing question of running the state. How the party handles the territorial question in the far west where long-time Indian encroachment has been endorsed officially by India is merely one of the many questions that a ‘nationalist’ NCP must handle publicly. The stir created by the American Millennium Challenge Corporation is another. India, China and the United States are not mere balls to juggle with any longer. They are matters of state and how Nepali power politics cope with these pressing challenges are key. They can no longer lie ignored and they have fundamental bearings on the constitution touted as the signal achievement of the decade.

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