The game of politics being played in Kathmandu is far more interesting than the cricket being played in West Indies.
The cricket word cup has begun in the Caribbean and even our Kantipur TV is providing us the latest scores of the match on a small display panel on the upper left corner of the screen. (Another score card is added on the lower right corner of the screen if there are two matches at the same time.) We don’t have a team from Nepal to play the cricket world cup but hey the intense match of politics being played in the rooms of Baluwataar Prime Ministers’ residence and other selected houses in Kathmandu is no less interesting. Forget about six sixers in an over by a South African or the craze of the game in India as they are facing Bangladesh today evening. Watch the game of Nepali politics. Actually, this is the game that I have been following very keenly from my bed were I have been taking rest fighting common cold (weather change!). This game is about forming the new [interim] government of Nepal that will have a primary responsibility of holding the election of Constituent Assembly by July (or, may be, August).
Here the cup comes in the form of important cabinet portfolios and influence in the government. Everyone from Maoists to UML folks agree that Nepali Congress will lead the government. Even in a historic time like this when communists are in clear majority against the non-communist forces in Nepal, they are not being able to actually LEAD the country. This might be because one communist in Nepal considers the other communist its biggest enemy and threat and Nepali Congress, the democratic party with undemocratic nature, is enjoying this to the fullest. That is exactly why it is also claiming the portfolio of deputy prime minister in the cabinet. Nepali Congress thinks: come on folks; look at the health of Girija babu. We must get the senior DPM to assist our party’s PM. For others, it’s about how many DPMs? If there will be only one DPM, Maoists think, forget about our earlier commitment about top leaders not joining the government, we will send our second-in-command: Dr. Baburam Bhattarai. Some say cabinet must be formed along with the announcement of Prime Minister and UML is leading this group. Others say, first let’s form a small cabinet; announce the Prime Minister and we will discuss further to expand the cabinet. Yes, this comes mainly from Nepali Congress and, since UML is against it, Maoists are for it.
Nepali Congress is strongly pushing forward the issue of lands and properties confiscated by the Maoists in different parts of the country and Maoists are saying okay okay we will return the lands to the owners soon, what about our comrades that are still in jail? [BTW, this blogger’s parent’s lands and houses in Ramechhap are still in Maoist control and when they went to the village to claim their property recently the former rebels refused to return the property. Mr and Mrs Wagle are still in Duragaun, Ramechhap and they are probably following the developments in Baluwataar carefuly via radio reports.] I am sure all contentious issues will be sorted out as I can see tough bargains that you will not see even in Kathmandu’s Hong Kong Bazaar are going on. Give and take, claim and compromise, accept and reject, talk and do. To use the negative term, you can say a great deal of satta sangharsha (struggle for power) is currently going on in Baluwataar among eight political parties. But I wouldn’t say that. I would say this is actually a very much welcome move and they are having nice time while distributing portfolios among them. The best thing about all these bargains is that parties are also talking about the program and policies of the interim government. This gives me the hope that these parties, armed with the experience of running coalition government in the past, are not just thinking about power but also about the job that they are supposed to after joining the government.-Wagle
Latest Scores in the Game of Nepali Politics
Eight-party taskforce meeting
A meeting of the joint eight-party taskforce is underway Saturday afternoon at the Prime Minister’s residence in Baluwatar.The meeting is likely to formulate the soon-to-be-formed interim government’s policies, programmes, and code of conduct as well as finalise an eight-party commitment towards holding a timely Constituent Assembly (CA) elections. According to a taskforce member, once a meeting of the eight-party top brass ratifies the taskforce’s suggestions, it will pave a way for the formation of interim government. Nepali Congress-Democratic leader Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat today said that the taskforce has already completed a majority of its tasks.
Mahat further informed that since distribution of ministerial portfolios of the interim administration was not discussed during yesterday’s eight-party meeting, the issue would also be discussed today. Maoist leader Dev Gurung said that since an accord had already been reached over “most issues”, a meeting of both the eight party leaders and the joint taskforce would be held simultaneously today.
In yesterday’s meeting, CPN-UML and other few parties had insisted that a full cabinet with clear and complete distribution of ministerial portfolios be formed at one go while the Nepali Congress and Maoists argued that initially a small cabinet could be formed which could be expanded and given a complete shape later. Although the eight parties are likely to reach a consensus on ministerial portfolio distribution, the interim government, however, is unlikely to be formed before Tuesday.
And this is quite interesting and encouraging:
Maoists, JTMM-Jwalasingh group reach ceasefire accord: The CPN-M and its splinter faction Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha-Jwala Singh group have reached an understanding not to launch any kind of “military action”, kidnapping, murder and other excesses against one another in Sunsari and Morang.
As per the seven-point agreement forged after a discussion that went on long into midnight yesterday, the two groups have agreed to release abducted Maoist District Committee Member Dhruba Bahadur Katuwal “Rajan”, to stand by the peace agreements reached with the government, to work towards resolving the problems of Terai, not to participate in the agitation launched by the Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) since it had been infiltrated by royalists and “extremist forces”. (more)