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Setting Deadlines

Politics doedites not wait. Schedules are set for political convenience in Nepal. They are postponed the same way. When the Nepali Congress was squabbling over election and leadership issues between Girija Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba, Deuba the prime minister, constitutionally approached the king to dissolve parliament for elections. Koirala, on the other hand, as president of the party penalized Deuba in the party anticipating which Deuba set up his own parliamentary party. They set up their own schedule for this in accordance to their respective needs. Likewise, the first national elections that Girija conducted dissolving the house abruptly in face of a rift in parliament within his party did not stick to prescribed election schedules. He did it on his terms. Similarly, the Maoist party was formed advocating rebellion after that election swept the fringe left away from parliament. It was the, the Maoists who split from the Janamorcha party and announced their rebellion setting their own demands. More recently, merely a decade ago, the parties agitating for the restoration of the constitutionally dissolved parliament did not set a schedule but announced peremptorily a republican, secular and federal Nepal in an interim constitution of their own making even before the elections to the constituent assembly. Schedules are extended in accordance to political needs as well. The elections were held to the constituent assembly even after the originally set deadlines for the elections were exceeded. Even after the elections, schedules for the constitution were extended in accordance to political exigency; even a second election to the constituent assembly was made possible when the first constituent assembly did not yield a constitution conveniently introducing a presidential edict to be endorsed retrogressively by a yet to be elected second constituent assembly. When it was politically inconvenient the constitution was ramrodded through the constituent assembly last year after a handful of leaders cut and pasted the politically possible at the prime minister’s residence.
In the Nepali case, political compulsions are allowed to dictate constitutions simply because the political organizations, by default their leaders, dictate the constitution. Accountability is merely a dream when politics is impudently conducted. The state is merely a hapless, compliant component. And so the prime minister finds it politically convenient to set the schedules for the local elections now. The season is such that the streets in opposition will remain dormant what with the rains and the accompanying planting season. This will be followed by the harvest and festival season. And, then, the elections. This is all despite the opposition to the constitution and the opposition to the schedules. By this scheduling, the prime minister is inviting the opposition to challenge the season: Convenient and equally impudent, indeed. It will, quite surely, take even more politics to check such impudence.

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