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No Confidence

editIt is not quite possible to shake-off a sense of political-pre-design. With the Tarai parties at one end and the CPN/UML at the other of the current constitutional spectrum, it was possible to foresee a clash. Perhaps the UML was testing the Tarai Monday. Having very harshly crushed the Tharu movement when they were in government last year, the end effect of the clash at Saptari can also be seen as a provocation on part of the UML. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal was forced by the UML to postpone his amendments to constitution which was a demand of the Tarai parties as precondition to participate in the local elections. The UML decides to conduct its Tarai movement after successfully antagonizing the Tarai-centric parties on this (and many other) ground. It was possible that their west-ward cavalcade would find fairly safe sailing from Jhapa (from where it was launched) to Sunsari. Eastward was trouble as one could see. But the insistence to move met with violence and death at Saptari. Wisely perhaps, the UML has halted their public exhibition for three days. The Tarai now has a ‘bandh’ (curiously) for three days. Obviously the UML will have lost face is they discontinue their movement after this initial scrap. Why did they court this in the very first place?
How about the Tarai? Their leaders have withdrawn support from government as a reaction to the Saptari incident. We are wise enough to conclude that their demands for treatment of their injured and the declaration of the dead as martyrs will easily be met. By their three-day Tarai closure will be meaningless if it remains at that. Agitation against the incident has continued. This means that the UML movement if it proceeds will be met with more prepared violence. But, in the event that wisdom dawns on the part of both, their withdrawal of support to government will be the more meaningful. The numbers game for government in the legislature is already underway. Perhaps this was the design anyway. The Saptari clash may or may not trigger yet another Tarai movement. However, the movement in the House will remain meaningful. Comrade Prachanda leads the third largest party supported by the largest party, the Congress, in government. Other smaller parties have also been roped in, the largest among which is the swollen RPP. The new fluidity puts the initiative squarely on them.
Apart from the fact that Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba is very much in the center of it all as leading the largest party in government who could well be the immediate beneficiary of any change in government initiated by the new fluidity in the legislature, all this jockeying clearly has to do with the local level elections for which the date has been set and towards which politics should have been clearly focused. The fact that the new developments may clearly impact on these elections can in no case be undermined despite the prime minister’s repeated insistence that the polls will be conducted as per schedule and that they will be held with the participation of the Tarai parties too. As it stands, the Tarai fracas adds to the many uncertainties that persist despite these assurances. Add to this the recent increase in numbers of the local levels for which the elections are to take place. It is for these reasons that there is little confidence among the people that things are just not what they seem. It is quite possible to conceive that much is brewing.

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