Wednesday , February 20 2019
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Knife Edge Politics

editIt is surely the politician treading the knife’s edge who is bleeding. And so is Nepali politics that has for too long poised itself on uncertainties. For those who would want politics to run its full course, the fault lies in the fact that they have contributed to the knife’s edge evidently unaware that politics is an ever-going process and that politicians will continue to practice the art of the possible; it will never run its full course. This is despite the apparent deadline early 2018 by which time the constitution must be implemented. Such deadlines are at best cosmetic because the art of the possible has been stretched beyond sensibilities. Otherwise common sense would prevail. The legal framework for elections under the new constitution still remains incomplete. But government insists that elections will be held within two months. Of the participants, the Tarai parties threaten not only to withdraw their support to government and oppose elections if their demanded amendments are not endorsed by the legislature. The opposition UML which commands a sizeable portion of the two thirds in the House that is required for the amendments to be rammed through opposes the amendments. While the Congress which is in government and is also the largest party in the House wants the elections and amendments, the newly swollen numbers of the RPP has its newly empowered leader in government saying that it will oppose and pull out of government if the amendment process is forced in the House. And, yet, government insists that the elections- and the amendments- will take place. It is surely time to take stock and make sense out of this nonsense.
The answer lies in the fact that each of these supposedly stake-holding parties are positioning themselves for signals emanating from elsewhere other than themselves. Opposing the polls would be attracting undemocratic tags upon themselves and appearing to not support the tend years of a process that they have for the past decade claimed as constitutional. If the signal is green for the elections their role will be to bet on a share in the election government. If the signal is red, on the other hand, they can place the blame squarely on the other stakeholders. Prime Minister Prachanda will be left saying he left no stone unturned to implement the constitution and found no cooperation from the other stakeholders. Prime Minister in waiting Deuba will say that he would have done it had he been allowed. Kamal Thapa, newly ensconced again as deputy and put in charge of the newly created local levels where elections are to take place will say as he had already that he had done his utmost to implement the constitution by joining a government committed to elections but was impeded by the faulty processes imbibed and the UML in opposition will say that they had supported the elections but merely opposed the ‘anti-national’ amendments. Of course, the Tarai leaders, all excepting the more amenable Bijay Gacchedar who none less than the prime minister says will join in government, will say that they too were willing to join the elections if the amendments the prime minister promises will materialize. The fact of the matter is that this range of options is no secret. The positioning is complete. But, what of the signal? From whence? And, so, unless new impediments emerge the dye cast in the name of elections will have its takers unless options build on the streets. This is precisely what everybody is preventing. Let the knife’s edge bite but options not build.

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