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Machhapuchre Bank

The Year That Wasn’t

Prime Minister K. P. Oli will resign to the fact that this year of his prime minister-ship just wasn’t productive. He has his structural changes to boast of though. He shares his party leadership with the Maoist Prachanda thus combining the two communist parties under the banner of a single party. He boasts an elected communist government thus that holds two thirds majority in the country partnering a section of the Tarai based parties. He can also be conceded to have united the party at the center and some stages of the newly federal states and what remains is claimed as mere perfunctory, the districts. He was flipped to this post of the ‘historic’ elections to all levels of the newly federated states and his claim that the process of empowering the states and local levels have had to be done under severe logistical and political constraints since even the preliminary homework had not been done on the practicalities of devolution. As is being told us, the jump into the republican, secular federated Nepal prescribed for by the newly adopted constitution has had to be managed only after the new elections and, shall we concede, K.P. Oli had had to enter his first year with just this in mind. His advocates will mark this first year as the successful management stage.
Unfortunately, however, Oli’s gathering numbers of critics are very prompt in furnishing a long list of grievances. The law and order situation (Nirmala Pant murder), they claim has deteriorated. Transparency International, they point out, has placed us lowest only after Afghanistan in the list of the region’s most corrupt. The precarious fiscal situation has been exacerbated under his tenure, they cannot fail to mention. The strong nationalist stance he undertook during his previous tenure has been practically diluted in the year since the people voted him to office again. His foreign policy of equidistance has been severely compromised threatening the country’s very existence, insist his critics. It is these political grudges that gain currency these last days of his first year. What is more, two thirds in the House notwithstanding, the rest of the opposition are already heading to the streets concluding rightly that the two thirds prevent any effective opposition in parliament.
So much was okay perhaps for Oli. The opposition will oppose in democracies and Nepal streets have always been agitation prone. By the end of his first year though, the more potent possibility for predicting his fall has already been manufactured by year end. The NCP – NCP appears to have significant differences within that only the lucratively of the two thirds majority appears to have been holding together. Nepali politics having deemed the one- man- one- post solution inadequate to prevent splits in a practically individual-centric party leadership devised the unique two-men-one- post system for the NCP-NCP where Oli may be prime minister of the country but where he shares the chair of his party with the erstwhile Maoist’s Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda). Oli had his detractors in his party—Jhalanath Khanal, Madhav Nepal and Bam Dev Gautam—just a few to name, he has not only retained this party competition from his erstwhile party but, through unification, has invited more competition with an intact larger block into the party. The ‘Venezuela statement’ that is currently in controversy at the end of Oli’s first year only highlights this. The Nepali case has seen in-party differences crash constitutions. There is little reason why this latest truth will not too.

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