Politics in Nepal takes a crucial turn
The walk-out of Maoist minister nominees in Nepal is the grand finale of the deep disgruntlement and the volleys of accusations that had been simmering and brewing for months in the Maoist cadre. This boycott of the swearing in ceremony has driven the wedge of discontent deeper between the factions of hardliner Mohan Vaidya and the position of Pushpa Kamal Dahal jeopardizing the Prime Minister Jhalnath Khanal led government’s future or usefulness.
Amidst the resignations and refusals to participate in the new cabinet by Maoist ministers as well as the objections being raised by the CPN UML members of the PM’s own party on handing over of Home ministry portfolio to the Maoist, stability still seems elusive for Nepal.
If this winter saw Maoists of Nepal reiterate their extreme left ideology of a people’s revolt and people’s federal republic at the famous Palungtar Plenum, spring has seen them turning over a totally new leaf. While Vaidya faction remained unyielding, Dahal began towing Baburam Bhattarai’s line which has long been seen as the softline voice among the Maoists.
Three months have passed since PM Khanal was sworn-in amidst expectations of a miracle in the constitution making process. It turned out that it took PM Khanal three months to put together a ragtag cabinet, mired in discontent within his own party and among the Maoists, let alone deliver on promises.
PM Khanal has appointed Krishna Mahara, one of the stalwart Maoist commanders during the insurgency, as Home Minister. Mahara also holds the portfolio of Information and of deputy PM. This appointment faces stiff opposition from within his CPN-UML as well as the Nepali Congress. In a situation where combatants and arms are still said to be effectively in Maoist control, and an uncertainty surrounding the Constitution assembly, it forebodes an impending menace to the aspiration of peace of the Nepalese people.
The more than a decade long insurgency has taken its toll as the development infrastructure destroyed has not been rebuilt and the internal displacements have devastated the local economies. While the socio--economic cost of the conflict is yet to be reviewed over the years, the war and the inveterate instability has pushed this small landlocked countries locked between India and China back many years in terms of development. As the youth stream out of the country in a steady exodus and the national economy is on life support from the rickety remittance from gulf states, with industry and commerce halted and a general air of hopelessness and doom, Nepal needs to brace up for the worst to come. There still seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for this once upon a time Himalayan Shangri-la.