iconimg Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
August 08, 2012
As Nepal’s political logjam continues for the third consecutive month, the role of one man, the country’s first President Ram Baran Yadav, is coming increasingly under the scanner. With no parliament and a caretaker government functioning, Nepal’s head of state is faced with the task of brokering a consensus between the ruling coalition and opposition parties — if possible.

He seems aware of the responsibility and is trying his bit. But with not much power given by the interim constitution, Yadav doesn’t have much control over developments or lack of them in Nepal.

On Sunday, he called all 27 parties from the dissolved Constituent Assembly and urged them to bury their differences and find a solution to the ongoing impasse.

Nepal’s present crisis stems from dissolution of the CA in May without drafting a new constitution and PM Baburam Bhattarai’s announcing fresh polls.

Opposition parties have refused to take part in elections and are insisting on Bhattarai’s resignation as a pre-condition for resolution of the crisis. They also want formation of a national unity government.

But Bhattarai and the Maoist-Madhesi coalition have refused to budge until elections or at least till the parties agree on a package deal to resolve all issues including government formation, peace and constitution.

Parties like Nepali Congress want Yadav to play a pro-active role — that is, he should remove Bhattarai and his government and install a national unity government comprising all parties.

On the other hand, the government is of the view that the President will not resort to such an ‘unconstitutional’ move.

As the tug of war for power continues, all eyes in Nepal are on the President, who is expected to play a role in delivering the much delayed constitution and conclude the peace process.

But Yadav is unlikely to take any step which could tarnish his reputation or is in contravention of the interim constitution. Hence, the impasse is likely to continue till the parties find a solution themselves instead of using Yadav’s shoulder to aim at their targets.