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A different game of musical chairs

In a game of musical chairs, the last two remaining players compete for a chair and the one able to occupy it when the music stops is declared winner. Nepal witnessed a different version of the popular game this year.

world Updated: Dec 26, 2010 23:52 IST
Utpal Parashar

In a game of musical chairs, the last two remaining players compete for a chair and the one able to occupy it when the music stops is declared winner. Nepal witnessed a different version of the popular game this year.

The first five months saw opposition Maoists attempting to wrest power from the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) and Nepali Congress-led coalition government.

Party supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal tried threats, strikes and even dancing on stage with starlets to place his behind on the chair occupied by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

With an eye on the same chair, leaders of the three major parties — Maoists, NC and CPN-UML agreed in May to extend constitution writing deadline by another year.

As part of that deal, Nepal resigned on the last day of the sixth month. But with no replacement in sight, he continued to warm the post as a caretaker.

But the music wasn’t soothing for the trio — Maoist chief Dahal, NC’s Ram Chandra Poudel and CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal — eyeing one chair.

Khanal bowed out before the game, Dahal put up a brave fight for some time and Poudel continues to hope that the chair will finally be his.
Sixteen rounds of voting failed to decide a winner and the caretaker PM remains seated where he was when the year began.

Peace process and a new constitution took a back seat and the ‘more important’ battle for the PM’s post gained precedence. With the year drawing to a close a fresh move is on to start things afresh. Poudel wants the unfinished game to end, Khanal and Dahal wish change.

And with former occupant Sher Bahadur Deuba wishing to join the game — Nepal’s version of musical chairs with multiple players and one ‘occupied’ chair is likely to continue for some more time.