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Parade of PMs

Becoming the prime minister of his or her country is the pinnacle of any ambitious politician's career. But only a select few manage to reach the top rung of the political ladder. Utpal Parashar reports.

world Updated: Aug 18, 2011 00:18 IST
Utpal Parashar

Becoming the prime minister of his or her country is the pinnacle of any ambitious politician's career. But only a select few manage to reach the top rung of the political ladder. In Nepal, the climb seems a lot easier-thanks to political instability.

If you throw a stone in the air in a gathering of senior politicians in Kathmandu, there's a strong probability that it would land on a former prime minister. It's a joke, but could very well be true.

In the past 60 years since Nepal did away with hereditary rule of Rana prime ministers and Matrika Prasad Koirala of Nepali Congress reached that post, 37 lucky politicos have become PMs, some of them attaining that goal more than once.

The list could have been longer, but for five instances of direct rule by the Shah Kings. Some prime ministers have remained in office for barely weeks or few months. With Nepal becoming a federal democratic republic three years ago, there was hope political instability would end.

That didn't happen. On Sunday Jhalanath Khanal became the latest addition to that list of former PMs-the third the country had since August 2008. He managed to cling to the chair for six months and could continue for some more as caretaker PM if the present crisis lingers.

Depending on permutations, combinations and secret deals in coming days either Baburam Bhattarai from the Maoist camp or Sher Bahadur Deuba of Nepali Congress could replace Khanal. If Deuba wins the race it would be his fourth stint at the top-the first was 16 years ago.

While the tussle to the top is on, more important tasks of completing the stalled peace process and drafting of a new constitution keep getting delayed. It's worth mentioning that once adopted the new statute would be Nepal's seventh constitution in six decades.

Politics may not be a promising career for many, but in our part of the world it has several side benefits. In Nepal it could mean more chances of reaching the top, albeit for a brief period.

But imagine the plight of students of Nepal history. After all keeping track of the new entrants to the long list of prime ministers and their stints is not an easy task.