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The more things change…

The more things change, the more they stay the same. This statement seems apt for the political situation in Nepal.

world Updated: Jun 02, 2011 00:00 IST
Utpal Parashar

The more things change, the more they stay the same. This statement seems apt for the political situation in Nepal.

This time last year, after having failed to deliver a new statute within time, the country’s lawmakers had given themselves another year to complete the task.

Earlier this week, failing again to fulfill their mandate, lawmakers gave themselves another three months to do the job.

The same time limit has to be also used to complete the vexed peace process which is stuck on the issue of Maoists giving up arms and joining the security forces.

Last June, empowered by a last minute deal Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) chairman Jhalanath Khanal was pressurizing party colleague Madhav Kumar Nepal to step down from the prime minister’s post and make way for a consensus government.

Now Khanal who managed to reach the post in February this year after entering into a secret deal with Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal is facing the same predicament.

Instead of budging to pave the path for a ‘national government’ based on consensus, he is insisting on staying put till a replacement is found.

The five-point deal among the three major parties may have given Khanal and Nepal’s lawmakers some breathing space. But vagueness about the clauses has already started a political tug of war that could soon turn into something similar witnessed last year.

There is no clarity on whether the PM should quit immediately or remain till the parties agree on his successor. Judging by the differences among and within the major parties, that’s a tough task.

It won’t be surprising to witness another secret deal in the garb of consensus to end the deadlock.

The events getting unraveled now give a sense to déjà vu to many. But there’s one thing that’s different now. Public anger almost non-existent last year is on the rise on the streets of Kathmandu and beyond. In recent weeks there have been several protests and rallies against politicians who have failed to deliver.

And if lawmakers fail to heed this time around, things will not be the same any longer.