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Peace, constitution drafting in Nepal take a backseat

Instability over government formation affects India too

world Updated: Aug 26, 2010 17:18 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times

Eight weeks after the resignaiton of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, the Himalayan nation is yet to elect his replacement even after five rounds of voting in Parliament.

Failure of political parties to end the deadlock has led to important tasks like completion of the peace process and drafting a new constitution (which are already delayed) getting sidelined.

Prolonged instability over formation of the next government has also raised concern in India over security and economic issues.

In another 10 days, lawmakers will vote again to chose between Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Nepali Congress’s Ram Chandra Poudel. But the outcome is still uncertain.

Differences among the four major players—Maoists, CPN-UML, Nepali Congress and the four party Madhesi front will have to be bridged and compromises made if the September 5 voting is to be successful.

“Unless the Maoists give credible commitment to disband their military wing, it doesn’t look like that this deadlock will end,” said eminent journalist and political commentator Kanak Mani Dixit.

Dixit feels that if this core issue is addressed, everything else will fall into place and government formation, peace process and constitution drafting will move forward.

At present nearly 15,000 former rebels are living in UN monitored cantonments. But despite assurances, the Maoist leadership has not disbanded them and also its paramilitary-type youth wing.

In May, NC, CPM-UML and Maoists had agreed to extend the Constituent Assembly’s tenure by a year to complete the task of writing the constitution. But no progress has been made in that front.

Problems within the major parties have also added to the prevailing chaos.

Nepali Congress is busy preparing for the party’s internal election due next month while ‘Prachanda’ and CPN-UML chief Jhalanath Khanal are battling threats from senior leaders in their parties.

Other casualties of the deadlock are development and law and order. “Security has been affected due to the failure to form a government in past two months,” Home Minister Bhim Rawal said on Thursday.

The scenario has affected India as well as the country shares an open border with Nepal with free movement of citizens of both nations.

“Indian businesses in Nepal have been affected and no new investments are taking place,” said KV Rajan, former Indian Ambassador to Nepal.

He, however, added that instead of trying to resolve the issue, New Delhi should let the parties in Nepal arrive at a solution themselves.

First Published: Aug 26, 2010 17:12 IST