Better late than never

The political spectrum of Nepal is gripping toward a new dramaturgy with the decision of the CPN (Maoist Center) to widow Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli by pulling out its support to the coalition government. Accusing PM Oli for failing to implement the nine-point agreement and the gentleman’s agreement, the Maoist Center has finally decided to withdraw its support. Subsequently,  the current government led by the CPN-UML is left in minority.

Aashu Sarraf - DM
Aashu Sarraf

As per the undisclosed gentleman’s agreement signed between the CPN-UML and its major coalition partner Maoist Center, PM Oli will hand over the leadership to CPN (Maoist Center) Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal after the current government passed the budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. However, Oli and his party supporters had reiterated denial of such agreement. Ironically, the Maoist Center’s recent move to withdraw support from the current government has ultimately proved the existence of gentleman’s agreement.

Following the withdrawal of the support from the government, the CPN (Maoist Center) is hopeful that Nepali Congress will support it to form a new government under its leadership. So far, Nepali Congress leadership has made vague statements regarding the support to the new government. As per some media reports, Nepali Congress chairman Sher Bahadur Deuba denied to support Dahal. Many argue that this has kept Maoist center in serious choke.   

Then, a new development, that came to surface, has suddenly turned upside down all the speculations made about the Maoist Center. In a press meet organized in the capital, CPN (Maoist Center) senior leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara claimed that Nepali Congress has given written commitments to support Maoist government for a short period of time. According to him, the leadership of the new government will be on a rotation basis. The Maoist Center will lead the government before the election takes place, and then the leadership of the government will be handed over to the NC.

There are some arguments that still have doubts on NC. Some still believe that the NC can take revenge with the Maoist Center for what it did with Congress two months ago.  Earlier, the Maoists had almost toppled down the government to join the NC for the formation of a new government under Dahal’s leadership. But, surprisingly, the Maoist had taken u-turn by signing the nine-point and the gentleman’s agreement with CPN-UML. According to NC sources, the NC’s revenge with the Maoists is unlikely.

The CPN (Maoist Center) needs NC’s support to form the new government. The NC (207) and Maoists (82) will make up 289, which is not enough to form a new government with full majority. Currently, the UML (182) and other fringe parties supporting the current government has a total of 253 seats. For the formation of the new government with the full majority require support from other parties. Agitating Madhes-based parties will not join the new government, but is likely to support the government from outside as they have a great hope to resolve the constitutional problems.

Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF-Democratic), which is the second largest partner in the current government after the CPN (Maoist Center) with 14 seats, is likely to join the government. Its chairperson Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar has already  announced publicly to join the Dahal-led government, as per the media reports. Some two months ago, India was reportedly blamed for her attempts to topple down the government. Some still blame India’s role in the change of the government this time again. As the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) Nepal, the largest partner in the current government after the Maoist, is allegedly close to the BJP-led government in India. These connections also show that the RPP Neal is likely to follow the suit and join the new government. If NC (207), Maoist Center (82), MPRF-Democratic (14) and RPP Nepal (25) join the new government, it will make up 328, which is just less than 7 seats than the UML-led government with Maoists and other fringe parties (335).

So, what’s next? There may be three options with PM Oli. First, he would resign. But the media reports said that the PM will not resign now. Second, PM Oli will have to face the debate on no-confidence motion in the legislative parliament.

Upon the debate, he will seek majority of votes for confidence in the legislative parliament. Third, he may opt for the dissolution of  the House, and declare the election under his Prime Ministership. But the constitution does not have any provision regarding this. 

The change of the government is indeed not the solution of the current impasse in the country. But the current government has failed to address the demands of the agitating Madhesi parties. The first point of a recent seven-point agreement between the  NC President and Chairman of CPN (Maoist Center) Dahal on government change states to solve the constitutional crisis.

Better late than never. Let us hope the new government will first put its best efforts in amending the constitution as per the demands of the agitating Madhesis, Tharus and Janjatis. Resolving the constitutional crisis in the country is the only way out to move ahead.

Also Read, What’ll PM Oli do after CPN (Maoist Center) withdraws support?