Consensus Nepal Politics: A Futile Circus

As deadline for the promulgation of the new constitution nears in Nepal, contentions among the major political players intensify.

By Deepak Gajurel

Deepak GajurelThe constitution making process in the country’s Constitution Assembly (CA) is stalled with many fierce disagreements among the partners of 12-point Delhi Agreement. The Delhi agreement (brokered by India and signed by insurgent Maoist and seven parliamentary parties) was the takeoff point that led to the sidelining of Monarchy from this Himalayan Kingdom.

As deadline for the promulgation of the new constitution nears in Nepal, contentions among the major political players intensify. And Maoist has begun to threaten with yet another ‘disaster’, meaning violence.

Former rebel Unified Maoist, which led the armed insurgency for ten years in Nepal, resulting into the death of 17,000 plus Nepalis, and damage in billions of dollar worth of national property, has hardened its blow against the parliamentary parties on the basic frameworks of the to-be written constitution.

During the elections of the second edition of the constituent assembly, ‘major’ political parties had set the deadline of January 22, 2015 for the new statute of the nation to be promulgated. However, the constituent assembly, as per the provisions of the Interim Constitution, has the tenure of four years, beginning January 22, 2014.

Maoist has begun to threaten with yet another ‘disaster’, meaning violence.

Proposal by the ruling coalition parties, Nepali Congress (NC) and Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), on the numbers and basis of federal system and other contentious issues has been outright rejected by Unified Maoists.

In addition, the former rebel has threatened that the country would once again engulf into chaos, if its (Maoist’s) agendas are not agreed upon by all.

‘Disaster is imminent if the ruling parties force to promulgate the constitution without arriving at consensus between the parties represented in the constituent assembly,’ thundered U-Maoist supremo Prachanda.

For U-Maoist ‘Consensus’ means that all other political parties get down with full agreement, unconditional, to Maoist’s agendas, for example, formation of federal states on the basis of caste with specific right to self-determination, meaning the right to secede from the Nepali nation.

‘Disaster is imminent if the ruling parties force to promulgate the constitution without arriving at consensus between the parties represented in the constituent assembly,’

This is the main issue NC, UML and other smaller ‘democratic’ parties disagree on. U-Maoist has, on this issue, the support from Janajati groups and some of the Terai-based parties.

Leading a 22-party front, Prachanda has asserted himself against NC and UML with a series of mass activities across the country.

Another splinter Maoist party, led by Mohan Baidhya at the same time, has threatened to promulgate its own ‘people’s constitution’ from the street.

Adding fuel to this political quicksand, newly formed, splinting from Baidhya Maoist party, Biplav group of Maoist party has began to speak of yet another spell of ‘gun and barrel’ if its demands of ‘people’s constitution’ is not drafted.

The universal truth that ballot and bullet cannot work together seems to be proven by experiments of 8 years’ drama of ‘consensus building’ in Nepal. It’s only the matter of time and modus operandi these two formally break away and collide.

Gajurel is Assistant Professor of Political Science with Tribhuvan University, Nepal.

He can be reached at: deepakgajurel@gmail.com

 

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