Originally Published 2004-01-14 07:38:55 Published on Jan 14, 2004
King Gyanedra¿s decision to give audience to the various political parties in early January 2004 preferred the ray of hope that the continuing political deadlock in Nepal might end soon.
The King takes the cakewalk
King Gyanedra's decision to give audience to the various political parties in early January 2004 preferred the ray of hope that the continuing political deadlock in Nepal might end soon. The King dissolved Parliament in October 2002 and had installed a puppet government, a move that has been, and continues to be, opposed by all major political parties in the country. Initially leaders of all the major political parties too welcomed the King's decision to grant them audience. Therefore it seemed that the meeting would open doors to end the political crisis in the country. The King had initiated a dialogue with the main political parties, the Nepali Congress (NC), the CPN (UML), Jan Morcha (JM), Nepal Mazdoor Kishan Party (NMKP), and the Nepali Sadhavana Party (Ananadi Devi) to end the political deadlock. As things subsequently unfolded, the political parties are apparently reluctant to end their mass protests and agitation, which would have brought in some positive results to establish political stability in Nepal.

During his talks with the political parties, the King proposed a "seven point agenda" and urged them to arrive at a consensus. The agenda which the King proposed included (1) to build a national consensus (2) to work for peace, stability and security in the country (3) to bring corruption under control (4) to form a people-oriented administration (5) to work upon a strong national solidarity (6) to conduct a free and fair election and (7) to form an all-party government. The King held that if his agenda was implemented with the co-operation of all the political parties the political crisis prevailing in the country would come to an end. The King, therefore, gained an upper hand by offering a way out to resolve the political stalemate. He takes the cake away from the political parties who are at logger heads with each other, given their competing political interests.

But, at the moment, what seems to be unclear is the dilemma within the political parties. The response of the political parties to the King's proposal has been rather lukewarm. The five political parties are not keen to arrive at an agreement with the King. The Nepali Congress president, G.P. Koirala, while referring to the Kings's proposals, expressed doubts whether the King would assist in overcoming the crisis. Although during his meeting with the King Koirala highlighted the need to activate the constitution and urged the King to restore Parliament, he did not respond to the King's proposals, important among which is forming an all party-government. Instead, the Nepali Congress has been adopting a wait and watch attitude trying to figure out which political party would take the initiative to agree with the Kings decision.

The CPN (UML) General Secretary, Madhav Kumar Nepal was also among the leaders who sought audience with the King. Madhav Kumar Nepal, during his meeting with the King, agreed on the suggestion of forming of an all party- government entrusted with the power to conduct the much-delayed nationwide elections. After meeting the King, Nepal said that further efforts could be initiated to solve the political deadlock, but forming an all-party government was necessary to move forward. Later on during the CPN (UML) Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting, at which the party discussed the King's proposals, its leaders did not show much reluctance to the King's proposals. This shows that all the major political parties are waiting for an opportune moment to make a safe move. In fact, reacting to the King's proposal, CPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal issued a statement urging the political parties not to fall prey to the King's tactics, but continue with their agitation. The King habitually makes false promises. Further, he exhorted the political parties to fight the King's regressive policies.

One thing, however, remains unclear. There is no credible information yet relating to the reasons for a lack of seriousness among political parties to seize the initiative to end the political deadlock in the country. It might have been the case that the King made and broke promises. But, along the line, someone has to take the initiative to fill the existing political vacuum in the country. Therefore, in this case the King has taken the cakewalk by offering ways out to end the crisis.

In fact, all the political parties in Nepal should have shouldered the responsibility to resolve the political impasse. So if the political parties are really interested to bring peace in the country, they must keep aside their narrow political interests and find a way out to end the crisis. They must not miss the opportunity to form an all-party government as proposed by the King. At least, if an elected government is formed in the near future in the country the political parties can further look ahead to resolve the problem of Maoist insurgency in Nepal.

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