Muma Ram Khanal
Political Analyst, Nepal
TQ1: So what will happen now in the country?
Khanal: The country can’t remain for long in an uncertain situation. That is for sure. If no consensus then the other option left is the street struggle which will facilitate forging of consensus. Such a measure will either push him, the Prime Minister, for consensus or kick him out of office.
TQ2: Tell us as to why the Prime Minister has been ignoring to come to terms and forge a consensus with the parties?
Khanal: At best, the party of the Prime Minister itself stands now in a much weakened situation. His party has already gone through a vertical split recently. But what surprises me most is that a comparatively feeble Prime Minister has been talking of going outside the ambit of having a political consensus? This does mean, I presume, the Prime Minister wants to prolong his tenure in government.
TQ3: Is that possible in Nepal?
Khanal: No! That is not possible. This is what has been surprising me more which is that when he though thinks that it was an impossible affair yet he has been lingering the matter? This is just a Himalayan surprise for me.
TQ4: Do you sense that some alien forces have been backing PM Bhattarai in order to make him to work under their charted Roadmap?
Khanal: I presume that he enjoys the blessings of our neighbor which gets reflected from his political behaviors and attitudes. He may have been enjoying the alien magnanimity but the one who has lost his own domestic political standing back home, the aliens or for that the foreign powers, can just extend their support to keep him straight and nothing more than that which they can do for such a political personality. Such foreign support may not last for long. This is what I think.
TQ5: What alternative now remains under the sleeve of the political parties to kick Prime Minister out from the current Chair?
Khanal: The first alternative is consensus itself. I hope that he will abide by the practice of consensus. If he doesn’t come and forge consensus and ignores this established political practices then he must understand that he is already in a minority. Fear looms large that the freshly formed Maoists party may come to the streets against him. Even if this strategy fails then I presume that Chairman Prachanda himself will initiate the campaign for the ouster of Prime Minister Bhattarai. Possibility remains high.
TQ6: Can we believe that Chairman Prachanda may lead such a campaign as presumed by you?
Khanal: Yes! It is true. Indications are already there that Chairman Prachanda can’t carry Babu Ram for long in his back. When the Maoists party split recently, to recall, the Mohan Baidya faction had forwarded its first condition demanding the very resignation of Prime Minister Bhattarai. But it may also be guessed that Bhattarai may not have in the complete grip of Chairman Prachanda. Such a situation may have been in prevalence. To boot, Babu Ram Bhattarai will now even ignore to what Chairman Prachanda tells him. Perhaps it is this factor that prevented Prachanda in not seeking PM Bhattarai’s resignation instead he preferred to undergo with the pain of the party split.
TQ7: It is becoming clear that PM Bhattarai can’t forge consensus among the parties. So who will manage the ouster of PM Bhattarai? The Nepali Congress? The UML? Or the Nepal President himself?
Khanal: As regards the authorities of the Nepal President, well the constitutional clauses, for example, 38 and 43 once again talks of, rather say, thinks of consensus only. Unfortunately, the constitutional provisions do not allow the President to take on to stringent measures. But yet if the political parties approach the President and convince him to untie the current political deadlock would perhaps ease the political process and strengthen the hands of the President. That’s why if talks do not lead to political consensus then the matter may jump onto the streets which will create the needed pressure and it would be this road pressure which ultimately may eventually encourage the Nepal Presidency.
TQ8: So you mean that if the people and the parties get together then the President can sack him?
Khanal: Yes! In that given eventuality, the President will have the authority to sack the Prime Minister. But yet I would say that the best and suitable alternative for the moment is consensus and consensus only. But if he prefers consensus so much so good and the problems will get sorted out. But I don’t think that PM Bhattarai will listen to this or prefer this alternative which gets reflected from his political acts and thus in such a situation either the street or the Presidential pressure could be the best alternative to get rid of the incumbent Prime Minister.
TQ9: So what could be read from Prime Minister’s fresh remarks?
Khanal: It is very simple and clear. He doesn’t prefer consensus but instead longs for a conflict. His inner intent thus could be easily understood.
TQ10: Will such a conflict benefit Dr. Bhattarai ultimately?
Khanal: No! No benefit at all instead things will go against him. He will be the ultimate loser. The sort of comments that have begun emanating in Kathmandu’s political circuit were not self manufactured but the factual ones. We have been listening to what is reverberating in the nation. That is why the smoke that has already spread or is swirling may not take the form of a fire, God forbid, and thus what is advised is that prior to such a fire engulfs the nation, he should act fast and make sincere efforts at forging a national consensus. Earlier the better.
TQ11: Which party now should float its candidacy for the next Nepal Prime Minister then?
Khanal: Now it should obviously be the turn of the Nepali Congress to lead the next Nepal Government. This option will be easier for the nation. In the past, the communists have steered the government for over four times already. However, no substantial gains the nation could receive. Instead, the CA body itself has had to embrace a death. Yet Nepali Congress has the right to boast that this party conducted the CA polls. Thus it should be the Nepali Congress’ turn to form the next power structure. Parliamentary election should be held under the command of the Nepali Congress.
TQ12: Do you envision the likelihood of the formation of a non-political government? I mean from outside the political quarters?
Khanal: Yes! There remains this likelihood. But only if per chance the political parties fail to arrive at a consensus. This alternative will remain only if the parties fail. That’s all.
Text courtesy: The Bimarsha Weekly dated June 29, 2012. Thanks: Ed.