POLITICS Countdown Is On

With the forced euphoria over his elevation to the top office going away in no time, the Baburam bubble is set to burst anytime now<br>A CORRESPONDENT

Oct. 24, 2011, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. : 05 No.- 08 Oct. 21- 2011 (Kartik 04,2068)<br>

As of writing this, the embattled prime minister, Baburam Bhattarai, was busy making last-minute preparations for his first bilateral foreign visit – to India, understandably.

But less than 24 hours before he would take off for Delhi, he was not sure of a safe-landing in the turbulent Kathmandu power games.

His party refused to give him a go-ahead to sign major deals with the most sensitive neighbor against which the party had once prepared itself for “a tunnel war”.

The two big opposition parties, the Nepali Congress and the UML, refused to join the entourage.

On top of that, even as the leader of the parliament, i.e. the prime minister, was busy in preparation for an all important foreign visit, the parliament remained stalled.

Can a prime minister negotiate from a position of strength to safeguard, leave alone promote, the national interest with a foreign country when he has the weakest backing at home?

The answer is a clear NO. What is also clear is that he will have to sign on the dotted lines or risk alienating the power that, according to his critics and supporters alike, helped cobble the present ruling coalition which he leads.

In either case, prime minister Bhattarai finds himself in a no-win situation.

Failing to live up to the expectations of the most influential foreign country will amount to the end of his utility. Falling in line would amount to allegations of a sell out.

As the euphoria over his “image” dying in no time, the popular support he hopes to bank in times of crisis is unlikely to come about.

If the controversy over ministers Prabhu Sah and Sharat Singh Bhandari badly dented his image, the series of populist measures that he undertook with glee began to backfire after initially positive sparks.

The bubble is about to burst. Most probably after his much talked about India visit.

The countdown has begun. Now the questions doing rounds in the political circles is not whether Bhattarai’s days are numbered. But what after him?

With just a little over a month remaining for the extended CA’s deadline to expire, both the peace process and the constitution-making are in a limbo.

What will happen to the two tasks that the successive prime ministers failed to accomplish in more than three years of the CA elections is not certain yet.

The only thing that is certain in the coming days is: chaos and confusion. Even “the last hope” Baburam Bhattarai’s fate has become immaterial now.


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