Ending months of intra-party wrangling and speculation about the future of the largest political party in the country, Mohan Baidya Kiran finally split the party, taking away about forty five central committee members and around seventy members of the dissolved CA.The new party is called UCPN Maoist. Notwithstanding Prachand’s success in retaining a large number of central committee and CA members, the splinter party, headed by Baidya and with Badal,C P Gajural and Biplab sitting on key functional positions, does not appear weak in its physical clashes with the mother party. Clashes are ensuing between the two parties over the possession and use of facilities so far possessed by UCPN Maoist. Of the numerous clashes, the one that took place in Chitawan district was a violent one, which involved use of fire arms and ended up injuring scores of workers from both sides. Property issue does not seem to be easily resolvable in the rich party with its own buildings in over thirty six districts. Frequent occurrence of these kinds of clashes could nullify the acts of leaders like Mahara who have initiated efforts to bring Prachanda and Kiran together. There is no dearth, however, of people who think that the two parties may merge before the elections, but what they are not sure about is whether current caretaker Prime Minister will continue to be with them in the event of Prachand and Kiran shaking hands to come together. In the number game, heads of ex CA members are still counted to determine the strength of various parties, despite the fact that the political mess that the country is in today is often blamed on them, albeit unjustifiably.Parchanda must be happy that his is the largest party today and will remain so even if the dead CA is resurrected. It may be mentioned that demand for resurrection of CA is on the rise within major parties such as NC and UML and top leaders of almost all the parties, including an initially hesitant Baburam, have expressed their willingness in favour of reinstatement. However, consensus will have to be reached on disputed issues prior to the resurrection so that much time is not wasted in dispute settlement in the CA that is desired to have a short life span. Another event that attracted the attention of the nation post CA demise was the formation of a new party by Senior Leader of Forum Democratic, Sharat Singh Bhandari, who was expelled from the Gachhadar-led party couple of weeks after Bhandari’s withdrawal as defense minister from the current dispensation. The creation of National Madhesi Socialist Party with Bhandari as its chairman has failed to deliver meaningful blows to Gachhadar and his party as of now as stalwarts of the party succeeded in arresting the erosion that would otherwise take a heavy toll on the party. One thing shared amongst leaders of Forum is that Gachhadar should bring about changes in his style of operating the party if it has to be saved from being a party of a particular community in the country. Current events also suggest that Forum Republic is all set for a vertical split. In keeping with their tradition, it is believed that these parties will continue to split because it has done them well, despite erosion in the image of leaders, as far as bagging lucrative ministerial positions in different governments over time is concerned. Some more parties are likely to be registered in the Election Commission, which sees no possibility of holding election in November as desired by Prime Minister Bhattari.
Political consensus is a must not only to resolve the political stalemate but also to make public the budget for the next fiscal year that has only couple of days left to begun.Nobody, Supreme Court and President included, wants the country to come to a grinding halt in the absence of a budget but the fact that worries most of us is lack of concerted efforts to bring the fiscal budget through consensus. Opposition leaders have made it clear umpteen times that any attempt at bringing the full-fledged budget will be strongly protested. A seemingly worried President has recently urged Prachanda to take special initiative to clear the impasse so that the budget for the fiscal year 2012\13 could be brought on time and a consensus government could be installed without much delay. Nobody is expecting the budget to provide panacea to the burning problems of the economy such as huge trade deficit, rising prices and scarcity of items ranging from fertilizer to drinking water and electricity, but the problem that lack of budget will create in case of low-salaried government employees cannot be ignored by anyone. The dwindling export, about 4 percent of gdp,and swollen imports,petrolium import alone constituting around 6 percent of gdp,amply demonstrate the pitiable state of our external sector. No better is the condition of the manufacturing sector accounting for 5 percent of gdp.The duo (Bhattari and Pune) must understand that people expect them to talk about growth, employment generation, etc and not much about windfalls such as positivity in balance of payment position (bop) and rise in foreign exchange reserves, which are outside the purview of the Ministry of Finance. Further, one may wish to ask the concerned authorities to state which particular policy formulated and implemented by them resulted in a massive influx into the country of remittances, the major contributor to bop and foreign exchange reserves. Those sitting to forge consensus on budget for the coming fiscal year may wish to ask the duo to put before public targets and achievements of the current budget implemented by them. More specifically, they need to be grilled on progress related to programme and policies. Current and would be finance ministers have to be made more accountable and they should now realize that people cannot be fooled into accepting their buffoonery promises made at the time of budget presentation.
Prime Minister Bhattari must realize that political parties have no alternative to reaching consensus on the issues of constitution, government, election and budget and wind is blowing gently in favor of Nepali Congress to lead the next government.People, therefore, expect him to be cooperative and avoid making incongruous statements, defaming opposition leaders, such as the one he made at the airport on arrival from Brazil where he attended the fruitless summit on environment, Rio+20.Being at odds on major political issues with his own Chairman and other leaders will definitely not do him good. In the present confusing scenario, one wonders what President Yadav would do if he is confronted by more than 300 hundred ex CA members with a written note asking him to facilitate formation of the next government.Honourable President may kindly remember that their heads are still counted and they are not totally weightless.
Dr. Rawal is a former governor of NRB and former CA member.