After breaking three months of silence, leaders of the country’s three main parties sat together and discussed the ways out of the political impasse. However, the outcome remained the same as all of them agreed to hold the meeting next week to find the elusive political consensus.
Given the recent statements and actions of political forces, there will neither be a fresh election nor the revival of the Constituent Assembly. The formation of a national consensus government by replacing the incumbent prime minister is still a far cry. After taking part in Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran and meeting with Indian counterpart Dr. Manmohan Singh, prime minister Baburam Bhattarai’s confidence has gone up. “I am not against politics of consensus but it should help to settle contentious issues in constitution.”
However, other leaders consider three party meeting was a big achievement. “We have agreed to work in an environment of political consensus to end the present political deadlock. There is no other way than the political consensus to move ahead in the process of consensus making,” said Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel.
From Paudel to Maoist leader Prachanda and CPN-UML leader Ishwor Pokharel, all of them agreed that political consensus is a must in the present context. However, they have their own terms and conditions for political consensus.
UCPN-Maoist leader Prachanda proposed that the political consensus is possible only after the agreement on thorny issues like single identity based ethnic federalism, presidential form of government and such other issues. He also proposed for referendum if it is required. “There is no hesitation in our party to form a national consensus government, revival of Constituent Assembly or fresh elections, if the two parties come with a clear stand on thorny constitutional issues.”
Nepali Congress and CPN-UML hold the view that resignation of prime minister is the first step to find political consensus. “Everything is possible once the national consensus government is formed replacing the present government led by Baburam Bhattarai,” said Sushil Koirala. “We don’t have any objection to revive the CA or contest the elections after formation of national consensus government.”
The conclusion of the meeting of three major political parties did not survive a day. While returning from Tehran, prime minister Bhattarai made it clear that there is no question for resignation as long as there is a clear cut agenda for constitution writing. “I don’t want to stick to power for long. However, I will resign only after there is consensus,” said Bhattarai.
As politics is game of competitiveness, no body understands how leaders of political parties find consensus. Until the consensus is found, prime minister Bhattarai knows there is no replacement for him.