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Nepal : The Political Counter Coup
|by Col. Rahul K. Bhonsle|
The shift in Nepal from revolutionary war that consumed almost a generation to electoral polity in 2006 surprised many. With Gyanendra, forsaking his crown as well as the palace last month, the turn around appeared complete. But long time Nepal watchers are skeptical of the changes, for the politics of the paharis and the madhesis complicated by many janjatis, whose aspirations have sky rocketed in the past few years seems to have added new impetus to the normal twists and turns of polity in Kathmandu After protracted negotiations for constitutional amendments which prevented meeting of the Constitutional Assembly in the first week of July, Nepal's legislative leaders finally succeeded in electing Dr Ram Baran Yadav of Nepal Congress as the President, Madhesi People's Rights Forum candidate Paramananda Jha as the Vice President, and Subash Chandra Nemwang, as chairman of the Constituent Assembly (CA), the last one unopposed.
With nomination of the President and the Vice President from Madhes the political equations in Nepal have shifted considerably. The Madhesi parties are making their voices felt and this would be a good thing for continuing harmony in the country. However as the President has pointed out, there is a need to ensure that issues such as the Vice President's vote in Hindi should not vitiate the atmosphere.
Addressing the nation the newly elected first President of the republic, Dr Ram Baran Yadav, said on 27 July, 'Respectable Nepali brothers and sisters, right now we are preparing to sketch the fate of Nepal and Nepali people and we have a big challenge of drafting a new constitution within in next two years. It is the need of the hour for all the political parties representing the Constituent Assembly (CA) and Nepali people to collectively move forward to overcome the challenge.'
Very clearly there is a cloud over government formation in Nepal. One positive outcome may be mainstreaming of Madhes parties while in other cases it may lead to increased complications. The Maoists find themselves out of the decision making loop as the coalition of the Nepal Congress, MPRF and CPN UML seems to have ensured that they garner majority. The Maoists however are not likely to give up the fight easily. They would now have to work extremely hard to compromise with other parties for the trust has been effectively broken and the Nepal Congress, CPN UML and Madhesi Party union has brought about a change in the political configuration in Nepal in just a few days. Probably the Maoists did not bargain for such a situation wherein the relative losers in the elections could cobble a majority.
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