PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal and former PM and NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba
Surviving on support from Nepali Congress and Madheshi parties, prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has started walking on a tight rope. Along with fulfilling the wishes of Nepali Congress leaders, prime minister Dahal has to fulfill the commitments he has made to Madheshis in amending the constitution to change the provincial boundaries.
In his first plea, prime minister Dahal was able to convince Madheshis, who were boycotting the Legislature Parliament for almost year, to vote him in ousting CPN-UML leader K.P Sharma Oli as prime minister.
As per the promises made by him, prime minister Dahal has already announced the package as demanded by Madheshi leaders. His second important and most difficult task will be to table the constitution amendment bill, which requires CPN-UML’s support to get through.
Madheshi Front has been demanding seven amendments in the constitution to make it acceptable. The demands include alteration of provincial boundaries, citizenship provisions and issues of inclusive in the constitution.
As CPN-UML is opposing all these moves, prime minister Dahal’s political caliber will be tested here. If prime minister Dahal wins the two major parties to amend the constitution, it will be his major political victory.
“As we promised, we voted Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal in his contest for the prime minister's post. Now, it is the turn of prime minister Dahal to fulfill his commitments,” said Laxman Lal Karna, co-chair of Sadbhavana Party.
Alongside the political crisis, another of his crisis is to expand the cabinet as soon as possible to show a sense of stability. Despite his claim to provide a stable government, the path before prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is bumpy as he is facing challenges in the cabinet expansion.
Prime Minister Dahal himself seemed to be confused over his position. In his interview with Nepal Television, prime minister Dahal rejected any gentlemen's agreement with Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba over sharing of power in nine months. “I have not made any gentlemen's agreement on such matters,” said prime minister Dahal.
However, NC stalwarts who made this new political alliance possible have openly said that NC and Maoists had arrived at a gentlemen's agreement over changing the guards in nine months.
Although a week has already passed, the rows in his own party and ruling coalition Nepali Congress are creating trouble for Dahal in cabinet expansion. If the present political stalemate drags on, it is unlikely help PM Dahal do his best during his 2nd innings in the high office.
Although pressure is growing on three major political parties to work together for constitution's implementation, there is a little hope now as CPN-UML leader K.P. Sharma Oli is waiting for appropriate time to take revenge with prime minister Dahal.
“I will work in the interest of the nation. I don’t have any other interest than to bring peace and prosperity for the country,” said prime minister Dahal. "There is the need of unity among the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN - Maoist Center for the implementation of the constitution and economic prosperity.”
“Implementation of the Constitution with an amendment, holding local, provincial and federal elections, conclusion of peace process and bringing effectiveness and progress in public service would be the major priorities of the government,” said prime minister Dahal.
Given the present scenario, prime minister Dahal will expand his cabinet in a week, accommodating small parties, NC leaders and his own party leaders. However, this will not be enough to give a long life to his government.