President should take initiative to break impasse in Nepal

Last Updated: Fri, Aug 24, 2012 12:10 hrs

Senior Nepali Congress leader and former finance and foreign minister, Dr Ram Saran Mahat, today blamed lack of trust among the politicians for the continuing impasse and constitutional crisis in his country.

Dr. Mahat, a five-time finance minister, said it was said that no serious dialogue was going on because of the trust deficit among leaders though all of them have good personal relations.

Participating in a roundtable discussion on "The political transition in Nepal and the way ahead", Dr. Mahat said there was a "total constitutional break-down" in the country as there was no parliament, and since there is no parliament, no member of parliament and no prime minister. And since there is no constitutional government, majority of important constitutional organizations are headless and even the Election Commission would become headless in less than three months. "Even half of the Supreme Court is vacant," he added.

Dr. Mahat described as "prank and fraud" the elections announced for November 22. He said it was not practical to have elections in winter as the hilly regions would be snow-bound. "We never had elections in winter", he said.

The meeting suggested that the practical way-out is for President Ram Baran Yadav to take active role in holding meetings with all political leaders and try to reach some kind of consensus on forming a government which should be asked to revive the Constitutional Assembly (CA) and complete the constitution-making leaving out the "minor" differences over number of provinces and their nomenclatures to a new elected parliament.

Another NC leader, Sujata Koirala, said she was not happy with the stand of her party also as it had also failed to come up with a candidate for the caretaker prime ministership, which the present PM Baburam Bhattarai of the Maoists party was ready to resign. Claiming that the CA had done an excellent work, she said it was good that the constitution was not made in haste. "It needs to be done carefully. Otherwise, it would lead to civil war," she cautioned.

Koirala and Dr. Mahat said the problem was that there were so many aspirants for the prime minister's post.

The NC leaders said the CA has succeeded in reaching agreement in 95 percent of the constitution-making work. The experts agreed that it was a challenge to see that this good work does not go waste.

Dr. Mahat charged the Maoists with playing this game of prolonging the crisis for their "long term" strategy. "There is a purpose behind" why they are keen on continuing with this crisis, he said.

Dr Mahat said the constitutional crisis can be solved through bringing back constitution, reviving the CA for two weeks and finding a successor to PM Bhattarai.

"But this is unlikely to happen as there is a trust deficit," he said, adding now both sides are gearing up for organizing protests though the weather is not suitable for such protests.

Major Genral (Retired) Ashok Mehta, former Ambassador Veena Sikri, Nepal One CEO Nalini Singh and other experts from India and Nepal participated in the roundtable chaired by former Foreign Secretary M.K. Rasgotra, who is now the President of ORF Centre for International Relations. (ANI)

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