A day after spending 55 minutes on his nationally televised address, caretaker Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai left for Iran to attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit on Wednesday. He will now have all the necessary ingredients for his presentation at the NAM summit, a good opportunity to let the international community know that he is serious about building consensus among the parties and has been making serious efforts in solving the current political and constitutional crisis. His claims of successes during his tenure and his ‘commitment’ on consensus building will certainly give a rosy picture internationally. The situation, however, is just the opposite back home.
Bhattarai, in his address to the nation, claimed credit for whatever good has happened during his tenure, but rested all the blame on Nepali Congress and CPN-UML for all the bad that’s taken place. Bhattarai sounded like a politician who can only get ahead at the expense of others. The address came a day after the country’s three major parties—UCPN (Maoist), NC and CPN-UML—theoretically agreed that there is no option than to moving ahead together. But in his address, Bhattarai once again blamed the opposition for the current crisis, terming them status-quoists, and pointed at their non-cooperation in his efforts to deliver peace, constitution, prosperity and relief to the people. The opposition for its part termed Bhattarai’s accusation nothing more than a cheap trick to hide his failure and to prolong his tenure in office.
It is strange that Bhattarai continues to engage in a blame game that has hindered whatever trust-building efforts have been made till date. He should have instead have clearly spelled out the options to overcome the current crisis. Bhattarai said in his address that he would not stick to his post if a new government was formed in a legitimate manner but was quick to add that stepping down in the current constitutional void would further complicate the situation. One thing is for sure: This ifs and buts would definitely not help improve the situation. At a time when the opposition parties are engaged with his party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to build consensus, Bhattarai’s claims and blames could spoil possible understanding.
The opposition NC and CPN-UML, if they really believe Bhattarai’s address was yet another ploy to stay in power, should start negotiation afresh and reach an understanding as soon as possible to replace Bhattarai with a consensus government. There has been positive development on integration, as the Special Committee has decided to restart the process on September 6. The necessity now is not to get entrenched in this never-ending blame-game but to engage in fruitful dialogue to find a solution to the contentious issues in constitution-making and to create an environment for fresh CA polls.
Bhattarai’s decision to address the nation was an opportunity to give a better picture of Nepal at the NAM summit, which would help reassure the international community of his government’s efforts towards finding a solution. Whether this would also give a position spin to the current Nepali politics would be seen only after his return