Governance should be based on principles, not partisan interests. With the intent of strengthening his government, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is bringing an ordinance to make it easier to split political parties. During the tenure of KP Oli, his predecessor at Singha Durbar, Deuba as the leader of the main opposition had principally opposed a similar ordinance. This act of hypocrisy suggests the new prime minister is no different from Oli, at least when it comes to misusing the PMO’s powers for personal gains. Moreover, such acts are a threat to our democratic process.
Even during his four previous tenures as prime minister, Deuba was never far from controversy. He was among a clutch of post-1990 politicians who initiated the culture of offering inducements to MPs to bolster the ruling coalition. Even parties with a single seat in parliament got cabinet berths. The latest ordinance has similar aims. Again, this is precisely the kind of naked opportunism that contributed to the unpopularity of the previous government.
Our government representatives seem to have learned little from their previous mistakes. They are still tone-deaf to public criticism and feel entitled to do pretty much as they please. Deuba undoubtedly has an eye on the Nepali Congress general convention in November-end. He wants to use all tools at his disposal to ensure that he is the prime minister going into the general convention. In his calculation, it will then be easier for him to engineer his way back to the party presidency.
Reactionary forces couldn’t be happier. They are trying to remind the public of the ‘golden days’ under a constitutional monarchy and Hindu state. Public memory is short. Our political leaders have been so brazen and shameless in their actions, a sizable section of the public is starting to rethink.
The allure of a benevolent dictator is an ever-present phenomenon in Nepali politics. Especially if our main political parties go into elections with current leaderships and their stale agendas, the rise of reactionary forces is a distinct possibility. Such foresight, alas, is in short supply among our top leaders.