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Editorial: KP Oli’s misgivings

Editorial: KP Oli’s misgivings

CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli feels aggrieved that the media does not do enough to rein in the excesses of the Sher Bahadur Deuba government. In a meeting with editors on September 28, he said the previous government he led had benefited from the media’s scrutiny. It is thus incumbent on the media to similarly hold the new government to account. He was particularly unhappy about the ‘little’ media coverage on the Deuba government’s undemocratic ordinance brought with the sole purpose of ‘splitting’ the UML party.

But the mainstream and even smaller media outlets have mostly condemned Deuba’s bypassing of the parliament in his introduction of an ordinance that made it easier for political parties to split. The common theme in these reported pieces and editorials is that the Deuba government appears no better than its error-prone predecessor. Post-1990, Nepali media have always been critical of the incumbent government, irrespective of the parties in power. And rightly so, as the rulers over the years have invariably trampled on democratic norms in the pursuit of personal goals.

Also read: Editorial: PM Deuba, missing in action

Frankly, given the excesses of the Oli government—including its disbanding of the parliament on dubious constitutional grounds, twice—Deuba’s mistakes seem benign by comparison. It’s common knowledge that Deuba as government head has many failings. But while people had high expectations of the two-thirds government Oli led, they expect little from Deuba. Doubts are already creeping in about whether Deuba can successfully conduct the three-tier elections, which was his only mandate.

Oli crying wolf at Deuba’s wrongdoings would have been more credible had his own government heeded the media’s voice. Whatever the opinion-makers and media houses said, PM Oli was determined to have his way. So rather than asking the media to do its job, Oli, as the leader of the main opposition, should play a more constructive role in ensuring that the parliament resumes its business and this government successfully conducts the elections. Dissolving the parliament now, which Oli seems intent on, would only invite more uncertainty, and make timely polls less, not more, likely.