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Editorial: NC should be transparent

Editorial: NC should be transparent
The Nepali Congress must come clean about its intention behind giving the vote of confidence to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Dahal already had 169 aye votes in the 275-member parliament to sail through Tuesday’s floor test, and yet, the NC threw its weight behind Dahal, effectively rendering the House without an opposition party. In a functioning parliamentary system, the presence of the opposition is vital. It acts as an alternative government in waiting and holds the government to account.

The NC, which takes pride in calling itself a proponent of democratic values and parliamentary practice, has made a mockery of the very things it says it stands for.

The NC, despite winning the most number of seats in the Nov 20 parliamentary election, could not be part of a post-poll ruling alliance because NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba refused to concede the prime minister’s office to Dahal as per their previous agreement. But when the third-placed Maoist Center joined forces with the UML and other fringe forces to form a government, the NC was stunned. The party not only lost its primacy at the center, it also lost its prospect of forming governments in the provinces. This is all Deuba’s doing. His desire to become prime minister for the sixth time led the NC to this situation. Now, by giving the trust vote to Dahal, Deuba is trying to dig out of the hole he has created for himself and his party. There are reports that Deuba is planning to reap political benefits by pitting the Maoists and the UML against each other. Deuba’s aversion to sitting on the opposition aisle is not new. In 2018, after the formation of a powerful government led by the erstwhile Nepal Communist Party (NCP), Deuba had faced criticism for trying to align with KP Sharma Oli of the UML to land some constitutional appointments. His decision to vote for the Dahal government in the recent vote of confidence has not sat well with some NC leaders. As Deuba holds sway in the party, he arm-twisted the disagreeing leaders into towing his line. A series of missteps by Deuba has not only created internal rift within the NC, the party is also at the risk of losing its supporters. Deuba would do well to switch to damage control mode before it’s too late.