Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Upendra Yadav's Options

Prachanda's Mistake
  • The issue has not been if Katuwal is a good guy or a bad guy. (Gurung Not Katawal For Army Chief August 2006)
  • The issue has not been if he should be sacked.
  • Prachanda messed up on the procedure.
  • He had to get all his coalition partners to agree. He did not do that.
  • After all his coalition partners had agreed, he needed to send his decision to the president. He bypassed the president. He messed up again.
  • The president then would have had the option to send the decision back to the cabinet for reconsideration.
  • The cabinet would have had the option then to send it back to the president. At that point the president would have had no option but to send the decision to the army chief.
  • Thereby the Army Chief would have been duly sacked.
Prachanda's Continued Mistake
  • Then prime minister Prachanda did what he did.
  • The president did what he did.
  • The president's decision has been challenged in court.
  • The parliament, Prachanda and Madhav Nepal should give the court space.
  • Rule of law asks for that.
The Court's Mistake
  • The Supreme Court needed to decide right away if the president's move was unconstitutional or not as alleged.
  • My understanding is the president's move was legitimate. It was the prime minister who bypassed due process in two major ways.
  • But it is for the Supreme Court to make that announcement.
Madhav Nepal's Mistakes
  • Madhav Nepal waited for his own party to decide which members of the UML will participate in the government. He extended that same courtesy to the Nepali Congress, to the TMLP, and the SP. Because that is how it gets done in parliamentary democracy.
  • But he went ahead and appointed Bijay Gachhedar to his cabinet without waiting for the MJF to officially send a list of people to join the cabinet. The MJF had already decided to participate in the government with both Yadav and Gachhedar holding major cabinet portfolios.
  • What Madhav Nepal did was against the basic norms of parliamentary democracy.
  • Madhav Nepal has proven there is as much danger to democracy in the country from Madhav Nepal as there might be from Prachanda.
  • Madhav Nepal made another big mistake.
  • He withdrew Prachanda's decision to sack Katuwal. That decision by Prachanda was under due consideration by the Supreme Court. A Prime Minister can not thus overrule the Supreme Court. It has been for the Supreme Court to decide on Prachanda's decision.
The Current Coalition's Big Political Mistakes
Upendra Yadav's Options
  • Perhaps Upendra Yadav's original sin was to bring into the MJF the corrupt Congress faces like Bijay Gachhedar and Sharad Singh Bhandari.
  • Or his second mistake was to not himself have become the parliamentary party leader after the April 2008 election.
  • His continued mistake might have been that his leadership style has not been as consultative as it should be. (The MJF Must Stay Intact, Putting The MJF Fire Out, MJF: Is Reconciliation Possible?, The MJF Drama)
  • Whether by naked Indian embassy intervention (and the Pahadis think Madhesis are Indians!) or by simply buying out MPs and central committee members or by happily playing into the hands of the Pahadi ruling class or all of the above, Bijay Gachhedar has proven he is capable of bringing about a vertical split in the MJF.
  • It is for Upendra Yadav to decide if it makes sense to seek reconciliation with Gachhedar or to go his separate way.
  • At this juncture to seek reconciliation would be to say, okay Jhala Nath Khanal is UML president, but he is not in the cabinet, Girija is NC president, but he is not in the cabinet, neither Mahanth Thakur nor Hridayesh Tripathy are in the cabinet. And so Upendra Yadav is also going to stay out of the cabinet for now and instead seek party unity.
  • This might be Upendra Yadav's best option. He should lose this small battle to later win the war.
  • After reunifying the party then Upendra Yadav should work with Prachanda for the formation of an all party national unity government and bring it about in a few months' time.
  • In politics six months are a long, long time.
  • Keeping the party intact at any cost might be Upendra Yadav's best option at this point.
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