Kathmandu,14 Feb 2015: A ‘tryst’ is not unusual on Valentine’s Day but what the fate has done may come somewhat of a ‘shock’ to the Nepali public eagerly awaiting the gift of a new constitution.
The main opposition, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on ‘February 14′ paid a call on Prime Minister Sushil Koirala at latter’s residence in Baluwatar to resume talks which had withdrawn into the recesses of a cold-war like numbness and seething anger a month back. The sudden resumption of dialogue between the two heads of polarized segments of Nepali politics that took place on Valentine’s Day has instilled a new ray of hope among the people that it would usher in a new budding prospect of a new constitution.
The Valentine’s Day traditionally is symbolic of a day evoking love, harmony and reconciliation during which two lovers of indistinct gender express their love for one another by providing gifts and sticks of roses and exchange love.
The meeting held on this day between the two warring factions has intimated that the ruling and the opposition parties have exchanged views to inhibit the growing animosity and calm the turbulence that threatens to override the people’s aspirations of a new constitution and plunge the nation into the dark uncharted territories of renewed confrontation.
The meeting has given the people a new light of hope for creating an atmosphere of love and affection among the parties’ relations that has soured in recent times. The attraction towards renewing dialogue seen between septuagenarian PM Koirala and UCPN (Maoist) Chair and convenor of the 30-party alliance Dahal, in his sixth decade, is indeed likely to herald a prospect for a constitution resonant of love.
The seeming rift among ruling parties and the opposition materialized into a standoff on January 25 when the former decided to form a Proposal Committee, a step formalizing the start of voting process to decide on the contentious issues. The people were wary if the parties would retract on their respective unconscionable commitment and resume dialogue. The people’s suspicion was cast aside on Valentine’s Day which has promised to inspire the political leaders to have a sense of political maturity.
The first dialogue after a protracted silence has created a platform of reconciliation at a time when the ruling parties have indicated they would press with voting process and the opposition with phase-wise agitation programmes to forestall the attempt to put disputed issues to vote.
The leaders of the various political parties have welcomed the dialogue held between PM Koirala and UCPN (Maoist) Chair as a positive step forward. “The two responsible leaders of the country have accepted the importance of the Valentine’s Day and resumed dialogue, and both the sides must understand that agreement can be reached through dialogue and talks in a democratic system,” said Sarita Giri of Nepal Sadhbhawana Party (Ananda Devi).
Stating that there was no alternative to consensus for an outlet to the ongoing political deadlock given the country’s geopolitical, social and economic condition, she argued that the conflict between CPN (UML) and UCPN (Maoist) is to be blamed for this morass.
“It’s high time the NC proves its political mettle and runs a positive intervention to resolve the differences among the parties,” he added.
On the other hand, Amrita Thapa Magar, a leader of CPN (Maoist) painted a grim picture on prospect of the delivery of a new constitution as she believed the current Constitution Assembly would be put to a litmus test while accomplishing its mandate.
Furthermore, she argued that it was imperative to forge consensus among the political parties although she was skeptical if the impasse resulting from the contentious issues would be resolved and the agitation put off simply because of some leaders has started interaction.
Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav setting an optimistic tone said that an environment for consensus would be created provided the ruling parties appealed with the other parties with pledges to address the past agreements.
Chitra Bahadur KC, Chairman of the Rastirya Janamorcha, reacted to the renewed dialogue stating that the UCPN (Maoist) stance on recognizing consensus in view of their party’s interest as against democratic principle.
KC was of the view that there was no point of holding country hostage of indecisiveness, especially in the context when the process to garner consensus in the disputed issues of a new constitution has been initiated.
Today’s meeting between Koirala and Dahal, coinciding with the Valentine’s day, has shown that there is no alternative to reconciliation and negotiations, said Khim Lal Devkota, UCPN-Maoist leader.
Devkota said, “A new constitution based on consensus is not far if the leaders are determined to seek an outlet to the deadlock in a constructive manner by holding intensive interaction like this.”
It can be believed that the country could soon find an outlet if the leaders, despite adhering to the different ideologies and sticking to their own stances lately, make a positive effort to come to terms like the one today. It could further reaffirm the people’s belief that everything is fair in love and politics, but in a positive manner.
By Ramesh Lamsal and Narayan Neupane