Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Is NC-UML alliance possible?


A straightforward response to the question will be: No. Not possible, at least, in the present context.

Underlying factors

Basically, there are two underlying factors behind NC-UML alliance.

First, people in general are sick and tired with frequent changes in government. Within two months, we are now having a new government. The change in government means changes in bureaucracy, security apparatus, diplomatic missions and even major policy shifts. This has irritated many quarters.

NC-UML coalition can at least give a sense of political stability in the country and do away with haggling by Lilliputian political parties. The mutual bickering of big and small parties have brought the country to the brink. This absurdity has gone to such an extent that even a party with a lone seat in the parliament is demanding it to be declared the main opposition party, forget about the country being ruled by a political party that secured distant third position in the last elections.

Recently, parliamentary proceedings have to be stalled simply because two biggies – NC and UML – both wanted to occupy oppositional seats in the parliament. Why can’t they compete to form a government together?

Second, those favouring NC-UML alliance have deeper motive in punishing the guy called Prachanda. They blame him to be crux of the problem of the country. Since his entry in electoral politics, he is playing NC and UML balls, one against the other, creating political havoc. He is at the same time enjoying all the benefits of a hung parliament situation. This guy needs to be punished and that is possible only when NC-UML collaborate.

Track record

Historically speaking, Nepal’s autocratic monarchy survived and thrived for three decades (1960-1990) simply because of rivalry and animosity between Congressis and Communists. If they had collaborated together Nepal would have seen democracy way back in 1980, not in 1990. In 1980, we had a referendum, giving public the option to choose between “reformed panchayat” or “multiparty democracy”. If some sections of the communists boycotted referendum then others voted in favour of reformed panchayat as a political vendetta against Nepali Congress’s anti-communist stand. Pro-multiparty democrats were defeated by a margin leading to pro-monarchists turning into tyrants.

The first people’s movement launched in 1990 got successful only after a joint collaboration between Nepali Congress and communist alliance. The movement successfully abolished monarchy-led panchayat regime and was replaced by constitutional monarchy.

Again, in second people’s movement in 2006, we saw a repetition of similar feat i.e., joint collaboration between congress and communists that successfully abolished monarchy and helped to introduce federal, democratic and republic Nepal. These track records indicate possibility of NC-UML collaboration.

NC-UML coalition can at least give a sense of political stability in the country and do away with haggling by Lilliputian political parties.

Assumptions and presumptions

There are some assumptions or presumptions behind ultimate formation of NC-UML alliance. Here are some of my pickings:

Assumption 1: On 9 March, UML candidate Subash Chandra Nemwang will be elected the new president because UML has (discretely) assured NC candidate Ram Chandra Paudel to be the next prime minister. This will say “bye-bye” to Prachanda and set a new beginning for NC-UML collaboration.

Assumption 2: Paudel will be elected the new president and Prachanda will fail to garner confidence vote in the parliament or he will be voted out. Ultimately, this will switch to the formation of coalition government from 76(2) to 76(3), that is, the government by the largest party and, in this case, we will see Deuba sitting in the chair of the PM. Again, this heralds possibility of NC-UML collaboration. At this point, NC and UML would have settled their scores with Prachanda.

Assumption 3:  If above two assumptions do not work, the Speaker from UML will seek to disrupt house proceedings – a kind of sabotage situation to harass PM Prachanda from working. PM Prachanda is not and will not have an easy time running the country. Ultimately, he will be forced to quit and this means the formation of NC-UML coalition government.

Assumption 4: External forces at play or desi-bidesi chalkhel. Well, this assumption is held by people who believe “whatever happens in Nepal it is because of foreign hands”. They see the whole drama unfolding at the moment is due to desi (please read it to mean Indian, not national) and bidesi (foreign) forces. Once the forces in the South, North and West are settled, everything will be settled here as well.

Let me conclude here from the point I started at the beginning: No. Not possible to have NC-UML alliance. NC-UML alliance is possible only when there is clear and present danger of a third force to destroy both of them. Though rajabadis are creating some disturbing “noises” they are not strong enough to be heard by NC and UML stalwarts. This means there is no eminent threat or common enemy at the moment. In the absence of this situation, NC-UML collaboration is bad for democracy. An inherent interest of a democrat is to pray for a fight between NC and UML, rather pray for a fair fight.

Published on 2 March 2023