Since the completion of three levels of elections, Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML have not had cordial relations. The two major parties have publicly denounced each other’s decisions, and UML chair KP Oli has vowed to reverse some of the recent decisions of Sher Bahadur Deuba’s government. This does not bode well for the larger good of the country. The two biggest parties must work closely to carry on the humongous task of implementing the new constitution. Deuba’s caretaker government has not consulted with UML before making decisions that could potentially have far reaching consequences. For example, the government announced monthly elderly allowances for those above 65, reducing the eligibility age from 70. This will add more than seven billion of extra burdens to our annual budget. The decision to provide additional Rs 100,000 to the earthquake survivors will likewise cost billions more to the state treasury. Decisions like these will be hard to reverse, for the government in power will be seen rather mean and even anti-people.
Major political parties must also unite and have a uniform voice on bilateral and international issues. If parties differ on ways to deal with India and China, they must sort out the issues before presenting a united front. That will make our job of dealing with two powerful neighbors easier. We have to be mindful of their interest and ensure our national interest in dealing with the neighbors. Parties’ different stance on ways to view China and India could have costly consequences for both short and long-term vitality of the country. Besides, we will have to ensure effective implementation of the new constitution as well. The new government will have to take bold decisions, and it will be imperative that the main opposition party be kept in the loop. With proper consultation with NC, the new federal government should not go ahead with important international treaties and national projects with lasting impact. Issues of Nijgadh International Airport, Budhi Gandaki Project need unified voice domestically so that it increases our leverage while dealing with those interested to carry on such projects.
Therefore, UML and NC should develop healthy relations so that days ahead will not be hard. One of the beauties of our democratic exercise has been the ability of the political parties to come to table and sort out the differences even when they seemed to be sharply divided over certain issues. This culture has saved us from big disasters in the last decade or so. We like to see that tradition continue in the days ahead as well. Political parties compete with each other during the elections and adopt strategies to woo the voters. This is natural in a democracy. But unfortunately our major political actors are very poor in handling issues of crucial national importance with neighbors and other international community. Irrespective of political allegiance, our leaders have failed time and again in this connection. When they disagree on vital national issues, politics takes an ugly turn. Parties then start to project each other as enemies and start blaming each other for their inability to deliver. This must change. Now is the time to work together to ensure prosperity and wellbeing of the people.