By Baleshwar Agrawal
THE Deuba government was dismissed by King Gyanen-dra in October 2002 as it was considered to be incompetent and it was not in a position to hold the elections for the Parliament within the scheduled time.
A caretaker government with Shri Lokendra Bahadur Chand was set up, which continued for about nine months, but could neither form an all party government nor it could expedite the election process. Shri Surya Bahadur Thapa, who had been Prime Minister on several occasions earlier, was then entrusted with the responsibility of solving the Maoist problem and for making preparation for the elections. Though a very able administrator, he could not get the support of the main political parties as he continued to lead a one-party government.
The main parliamentary parties have launched an agitation against the King”s ´regression´ and are further intensifying it. Quite recently, students of educational institutions joined the confrontation in large numbers and are demonstrating on the road. It has taken a violent turn on many occasions and the police had to use force, injuring a large number of people.
India and USA have been advising, both the King and the political leaders, to make adjust-ments and agree for an interim government which could deal with the Maoist problem and also make arrangements for an early poll.
It is a good sign that King Gyanendra has started meeting the political leaders in order to defuse the tension and to find a solution to the problem. It is not understood as to why the King is not meeting the political leaders jointly and asking them to decide on the person who could lead the interim government.
It is understood that the King has indicated that anyone other than Shri Girija Prasad Koirala or Shri Madhav Nepal was acceptable to him if it was decided by consensus among the political parties.
The delay in unification of the Deuba Congress with the Nepali Congress is also causing uneasiness among all quarters. The only breakthrough was seen when Shri Girija Prasad Koirala agreed to meet Shri Sher Bahadur Deuba after a long interval. It has not however yielded the result so far as expected by all friends of Nepal.
The possibility is that Shri Sher Bahadur Deuba will be asked to lead the interim government and is likely to be assisted by three deputy Prime Ministers, one each from Nepali Congress, UML and Praja-tantra Party. It will have a two-point programme?deal with the Maoists effectively and hold the elections within a year.
The Government of India has been already assisting the Nepal government with arms and ammuni-tions and training their army to be able to meet the challenge from the Maoist.
The Nepal King and political leaders are expected to rise to the occasion for preserving integrity of Nepal, multi-party democracy and constitutional monarchy. The future of Nepal depends on the attitude of the main players at the moment.
It has been also suggested that a post in the PMO (Indian Prime Minister”s Office) be created where one senior person is entrusted the task of co-ordinating all inputs received from MEA and security agencies. The person should have a complete background of Nepal and should have direct contact with the Nepali leaders. He could chalk out the policy on the subject for consideration of the government.