The Jhala Nath Khanal-led government has completed its honeymoon period today without giving even an iota of hope that the ongoing processes of peace and statute drafting will be completed any time soon.
Khanal, who as the chairman of CPN (UML) is known to have intentionally toppled the previous Madhav Kumar Nepal's government, became successful in assuming the executive post on the sole backing of his popular slogan – the first priority of the government will be to guarantee peace and constitution.
For him Feb 3 was a miracle. Following a secret seven-point deal with UCPN (Maoist) chairman Puspha Kamal Dahal, Khanal was able to become the country’s prime minister replacing the government run by his own leader.
However, people are not yet convinced of PM Khanal’s commitment to peace and constitution as he has been unable to achieve anything special even after the completion of 100 days in power, except, of course, shifting from his private residence at Dallu to luxurious residence at Baluwatar.
Due to the controversial seven-point deal, PM Khanal has still been facing criticism inside his own party, mostly from the faction led by K.P Sharma Oli and Nepal as well as the main opposition party the Nepali Congress.
Even other parties in opposition including the United Democratic Madhesi Font have started to vehemently oppose and criticize the seven-point deal. This is why the Khanal's government took more than a month to get a full shape.
Analysts say, he lost all his energy just to give a full-shape to the cabinet and in the process consumed more time than what he actually needed in such a simple task. The battle to bring in Madhesi Janadhikar Forum in the government was tougher than what he had earlier thought of. And still some ministers have not taken the oath of office.
"Looking at Khanal’s 100 days in power, people have found that it nothing better than what they saw during Madhav Kumar Nepal's government," senior journalist Dhruva Hari Adhikari comments.
Journalist Adhikari even claims that the situation has become worse now. "Infact, the situation of the country during Madhav Kumar Nepal's tenure as the prime minister was far better."
During the government's honeymoon period, the peace process received lesser attention. PM Khanal was able to call just two meetings of the Army Integration Special Committee. The modality and number of Maoist PLA to be integrated have still remained uncertain.
In the past 100 days, the government has declared that it would bring energy crisis to an end by gradually reducing the number of load shedding hours the nation has been facing since a long time. However, there is no basis for people to get assured of this from Khanal's government immediately. Well-trumpeted slogan of generating at least 2500 MW in the next three years has turned into a mere slogan as no action has been initiated in that regard.
NC leader Krishna Prasad Situala wants PM Khanal to resign as he claims he is wasting prime time by remaining in such an executive post without being able to do anything concrete to ensure peace and statute.
Sitaula says,"The time is crucial and he needs to decide to resign immediately to pave the way for a national consensus government that can guarantee peace and constitution."
As regards to the constitution drafting, there were some agreements on the controversial issues seen at various thematic committees due mostly because of a sub-committee headed by Maoist chairman Dahal. However, there are several agendas that still remains pending and which is sure to take a long time to settle.
Right after PM Khanal’s return from Turkey, the government proposed an amendment proposal for extending the Constituent Assembly's deadline by one more year. And now the prime minister is seen busy in convincing other parties in favour of the proposal. However, even the party in coalition, the Unified CPN (Maoist), has criticised this decision accusing him of proceeding ahead unilaterally.
As claimed by NC leader Sitaula, people had great deal of expectations from Khanal-led government despite knowing its capability. This is why, it can be said here that Khanal's days ahead are not as easy as he thinks. The present situation gives a very different scenario for every citizen concerned towards the logical conclusion of the ongoing peace process and promulgation of new statute within May 28. nepalnews.com