The sole mandate behind the formation of the current coalition government was to deliver new constitution within a year. Almost fifteen months have already been since such formation but the constitution-making process is still in the soup.
Without a shadow of doubt, the process remains stuck where the first Constituent Assembly (CA) left off.
It has already been more than two months that the CA proceedings were postponed indefinitely by the ruling parties. The NC and CPN (UML) did so to accommodate the opposition parties in the process of delivering constitution.
However, the ruling parties and the opposition alliance led by UCPN (Maoist) continue to lock their horns over the contentious issues of new constitution especially federalism.
There has been no any mitigation in the acrimony between the two sides over the federal alignment of the disputed Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Kailali and Kanchanpur districts. To resolve the problem, there are some viable options like forming a commission, keeping those districts under the Centre and holding referendums there. But the lack of political prudence amongst the major parties is further compounding the already thorny issue of federalism.
When the opposition bloc cut short its three-day national strike last week, there were some hopes, albeit weak, that the situation would improve to some extent.
But such move has only brought division amongst the alliance itself rather than narrowing down the distrust between the ruling and opposition parties.
The coalition government is leaned towards tiring out the opposition while the latter is no mood to budge an inch from its political stance.
What is really heart wrenching is that Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has so far failed pathetically to prove its leadership.
Of course, the decision of his government to include the Maoist and Madhesi parties in the constitutional process by adjourning the CA proceeding is not wrong. But the possibility of such consensus has become increasingly elusive due to sharp political differences.
Despite this fact, PM Koirala is not making an iota of effort to push for a vote in the CA to draft new constitution through two/thirds majority. “This is something which goes against the mandate of the majority of people expressed through the last CA elections," say experts.
CA chairman Subas Chandra Nembang on Monday provided one week of extra time to the major parties to forge consensus on key issues of the new constitution. However, the possibility of them doing so is tenuous, at best. CPN-UML Chair KP Oli did not attend a meeting held by Nemwang to press the parties to reach consensus. As Oli is holding sway over the current course of politics, his absence in such meeting cannot be dismissed as something insignificant. This clearly suggests that the delivery of new constitution through consensus will continue to remain a mirage.