First two months: PM’s ‘mixed’ track record

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, Kathmandu
First two months: PM’s ‘mixed’ track record

Apr 29, 2014-

In his first two months in office, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has had a mixed track record. On one hand, he has accomplished some important cross-party successes, such as the passage of the TRC bill and agreement over five major CA committees.

 On the other, he has failed to deliver on some vital fronts, such as nomination of 26 Constituent Assembly members, which was elected as far back as November last year.  

 The PM’s success in promulgation of the law related to Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission on Enforced Disappearance has been much valued in the political circle, said political analyst Puranjan Acharya.  

 His active role in selecting the chairpersons of five CA committees based on consensus has rekindled hope for a timely constitution.

Though there are murmurs of displeasure in the Congress circle, leaders close to Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ram Chandra Poudel say there is no tangible ground to criticise the government yet but it could deliver more if Koirala mended his “working style”, hinting that he could take a more consultative approach inside the party.

They say the PM has given less priority to some pressing issues such as appointing 26 lawmakers. This could lead to a potential political backlash as Parliament and CA are taking some crucial decisions without a full House in place.

The Koirala administration has also paid little attention to resolve some of the pressing bills that are pending in Parliament. Due to the lack of business, the Parliament session ended on Tuesday. Officials at the Parliament Secretariat said the government fulfilled very little responsibility in Parliament.  

Moreover, Koirala has his detractors within the Congress who say he rarely reaches out to senior party colleagues and often takes “unilateral decisions” on important issues.

“He cannot deliver if he occupies both the posts of prime minister and party president,” said NC leader Prakash Saran Mahat, who is close to Deuba. The Deuba faction seeks more responsibility as Koirala is running the government.

The relation between Koirala and his deputy Poudel has soured in recent days after the former did not hand over the post of acting president as he had promised. A day before Koirala was elected as the NC’s Parliamentary Party leader, Poudel insists, the two had reached a gentleman’s understanding that Koirala would run the government and he would run the party as an acting president.

Their relation worsened when Koirala picked Krishna Sitaula ahead of Poudel as the chairman of the Drafting Committee of the CA.

Appointing ambassadors for more than a dozen countries and his team of advisors are other pending tasks. Koirala’s close aides laments he is unwilling to make the appointments for fear of courting controversy.

But the government’s decision to transfer secretaries drew much criticism, with many seeing it as politically motivated. The Koirala Cabinet also drew a flak for hiking the fuel prices.

While he does not have much to show on the good governance, Koirala has maintained a clean image so far. “There are no reports of corruption and irregularities against the Cabinet. His decision to adopt austerity measures is received positively,” said analyst Acharya.

Published: 30-04-2014 08:47

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