Deuba’s departure leaves mixed legacy

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Feb 16, 2018-

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba resigned on Thursday leaving a mixed political legacy at a time when he was labeled as “incapable” prime minister when he was thrown out in 2002 after not holding elections.

But he corrected the “infamous label” this time, conducted “free and fair” elections and handed over the power to K P Oli, the Chairman of CPN-UML on Thursday and going to sit in opposition hence. The only “landmark” political legacy he left was holding successful elections, but other track records after and before the elections in December, are poor and controversial.   

As widely expected, Deuba failed to put his papers immediately after the elections on moral grounds as the PM and party President of Nepali Congress given the poor show of the party in the elections. Deuba was elected PM in June 2017 at a time when there was lot of doubt and suspicion whether he can hold the elections of three tiers given the volatile and paralyzed political grounds. 

Amid these suspicion and doubt, Deuba successfully commanded the elections, gave them logical conclusion and the era of political uncertainties has ended finally. 

He rightly pointed out in his farewell speech too. “The elections were held as part of implementing the new constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. He also informed that the State Assembly and provincial government were also formed during the term of this government,” he said.

Political leaders and analysts do agree that Deuba held successful elections was “historic” task and would be remembered as incapable PM for some “wrong doings” like impeachment against the sitting Chief Justice, contested decision during the appointment of the Nepal Police IGP, distribution of millions of rupees to party loyalists and giving continuity of appointments even after being caretaker government. 

Previously his track record and legacy was bad and Nepali Congress has never made progress under his term as PM, Shyam Shrestha, a left analyst said, only good thing he had done was successfully holding the three tier elections. 

He should resign immediately after the elections if he had wanted to clean up his image but he did not, said Shrestha, and second he started infamous IGP saga 

followed by impeachment against sitting CJ was a blunder. 

While highlighting the progress made by his government, Deuba said that his government took lead in executing the projects of national pride like fast track, Budhi Gandaki Hydropower and Melamchi Drinking Water projects. 

Stating that during his term, a balanced foreign policy was adopted with the neighbours, keeping the people’s interests in the centre; he said progress in the domestic investment was encouraging. 

But in foreign policy fronts as claimed by Deuba, very little achievements were made.

I do not see any tangible progress in foreign policy front, said former ambassador, Lokraj Baral. “I did not find new initiative and venture in foreign policy front during his tenure. All what I found was status quo only,” said Baral. 

Neither the relation with India was termed as remarkable during his term or agreement with China nor initiative like BRI would move ahead, said Baral. But according to his party leaders, Deuba has another daunting task to perform as he is now free to look only after party and party organizations. NC youth leader Gagan Thapa said,” There was lot of doubt about his credit whether he will able to hold the elections due to his poor past record and limited time differences to hold the elections of local, provincial and federal. To fulfill the constitutional and political mandate, he commanded the polls which must be appreciated and I hope history will take the note.”

The governance part, said Thapa was very weak and could not meet the standard. When asked what would be the Deuba’s role as party president now, he said Deuba has no other options left besides to revamp the party top to bottom to ensure the incoming polls in 2079 BS and to make sure that NC will be victorious. The coming parliamentary elections should not be derailed and NC should take the lead to ensure them and should be the winner, this much is the role of Deuba and Nepali Congress hence after, said Thapa. 

Published: 16-02-2018 09:48

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