October 6, 2022, Thursday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Transaction-politics: the choice of leaders

The Nepal Weekly
February 22, 2022

By TNW correspondent

Prime Minister Deuba got the Millennium Challenge Corporation Nepal Compact MCC tabled in parliament for discussion and ratification through the cooperation of House of Representatives Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota the other day. Law makers are now in a position to deliberate on it, accept it or reject it.

The MCC, registered in Parliament Secretariat by former Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada in July 2019, has been so politicized that it could not be moved forward for parliamentary discussion for long. A section of politicos termed it as a grant that undermines the national sovereignty while another described it as any other grant offered by a friendly country.

The ruling alliance – parties differed sharply on this: Nepali Congress stood for it while three communist parties –Maoist Centre, CPN Unified Socialist along with Rastriya Jana Morcha objected to it. Senior leaders, however, did not object to tabling it in the parliament. They allowed members of their parties in parliament and their student wings in street protest to oppose it.

Senior politicos, interpreting the move by senior leaders Prachanda and Madhav Nepal to allow tabling of MCC without quitting ruling alliance as inspired by the principles of transaction-politics as against the high standard of parliamentary democracy and party’s ideological standpoints.

Critics termed it as opportunistic move. Analysts explain it as their compulsion to protect political space for them for future. “If they quit the government, it will be difficult for them to compete during polls. Blocking the MCC could invite resistance from the PM who had reluctantly accepted the role of leading multi-party alliance government to challenge the autocratic style of former Premier Oli.”

As the MCC got clearance for parliamentary discourse in the floor of the House of Representatives, Speaker Sapkota got a chance to show that he acted independent of the party – Maoist Centre – he belonged to. He is still facing opposition party CPN UML charge that he is partisan in approach.

The opposition party is obstructing the House session in which protesting members heard from the floor their own member Bhim Rawal speak against tabling of the MCC. Others from the ruling coalition also spoke against the tabling despite their own party’s green signal to table the MCC. Observers describe the move as somewhat not fitting for parliamentary practices.

One senior media analyst termed the new trend of remaining in government and opposing the move by government as an example of transaction-politics which is defined by benefits of the occasion or opportunities.

How the people will judge it and what impact it will have in their future are issues only future could clarify, noted the analyst.