Another attack on politicians; no lessons learnt
It’s no easy job being a politician in India and also in Nepal. Besides the perks sometimes one has to face the wrath of disgruntled citizens, opponents and even party colleagues.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh experienced one such incident at a function in Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi recently. And in neighbouring Nepal, the man touted as the next one for the same post, had a near escape last week.
Sushil Koirala, president of Nepali Congress, was attacked on Saturday by a party member at a function in Kathmandu on Saturday. Armed with a wooden frame, the attacker was aiming for the 73-year-old’s head.
Had it not been for the timely intervention of party general secretary Prakash Man Singh and youth leader Gagan Thapa present on the dais, Koirala could have sustained severe injuries.
The attacker Prabesh Basnet was immediately caught and bashed by those present before being handed to the police. A case has been registered and a probe panel constituted to investigate.
The Nepali Congress too has formed a committee comprising Singh, Thapa and another leader to look for reasons behind the unprovoked attack.
Though details are yet to surface, some say Basnet took the step as he was unhappy at being overlooked while lesser leaders were gracing the stage. A conspiracy theory by a rival party is also doing rounds.
Koirala however attributed the incident to the youth’s anger at politicians from major parties failing to resolve the ongoing crisis in Nepal as the possible cause.
The ruling Maoist-Madhesi coalition and major opposition parties Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) have agreed that fresh poll is the only way out of the logjam.
But there’s no consensus on when it would be held and what will happen in the interim. Inconclusive talks have become the norm four months following dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in May.
Differences persist on whether the present government should continue with other joining it or whether it should resign and a new national unity government headed by Nepali Congress formed.
With no one willing to compromise, solution has been elusive. And Nepalis are getting more and more restive with the power games being played by politicians—delaying the promised New Nepal.
The attack on Koirala is not the first instance of a senior politician getting targeted. In January last year, Jhalanath Khanal, chairman of CPN (UML) also had a somewhat similar experience.
Exasperated at the delay in constitution drafting, a 52-year-old farmer had slapped Khanal on his face at a public function.
Twenty months have passed since, but the situation in Nepal is not much different and politicians too haven’t learnt any lessons.
It shouldn’t come as surprise if other senior politicians also hit the headlines in coming days, weeks and months for similar reasons.
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