Ruling coalition giving final shape to common programmeCurbing corruption, improving public service and expediting development works in focus.
Leaders of the ruling coalition partners are preparing to unveil their Common Minimum Programme (CMP) within a day or two listing out the common agendas of all the parties supporting the government.
Prior to his elevation to the prime ministerial position, CPN (Maoist Centre) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had said he would focus on two major issues after clinching the post—first, forming a powerful commission to control corruption and, second, initiating large development projects.
According to the leaders involved in drafting the document, the CMP will basically focus on these two aspects, among others issues such as improving the service delivery.
On December 29, the meeting of the top leaders of the ruling coalition had decided to form the panel to draft it.
Led by Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel, the panel includes Barshaman Pun from the CPN (Maoist Centre), Mukul Dhakal from the Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), Dhawal Shumsher Rana from the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and Rakam Chemjong from the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) as members.
There is a practice among coalition governments to develop a document summarising the programmes selected and prescribed by the coalition partners and commonly agreed among them. However, observers question the very relevance of the common document arguing that most of the agendas are not properly implemented as the government usually forgets the issues after a few months.
But the meeting scheduled for Thursday that was supposed to give the finishing touches to the programmes did not take place due to Pun's illness. “We have postponed the meeting till Friday,” said Chemjong. “If we can complete it, we will unveil it in a day or two.”
Deputy Prime Minister Rabi Lamichhane told reporters after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday that once the Common Minimum Programme is made public, the document itself will answer why his party joined the government. Lamichhane’s newly-established Rastriya Swatantra Party is the third largest force in the House of Representatives with 20 seats. It joined hands with the CPN-UML and the Maoist Centre to form the government.
“Going beyond ideology and principles, we will include such issues that directly address the concerns of citizens,” Lamichhane added.
According to Lamichhane, steps would be taken towards controlling corruption, and forging common views among the ruling parties on the issues concerning health and education. He also plans to issue a time-card system to improve service delivery.
Finance Minister Poudel said the draft of the programmes was ready. The document incorporating the issues forwarded by the partners would need a final touch at the Friday meeting.
The meeting of the five major leaders of the coalition—Prime Minister Dahal, UML chair KP Sharma Oli, RSP chair and deputy prime minister Lamichhane, RPP chair Rajendra Lingden and JSP chief Upendra Yadav—held on Wednesday decided that the major focus of the programmes would be on economic prosperity and development works.
With the government formed by parties having various ideologies and in some cases standing opposite to each other, the Common Minimum Programme could bind them together but it’s a tough job to manage their interests in a common document.
The JSP led by Upendra Yadav has said it would take a decision on whether to join the government only if the CMP incorporates their agendas. The major demand of the RPP, a pro-Hindu and pro-monarchy party, is that the government must declare Poush 27 (this year it’s January 11) a public holiday to celebrate Prithvi Jayanti, the birth anniversary of King Prithvi Narayan Shah.
“Most of our major concerns have been incorporated in the CMP,” said Dhawal Shumsher Rana, a member of the panel representing the RPP. “I hope our demand for a public holiday on Prithvi Jayanti would also be approved.”
Though the leaders of the ruling parties said CMP was necessary to bind the common interests of the parties having diversified ideals and ideologies, some experts on governance said that won’t have much significance on the governance.
“All the governments have their plans—yearly and half-yearly. But the major concern is their proper implementation,” said Somlal Subedi, former chief secretary of the government. “The most important issue is to set the priority for plans and projects.”