NC’s Role Under Scrutiny
Ritu Raj Subedi
Chronic political instability continues to gnaw at Nepal’s democracy. Decades elapsed since the nation had a tryst with the democratic polity but there exists sheer idiocy not to learn from the past even after the country has embraced more refined and comprehensive political system. Instability often bears knock-on effects on the entire political and economic system. The political parties often wish for the installation of durable government but their promise of a durable government crumbles largely because of the lack of their conviction and integrity. With the short-sightedness and partisan interests ruling the roost, the country became a breeding ground for the continuous instability that in turn churned out burdensome agitations one the trot.
Getting a durable government looks like a chimera. While the country’s multiparty democracy experiment was disastrous, the new mixed electoral system is not favourable in creating a steady and strong government. A considerable number of lawmakers get elected from the proportional representation system that in all probability ends up in a hung parliament. The goal of PR system is to promote inclusive democracy but it can hardly be a boon to a nation where the democratic culture is low and the dangerous political brinkmanship is high. The Nepalese political parties have already failed to tread high moral ground when it comes to reflecting the spirit of the PR electoral system. Some have sold PR seats to business people while others distributed them as a surprise gift to their hangers-on, wives and girlfriends. This has distorted the real motive of PR system with it negative fallouts are hitting the entire governance system.
The political parties require a high sense of maturity and commitment to the people if they really strive for a government that completes full term in office and delivers on its promises wholeheartedly. With the adoption of more collaborative system, it is not unnatural for the people to expect a durable and functional government. However, this genuine hope has been shattered even in the aftermath of the promulgation of the new statute. They have ditched culture of co-work, and indulged in the one-upmanship. At the moment, the national politics is riddled with disgusting ironies. The Nepali Congress, the grand old democratic party, is supposed to be a standard bearer of parliamentary democracy for which it fought for decades. But, to the chagrin of many, it is becoming a spoilsport.
It ill behooves the largest opposition to disrupt the House proceedings time and again over the trivial topics. It first created pandemonium in the House, accusing the government of leaking information about the fiscal year budget prior to its announcement. To be fair, the allegation is an example of the pot calling the kettle black. Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, who presented budget on behalf of the NC-led government in the past, had let the figures of the outlay disclose in the media several times. The leakage issue cropped up in the House and was forgotten soon. The NC that was at the helm of power most of the time showed no desire to maintain sanctity of budget. Then, the party created unnecessary hassles in the formation of the Parliamentary Hearing Committee. The new statute has provisioned a 15-member Committee but the party batted for 75-member body, which sounded anachronism given the fact that the country has already entered into a new constitutional dispensation. The uncalled for bickering dented the confidence of the country’s Apex Court, the Election Commission and foreign diplomatic missions because of the inordinate delay in the hearing of those recommended for these offices. The party stuck to the ruse for nine months before it was awarded the chairman and six members of the committee.
In its latest uncanny move, the party stood against the directive of the Reconstruction Authority in regard to the disbursement of relief amount to the victims of April earthquake. The NC-led government formulated it in accord with the consent of donors. The working procedure obliges the authority to distribute the grants in three installments to the quake survivors to build their houses but the main opposition obstructed House, demanding that the government provide Rs 200,000, which is the total succor amount, to the victims in lump sum. Following the days of House disruptions, the government and opposition agreed to pay out the grants in two tranches but the legality of deal has come under close scrutiny. The World Bank Country Manager Takuya Kamata other day wrote to the Finance Minister, showing reservation about the agreement. In the letter, he reminded the government of principles agreed to at the donors’ summit last year. He had said that the WB is only authorized to provide financial programme as per the set modality. This instance clearly shows that the NC wants to get the government into hot water. Mockingly, the NC is cutting off its nose to spite its face with its string of imbecile maneuverings.
No Rhyme Or Reason
Ever since Sher Bahadur Deuba was elected to the post of NC president, he is champing at the bit to remove Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli from the driving seat of the government by fair means or foul. Instead of playing a constructive role in the parliament, the opposition is seemingly setting its eyes on the PM’s chair. Deuba first tried to shot fire against the government from the shoulders of agitating Madhesi parties. But, the Madhes agitation has shriveled up and it leaders are curling up in one corner of Khula Mancha in the capital after their border-centric stir led to ferocious blowback. Then, he goaded CPN-Maoist Centre chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda to cook Oli’s goose but his foolhardy attempt went up in smoke. Now again, the rumours of government change are doing the rounds after Deuba hosted a dinner to Prachanda in blatant bid to cut the latter loose from Oli’s fold. It looks an utter paradox that Prachanda is rising to the bait. There is no rhyme or reason for the change in the guard. Any spurious logic to change the government is anathema to the people, who want a stable government to fulfill their aspirations and institutionalize the democratic republic.