Blame Game Is No Solution
Yuba Nath Lamsal
Political polarisation has further sharpened in Nepal giving rise to general speculations that politics is getting more unpredictable. One does not know what exactly our political course will be like in near future. The political parties appear to be in confrontational mood for their existential strategy especially on the issue pertaining to the constitution amendment bill that has already been tabled in the parliament.
Just a proposal
Ever since the bill was registered in the parliament, the opposition parties were raising a big hue and cry and vowed not to let this bill to be brought to the floor of the House for even discussion. However, the bill has finally entered into the business of the House despite objection from the opposition parties. What is to be taken into account is the fact that the bill is just a proposal to be discussed in the supreme body of the elected representatives. The parliament is sovereign and it can endorse or reject the bill. There is no question about the supremacy and prerogatives of the parliament. The issue here is that the parliament should be allowed to debate on matters of national importance and else it would be a violation of sovereign right of the people's elected representatives.
The way both the ruling and opposition parties are upping the ante itself suggests that the constitution amendment bill is important and has national significance. The ruling parties want to pass the bill to address the demands and concerns of the Madhesi and Janajati groups so that it will be easy to implement the constitution. The Madhesi parties, too, are in favour of the bill. However, opposition parties have crossed their swords and seem determined to fail the bill. The opposition parties, especially the CPN-UML has termed the bill unconstitutional and is against the interest of the nation. Even a section of the ruling coalition namely Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) is not in the mood of accepting the bill in the present form. It is demanding its modification.
Whatever the stance and position of the political parties on the bill are, the number game will play key role as it requires a two-thirds majority for its passage. If the ruling parties and Madhesis remain united, they will easily manage to pass the bill. Similar case is with the opposition. The CPN-UML has now the strategy to fail the bill during voting by not allowing the ruling parties to have two-thirds majority. The CPN-UML alone does not have one-third majority. Both the ruling and opposition parties are confident in their victory. However, this is not a question of win or loss of a particular party or parties. This is the question of win or loss of the constitution, nation, our republican set-up and democracy. Our political parties and leaders are expected to give serious thoughts towards this and act accordingly.
However, the political situation is getting more unpredictable and uncertain. This uncertainty is further deepening as the parties and leaders seem to be pursuing their own partisan agenda rather than working collectively on national agenda. This has led to public apathy towards politics and institutions, which is not at all good for our fledgling democratic polity.
In a multi-party democracy, the political parties are the key actors and their role is crucial in strengthening democracy and democratic culture. Democracy without political parties cannot be imagined. Our democracy is young and fledgling, so are our political parties. Our political parties and leaders definitely have many weaknesses and may often have made mistakes. But there is no alternative to the political parties. The political parties and their leaders are also the product of our society and they represent our general tendency and mindset. Moreover, as democracy is slowly getting mature, the leaders are also learning and getting mature. It takes time to build genuine democratic culture and democratic institution. In Nepal, institutions are still weak and thus democracy is fledgling and weak.
In the process of democratisation, we are slow but we are moving steadily. There is no going back. In this process we have seen many ups and downs, experienced hurdles and suffered occasional setbacks and sufferings. But we have kept the flame of democracy and freedom alive, thanks largely to the political parties and their leaders for their persistent and sustained fight and sacrifice. This is the positive aspect of our parties.
Our political parties have glorious history and the contribution made by their leaders is huge and unforgettable. The Nepali Congress led the revolution for democracy and succeeded in ushering in democracy in 1951. When democracy was strangulated by the king, the Nepali Congress kept the struggle alive until multi-party democracy was restored in 1990. During this long and relentless struggle, several of its cadres and leaders sacrificed their lives and many suffered jail terms and were forced to go on exile. Finally, their struggle yielded fruits. Similarly, the history and contribution of the CPN-UML, too, is glorious as it made a huge contribution to emancipate the country and people from various forms of feudal exploitations and oppressions and also establish the democratic polity. Initially the CPN-UML formerly known as CPN-ML advocated the Chinese model of new democracy through armed revolution, for which it launched an armed revolt in Jhapa. However, this revolt launched with a motive of 'eliminating class enemies' was limited to only eastern Nepal mainly in Jhapa, where some landlords were killed. This is known as Jhapa incident, but its armed struggle failed, which compelled the CPN-ML to adopt the peaceful mobilisation of people to achieve its goal. This party also played a key role along with the Nepali Congress in the 1989-90 movement, which succeeded to restore democratic polity in Nepal.
Another key party is the CPN-Maoist Center, formerly known as CPN-Maoist. This party launched a decade-long armed insurgency to establish new democracy, but later joined the peaceful politics in 2006 following a signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the government. This party, too, has its own unique contribution to Nepal's politics because the country's politics is currently revolving around the agendas it raised. Republican set-up, secularism and inclusive democracy are all the agendas of this party.
These parties and their principal leaders deserve commendation for their untiring efforts, contribution and sacrifice for what political achievements we have made. Some people blame the parties and their leaders for the political mess in the country. The parties and leaders are definitely responsible to this to a large extent. But we citizens, too, cannot escape from the blame. It is said that people get the government they deserve. In the similar vein, people get the leaders they deserve. We citizens, too, are responsible for the types of parties and leaders we have. If citizens are conscious, informed and alert, the leaders will be compelled to be more accountable. But Nepal's politics and political leaders are least accountable and transparent. It is because of the indifference on the part of citizenry viz-a-viz politics.
The politicians may not be clean, transparent and accountable, but other sectors, too, are not altogether morally virtuous. We have institutions but they are not functioning like institutions but often behave like extended arm of political parties. We have civil society, but it tends to be aligned with the parties and carry partisan agenda. The institutions are politicised and politics is getting bureaucratic. In a way, we all are responsible for the mess and mismanagement we have in the country at present.
The political parties and leaders may have fared badly at present, but their roles, contribution and sacrifice in the past are definitely praiseworthy. Their consistent but resilient struggle and sacrifice have enabled us to enjoy freedom and democratic rights. We should not forget this aspect. The general tendency we have at present is to put all the blames on politics, parties and leaders. These accusations are sometimes spontaneous and sometimes calculated. This tendency appears more calculated move to weaken and vilify the new political dispensation mainly the republican set up. We achieved the republican system following a long struggle and sacrifice. So we must be guard against any kind of sinister attempts from any quarters that are likely to sabotage the new found republican system. The political parties and their leaders must correct themselves. Defending them and helping them to correct are the duty of the citizens.