Victory Of Democracy
Defeat and victory are the two sides of the same coin in any competition, and an election is a competition. It is natural for the winners to feel happy. Likewise, the losers feel disappointment. Results of the federal parliament and provincial elections held in two phases, first phase on November 26 and the second one on December 7, are coming out. Not unsurprisingly, candidates of the left alliance, CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre, have emerged victorious in many constituencies. As the vote count continues, there is clear indication that the left alliance will have clear majority to form the government. In this sense, this election is going to be a lost one for the democratic alliance or particularly the Nepali Congress.
However, this election was not only the periodic one. It was a major and the final milestone in implementing the constitution promulgated in September 2015. Thus, holding of this election has been a success in itself, a marvelous achievement for the country. As in many elections held in the past, Nepali Congress was in the government leadership to hold this historic election, and hence the NC has done a good job to the country. Successful holding of the election is victory of democracy. Although it lost the election, NC contributed to make democracy victorious. In this sense, ‘loser’ NC should be as happy as ‘winner’ left alliance.
In course of the election campaign, leaders of the left alliance pledged they would ensure political stability if they won the election. Now, they are poised to win if the present result trend continues. They have made commitments to doing many other things, of course. But, if they ensure political stability that would mean almost everything, it will be a test period for them with also regard to development commitment. However, this is not so easy.
The UML and the MC will first have to get unified. If they fail in this respect, they will fail in every other field. Main obstacle with regard to party unification is likely to be the share of power of the party organisation power because they have found some common ground, if election manifesto is any guide, in relation to ideology, strategy, policy and prgoramme, and history. Who the party chief will be, who will lead/be included in the government and who will have what status in the party, all matters in the organisation power sharing. If there is no consensus in it, party unification process will be aborted.
As the UML and MC have contested in the election as two different parties, they are likely to be lured by the third other party for government formation, particularly to prevent unification. Therefore, for the sake of political stability, continuity of the same government for the next five years, the two left parties should translate their pledge into action. And the sooner they do it, the better.
This election was held in a peaceful manner but amidst explosions. The explosions targeting candidates and mass gathering venues continued during elections across the country. Even after elections, vehicles carrying ballot boxes were hit. Communist Party of Nepal led by Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplav’ has, according to reports, owned up the explosions. As explosions are expression of dissatisfaction, addressing the demands of the CPN or containing its activities will be one of major political challenges for the new government. Regional and Madhes-based parties such as Rastriya Janata Party, Nepal have participated in the election despite their strong reservation over the constitution. They have been demanding amendment to it for getting their demands met. This will be no easy task. It is not unusual for the opposition parties or the ‘losers’ to create obstacles for the government to work smoothly. Many issues including naming of the provinces related to federalism have yet to be settled.
Economic revolution or prosperity is what all the leaders highlighted in course of the constitution writing process and during this election campaign. First, they said, new constitution will pave way for economic revolution as it would institutionalise political revolution. Then, during election they assured people that economic revolution would start after the national and provincial poll. Now, all polls are completed. People are waiting for the much talked about economic revolution. Hope, people will enjoy some fruits of such revolution before the next election.
One of the many things in which all the three major parties, UML, NC and MC, were on the same page is having a railway link with China. In their election manifestos, all these three parties highlighted trans-Himalaya railway linking Kathmandu with China, extending the railway from Kathmandu to Pokhara and Lumbini. Now, it is to be seen how sincerely they work on it. Trans-Himalaya railway is critically important for Nepal for trade diversification and tourism. As Nepal has already become a part of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China, this railway project can be the first large project under the BRI. The leaders have no choice but translate their commitment into action in this regard. Cross-Himalaya railway will surely be a foundation stone for what the leaders say economic revolution.
Any victory in an election is a periodic win so is the case with defeat. Today’s victors can be losers tomorrow. People’s verdict in elections is largely based on their assessment about what the given party or candidate did in the past. They attach hope in their verdict for better future. If the particular party or candidate fails to meet their expectation, they will fail the party/candidate. Therefore, there is no need to be much excited o nervous upon winning or losing the election.
For the winners, it is time for actions while for the losers, it is a time for correction. To take action to translate commitment, that’s the task of the winner and to ensure that every action is in accordance with people’s expectation and also rules and regulations is the duty of those in the opposition. Both have their roles, and people keep the records of how the parties perform their roles, and thus in the next election, they issue their verdict by casting votes.