The Nation Takes Left Turn
The historical elections to the House of Representatives and provincial assemblies have produced historical result that was quite unthinkable to many just prior to the polls. The two left parties- the CPN-UML and the Maoist Centre, have created a record by claiming a resounding victory in the polls that has now relegated the grand old party, Nepali Congress, to the distant third.
In the history of the Nepal’s democratic elections, the Nepali Congress has never tasted such a heavy defeat and was never pushed to the third place, while the UML had never won majority to form a government under its leadership. The two-phase election to the federal and provincial assemblies has thus produced a historical result, giving the Left Alliance an opportunity to not only form the new government but also dominate the parliament as well as state assemblies with its sheer majority.
The performance of the Nepali Congress in the historical polls was so wretched that the party has failed to claim an opportunity to form its government in any of the seven provinces. Of seven provinces, the Left Alliance will have its government in six provinces while the Madhesh-based parties- Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal and Sanghiya Forum- would be forming their coalition government in the core Madhesi province, the Province-2.
The poll debacle of the Congress became possible only because of the sudden and surprise alliance between the two communist parties. The Congress failed to gauge the mood and intention of the wily chairman of its ruling coalition partner, the Maoist-Centre, who made a surprise move to forge poll alliance with main opposition communist party, the CPN-UML.
Chairman Prachand hoodwinked the Nepali Congress and the main ruling party failed completely to stop the coalition partner from gaining traction towards the main opposition. In politics, a political dispensation like the Nepali Congress should have played all the “tricks in its bags” to foil any debilitating move from rival parties. But the Nepali Congress failed to do so, and, as a result, it has paid a heavy price.
The two left parties have now secured a resounding victory and are racing towards garnering the coveted two-thirds majority. In the aftermath of the massive success, it is likely that the two communists will merge the two parties to create one single party. The apologists of the two communist parties are of the view that if the two parties go on creating a single communist party, then they would become an invincible political force for many years to come.
The envious victory of the Left Alliance was possible because the two communist parties went on to the poll by sharing parliamentary seats. The “disciplined” left voters supporting these two parties cast their votes to the candidates of the two parties with full commitment, giving a grand success to the alliance.
Soon after the alliance was formed, the two communist parties hyped one catchy slogan that has deep effect among the voters. They told the voters that their alliance was forged with an aim of achieving “prosperity with stability in the nation.”
The slogan appeared to have gone well with the voters. Our country had gone through a exhaustive phase of instability and political transition period which had frustrated the people a lot. A large chunk of voters, many of whom were the supporters of the communist parties of all hues and stripes, therefore voted with glee to their candidates to give them a resounding majority.
According to many analysts, the two parties of the alliance, especially the UML, won so many seats only because of the nationalist posture of the UML chair, KP Sharma Oli, vis-à-vis India. Soon after the promulgation of the constitution, India expressed its dislike to the new statute and imposed the economic blockade on the country.
Oli was very vocal against the blockade and India’s intention to strong-arm the Madhesi parties. Oli’s posture against India endeared him among the voters. While Oli went on berating India for its blockade against Nepal, the Congress party failed to “open its mouth” against the same blockade, which did not go down well with the people, who had went through a long phase of excruciating suffering due to the Indian blockade and general strikes in the Madhesh region.
In the eyes of many voters, the Congressmen had fumbled in dealing few events regarding the then chief of the anti-graft body, Lokman Singh Karki, appointment of the police chief and impeachment motion against the then chief justice, Sushila Karki.
Also, the Congress could not take its programmes and policies to the voters as effectively as the leaders of the Left Alliance had done. The dissatisfaction among the Congress functionaries was witnessed when the party distributed tickets to its election contestants. As a result, the party suffered owing what many termed as an internal sabotage from the party functionaries.
The Democratic Alliance the Congress had formed with parties of unpopular former royalists, Kamal Thapa and Pashupati Shumsher Rana did not work to produce better results for the alliance. The merger of the Nepal Loktantrik Forum of Bijay Gachchaddar also did not help the Congress in countering the might of the Left Alliance.
Despite the failure of the Congress in this election, the party can take solace from the fact that the NC has not lost its vote-base throughout the country. The closest rivals who lost the polls to the winning candidates were almost all the Congress candidates. In the first past the post (FPTP) system, over 150 Congress candidates lost the polls finishing at second place, while over 100 lost the contest with close margins.
Despite finishing at the third spot in the FPTP election, the Congress has been gaining impressive votes in the Proportional Representation category. The party is trailing to the UML by few thousands votes in the PR category, which gives the hint that the Congress may get PR seats which may be enough to catapult the party to the second position in the federal parliament.
The resounding success of the Left Alliance has now turned all eyes on the two communist parties and the people are awaiting with bated breath to see whether these two parties would be able to deliver the promises which they had made to the people while forming the alliance. They have five years period to translate their slogan, prosperity of the nation with stability, into a reality.