Time For Compromise Than Conflict
The Nepali Congress (NC) is in the opposition now, but one cannot undermine the strength of the party, especially among the rich industrialists and the middle class people, who form a considerable clout in almost every sector.
I knew an influential minister in the Nepali Congress (NC) who had told me at a reception held by a newly appointed prime minister at Baluwatar, the official residence of the Prime Minister, that his party was in splinters and it really did not have any organisational strength.
He was right in some ways, but just like in the “oldest democracy” of the world the United States of America, if not the Republican Party, the Democratic Party rules the nation turn by turn. This has been true since more than two centuries back and still only these two parties are ruling the most powerful country on earth.
This is true in many other countries like Britain, where either the conservatives or liberals rule, in India where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the Congress rules, so in Nepal also either it is the Communist Party or the Nepali Congress that rule the nation.
In the United States, the so-called the oldest democracy of the world, or in India the so called biggest democracy of the world, no independent has had the chance to lead the federal government. It is the same in Nepal, forget about leading the government, even to be an ambassador or to hold any meaningful post, one has to be a party member. This is a very regretting factor for a small and developing nation like Nepal. The USA can handle it, though no female has become a President there, India can handle it, China can handle it, but why merit is of no concern in this country which needs its youths and other professionals for really bringing in development? Just joining a political party or supporting one political party or the other should not be enough. But a shallow politician like late GP Koirala made sure his party would dominate virtually all sectors, especially government organisations by appointing his own party men. This is why the unions in most organisations are controlled by the Congress, though it has to also be admitted that the NGOs are dominated by the Leftist supporters.
To come back to where we started, the Nepali Congress has been dominated by the Koirala family. Late BP Koirala was a man of vision and he took bold steps not only for democracy, but also for the development of the nation and unity among the people. Many people now may not like this, but his brother late Girija Prasad Koirala was a very poor political leader and also a poor administrator. Maybe he was a saint, as his defenders define him, but his close aides were involved in total corruption and thus defamed him.
Furthermore, he was brainwashed by some of his close insiders to wipe communists from the country. But a Communist leader himself endorsed a proposal to grant Koirala the Nobel Peace Prize, which was laughable. The then IGP of the Nepal Police, the Home Secretary, ordered solders to kill many innocent people in Rolpa, Rukum and other districts when the Maoist movement intensified. But has anyone dared to question about these people? It is said that the then IGP even took monetary advantage by saying he rented helicopters for many hours, when this was not true.
Still, in spite of being in the political shadows now, the Nepali Congress is down but not out. But the problem is, the present leadership also seems to be in a plight. One cannot see former Prime Minister and present President of the NC, Sher Bahadur Deuba leading the party on a right path. His main rival Ram Chandra Poudel also seems weak and unable to do anything more than Deuba. So, where do we look even if the present Communist government is forced to step down?
The people don’t want to see another autocratic system and they are right in their decision, but do we want to see the same old leaders without any vision leading the nation again? They have not been able to give solace to the people. They are just interested in making money, like their close aides and in appointing party cadres in high positions. Of course this is a scenario seen in most countries, even the developed countries, but the Nepali leaders should rise above this trend.
For this to happen, either the youth leaders have to be given a chance, people with merit have to be picked up or dependence on foreign intervention has to be given off.
It is difficult to see this happening as the same parties, like mentioned before, have kept to the routine and the people actually have no choice, whether in the oldest democracy or even the preaching European countries, like Britain, for instance, to vote for one party or the next. They actually have no choice and it has become a tradition for them to say they belong to this party or the other, there are no independents and no alternatives. It is virtually like people in some remote parts of Nepal who when they feel sick are prescribed a drug called citamol and they have to take it, no matter what ailment they may have.
The best way out is for the big parties to unite and compromise with each other. Even the United States is trying to do that with North Korea, a hated enemy before, and China and Russia are trying to reconcile. All over the world, except in the Middle East, they are trying to forge friendship instead of fighting each other. Why can’t the parties in a small nation like Nepal do the same? If the Nepal Communist Party, which is in power at the moment brings in the Nepali Congress, a lot could be achieved both politically and economically.
So this is a time for reconciliation and compromise and not head for any confrontation like it has been shown by many other countries, even the US, which have allowed space to differing parties, including their main rivals. If the two major parties in Nepal work together, a lot could be achieved instead of having only strikes and protests.