Emerging Discourse On Need Of New Political Force : Kushal Pokharel
The recent exit of Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, former prime minister of the country and a senior leader of the UCPN-Maoist, from his political party has sent shockwaves across the nation. While some are viewing it as a very untimely and irrational move, others have been keen to know the real cause of this.
Defending his move, Dr. Bhattarai has publicly stated that he quit his party because he thinks the task of socio-economic transformation of Nepal isn’t possible by staying in any of the current mainstream parties, which are obsolete in their thinking and have a very rigid way of doing things. Moreover, he opined that there was a need of a separate political force with visionary leadership based on the principles of transparency and accountability to change the face of the nation.
With the promulgation of the federal democratic republican constitution, the task of institutionalising the peace process has been completed. However, it is important to embrace the agenda of inclusive, social and economic growth and prosperity to become a nation that is self-sufficient in the future. Against this backdrop, the agenda of forming a new political force is gaining greater currency in the public domain.
What is interesting is that there has been overwhelming response from non-partisan business and social leaders to become an integral part of this new force. In fact, inspiring leaders of this society and business have long been mulling over the best possible ways in which they can contribute to nation building. They have been relentless to get public policies formulated and implemented for general welfare although there has been problem with their unity and collaboration on pertinent issues of national interest.
In this light, it is without dispute that Nepal is in need of a new political force that consists of a pool of qualified, dynamic and visionary leaders. A critical examination of the nation’s history suggests the same. With more than three decades of democracy in practice, we haven’t been able to achieve any satisfactory economic growth. National statistics suggest that GDP annual growth rate in Nepal averaged 4.40 per cent from 1994 to 2014. The Human Development Report, 2014, reports that poverty prevalance in Nepal is 23.8 %. Similarly, Nepal ranks 145th in global HDI rankings of 2014.
Had this system and the parties leading it worked effectively, the scenario would have been different. In the name of democracy and freedom, corruption, including nepotism and sycophancy, have thrived adversely, affecting the course of our development. The report of Transparency International, which shows that corruption is increasing over the years, is a testimony to this fact.
Neither the necessary physical infrastructure has been built properly nor our social and human capital have been mobilised for the betterment of the society. Barring a handful of leaders, we have not been able to find a true ‘statesman’ who can deliver his/her promise.
So a team of leaders who have proved their ability to usher in social change need to form a strong and united political force with a clear vision of socio-economic and human development in the short and long run. More importantly, they ought to show a strong commitment for national prosperity within their lifetime. The shift of priorities from political to economic and social issues is urgent. Adhering to ethical practices and adopting zero-tolerance towards corruption and other social maladies are a must.
Contrary to the working of the existing political leaders, they ought to rise above petty self-interest and work continously to materialise the dream of a prosperous Nepal. Similarly, preserving the sovereignty and national integrity of the nation has become more important at this critical juncture of our history than at any other period.
Having said that, the formation of such a force isn’t that easy. Firstly, it is crucial that key personalities from different walks of life unite under a single umbrella thereby accepting the leadership of a consensual candidate. Ego problem may override this cause, looking at the way in which our society is functioning these days. Secondly, there is a stiff challenge ahead of these leaders to prove that they are honest, hardworking and goal-oriented. Until and unless, they can lead by action, the public isn’t going to trust them. And then there is the problem of building a strong organisation at the grassroots level.
Since the new to be formed political force will have the Hobson’s Choice to compete with the major political parties of this nation, they need to garner support from the general public to win the election and govern the country. This will be tough as dismantling the current base of the major political forces is arduous. Convincing the ordinary citizens requires demonstration of concrete actions towards shared prosperity of the nation.
It is high time discussion on the importance of a new political force be oriented towards a more tangible form now. With a clear vision and mission of building Nepal, this force should aim towards being on the driver’s seat of the nation as soon as possible to implement the ideas. Grounded on the theory of ‘Progressive Socialism’ coined by Dr. Bhattarai, the new force can trigger social change. But the pre-requisite is demonstrating responsive and ethical leadership behaviour in addition to strong expertise in their particular field and organisational skills.