With due consent from the author, Nepali Congress leader Shekhar Koirala, we have translated the Nepali text of his opinion असफल सरकार published in the Kantipur Daily into English. We appreciate the conscience of a political leader like him to present the current state of Nepal’s political affairs.
The country is heading toward complexities day by day. There are big challenges in front of us.. It seems as if our capacity to deal with these challenges is enfeebling. The government has left no stone unturned to showcase its passivity. Prime Minister is making the country as a stage of his theatrics of his cliche proverbs and idioms. Till date, Nepal has never seen such a failed government To gain cheap publicity, the Prime Minister is spreading false hope and creating illusions among general people. At this time, our Prime Minister is enjoying the the flight of fantasy and imagination.
The CPN-UML-led coalition government has protected black-marketing, price hike, artificial shortage and bad governance, and is institutionalizing corruption. General people are struggling to earn their basic livelihoods. The government has not shown sensitivity for the homeless earthquake victims. Those who could afford, have managed their housing on their own. However, those, who are economically weak, were forced to spend their life under temporary shelters and tarpaulins during last monsoon and summer seasons.
We have nothing to say regarding the policies and programs that the government has recently come up with. These policies and programs have been written in good and mesmerizing words. But, we believe in action rather than emphasizing merely on words. On the other hand, if the current policies and programs are made distribution-oriented under the pretext of earning cheap popularity, this will put the country’s economy into jeopardy.
These policies and programs have failed to address the need of majority of Nepalis living below the poverty line. For instance, it has been provisioned that loans can be obtained on the basis of academic certificates, but those who are economically disadvantaged have not earned degree of higher education, then, how could they bring the academic certificates to obtain such loan? Likewise, the present statistics shows at least one employment in every household. But fulfilling the need of their families through such employment has been shown impossible.
Against this backdrop, the government had better not taken up the unfeasible policies and programs. There are doubts on the implementation of highly ambitious plans in the policies and programs. The move to build the large infrastructure projects in the country’s own investment is a positive aspect. But, it is absolutely wrong to make the President speak on the project, which is still sub-judice at the Supreme Court.
Our constitution has already incorporated federalism in the country, however the government while passing the policies and programs have offended the issues of federalism. The policies and programs are not only center-focused, but they have also included the tasks of province in future. But the policies and programs remain silent on federal structure.
The largest party in the parliament, Nepali Congress (NC), needs to unite psychologically and physically. If the party members do not get united, we cannot move toward our destination. There are visible instances before us – Whenever the NC gets weaker, the nationalism has weakened, and the nation has also suffered from a crisis. The structures within NC at all the tiers need to stand together to lead the country on the path of stable peace, political stability and economic prosperity, which is only possible through the implementation of the constitution by overcoming all sorts of evils and malpractices currently prevalent in the country.
There are still issues of provincial structure and demarcation of provincial boundaries. There are also issues of discontented communities, including Madhesi and indigenous Janjatis. Of course, there is issue of post earthquake reconstruction. But the legitimacy of this parliament will last till January 21, 2018 (18 months). During this period, we should hold elections of local bodies, provinces and parliament.
Massive interference of international actors have increased. Our neighboring countries are feeling more insecure. Of late, the presence of western countries have extended. Recently, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that it is natural for the USA to show her interests in Nepal at this present context. One instance, however, could be the open presence of foreigners during the recent protests of Federal Alliance. These indicate that there are threats and fears whether the historic achievements made in the country might be lost. ‘Republic, federalism and secularism’ are our achievements.
Had religion freedom been written instead of secularism in the constitution, it could have become better. One of four stars in NC’s party flag illustrates ‘religious freedom’. No doubts, NC has made mistake for not writing religious freedom. People’s feedback and suggestions for religious provisions were ignored while finalizing the constitution.
Currently, the issues of nationalism is being raised strongly. ‘Ultranationalism is in the hills and mountains while ultra-Madhesbaad is in Tarai/Madhes. Both are extremism. Wherever they live, be it Mountains, Hills or Tarai-Madhes, all are Nepalis. One must understand that all the citizens of Mountains, Hills and Tarai-Madhes are equal shareholders on the issue of nationalism. All of the citizens regardless of different ethnicities, religion, sex or geography need to stand together on the issue of nationalism. When psychological bonds among Nepalis strengthens, nationalism also strengthens. All the citizens from Mountains, Hills and Tarai-Madhes should get equal opportunities in basic things like education, health, employment. Then only, our nationalism gets stronger.
The issues of Madhes is currently getting more powerful. Madhesis are also Nepalis. Madhesis do carry the sentiments of nationalism as much as the citizens of Mountains and Hills do. Whatever be the number of provinces demarcated, they will be inside Nepal. This fact must be understood well by those who are ruling the state. The lens to look at Madhes from Kathmandu must be changed. The naturalized citizenship holders of Madhesi community should also understand that they cannot hold any of the constitutional and executive positions in the country at any cost.
So far the issue of provincial demarcation is concerned, the political dialogue committee of the last NC-UML coalition government had given the framework of seven provinces. The same framework can be adopted to sort out the current provincial dispute. Likewise, the representation in the upper house can be ensured based on population and geography.
Democracy can only foster development. Everyone has already understood the fact that democratic parties can only develop. For this, holding election of local bodies is a must. As a democratic party, which fully believes in democracy, NC is eager to go for local polls. But if holding local polls is used as means to stick to power, NC will never accept that.
Sovereignty should not be limited to geography. The issues such as climate change, terrorism, global marketing, and human rights should be the basis for explaining about sovereignty. Now the UML-led government is talking about sovereignty in a louder tone. When the same UML-led government, without holding any consultations with the main opposition NC and agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), submitted the four point ‘Non-Paper Document’ to Indian government, where was the sovereignty of the country then? Therefore, delivering speech alone for the sake of earning cheap popularity cannot strengthen nationality and sovereignty.
Wherever the current government initiates something, it becomes a failure. Cancelling the president’s visit to India at the eleventh hour is not only unfortunate for the country but it also shows the current government’s diplomatic failure. This has consequently strained the relationship between Nepal and India.
The way the Nepali Ambassador to India was called back alleging his involvement in toppling the current government has also worsened the relationship between Nepal and India. The government can call back its ambassador anytime but the allegation on him is quite regretful. The move to call back the ambassador recently has set a trend to make such a decision. It can hardly be said that such a decision will not be replicated in the days to come.
Recently, the judiciary was made the recruitment center for the UML cadres. Such an interference into judiciary, which is regarded as the last resort to democracy and the ultimate belief of people, worried democrats like us.
The opposition party does not always remains in the opposition. The attempt of the opposition party to form or lead or join the government is politics.
Meanwhile, following the NC’s general convention, UCPN-Maoists Chair Prachanda said, “The government has failed completely. We feel ashamed of being a part of it. The permanent committee of our party decided to start the next government formation process under my leadership.” When he approached us, the NC has supported his proposal to form the new government under his leadership.
The NC has not made any mistake by involving in the change of the current government. In Democracy, there is nothing like “let’s compromise and distribute the share among us”. In parliamentary system, it is better for the first and second largest political parties not to participate in the government together. One leads the government while another remains in opposition.
When we adhere to democratic norms and values following the results of the last elections, the first and second largest parties should not stand together in the government. And the NC won’t do that. But, the NC will fully support the government when it comes to the implementation of the constitution. More than 150 new laws have to be legislated to implement the new constitution and NC is ready to assist the government in doing so.
There is no alternative than raising voices against black marketing, artificial shortage, bad governance, price hike, and corruption in the parliament and on the roads, media and social media.
NC needs to launch a campaign to make aware of the constitution among the people from far-flung areas. It should also play effective roles of coordination in sorting out the issues of Madhesi and indigenous Janajatis, including federal demarcation.
These aforesaid issues of discussion are evident for the fact that the current government has failed by all means, which can be toppled any time. There exists perversion and misconduct in every sector. Prime Minister and ministers are the mute spectators. Now this government cannot move ahead further. If it does, it will be a bad fate for the country. It is absolutely not rational to blame that the opposition and neighboring countries have not let the government work. The country is not built by the foreign powers. We have to build it. To do politics and build the nation in a true sense needs a bigger heart, which the current government lacks.