By PR Pradhan
The leaders of the day have already felt that the present constitution is non-functional and it has already failed. If recalled, Baburam Bhattarai and Krishna Shitaula were much active in writing the constitution. Today, Bhattarai is saying that the issue of demarcation of the boundaries of the provinces has to be settled first to implement the constitution. Furthermore, he is advocating that as the parliamentary model has already failed, the constitution has to be amended by introducing the provision of a directly elected President.
Within the ten months of promulgation of the constitution, the very people who drafted the constitution have started to demand for its amendment. Already, immediately after the promulgation of the constitution, it was amended and the leaders are preparing for the next amendment in the constitution.
UML chair and immediate past prime minister KP Sharma Oli is found saying that the modality of federalism is non-functional in a country like Nepal. On the other hand, Madheshi Janadhikar Forum leader Upendra Yadav has been saying saying that all the demands put forward by the Madheshi alliance have to be fulfilled through an amendment in the constitution. Otherwise, the constitution will be scrapped.
A section of leaders are saying that this is the constitution approved by above 90 percent of the people’s representatives. However the fact is that out of above 150 thousand general public’s suggestions, the CA adopted only 500 people’s suggestions and the rest of the suggestions were dumped with the explanation that their suggestions didn’t match with the spirit of the constitution. As the people have not felt their ownership on this constitution, it cannot be implemented, say constitutional experts
Bhattarai, coordinator of the Naya Shakti party, who is pleading for Presidential rule, knowingly or unknowingly, has wished to return to the pre-1990 era when there was the King as the executive chief. In the changed context, he has advocated for directly elected President as the executive chief of the nation. Understandably, Bhattarai has confessed that the then Panchyat system was far better than today’s “loktantra”. There was a system and even the King never tried to cross the constitutional limits. During the Panchayat rule all the things were in proper shape and all the government organs were more efficient, professional and effective. More importantly, the monarchs had always respected democratic norms and values and the monarchs were always loyal to the people. Corruption was controlled. There was political stability and peace. Today’s “loktantra” cannot be compared with the Panchayat system in any of the areas including good governance, national sovereignty, independence and guaranteeing fundamental rights of the individuals.
The monarchs had respected the people’s aspiration as the monarchs wanted to see their sons succeeding the throne. If the people were unhappy, the monarchy could not continue, therefore, the kings always regarded their people as supreme source of the rule. Contrary to that, if we introduce the presidential system in Nepal, the president may emerge as a dictator for be able to enjoy a full term of his or her tenure. Again, the president will try to buy votes and win the election for the next term. In many countries, we have seen the repetition of the same person as the president for decades. In this way, there is the threat of inviting dictatorial rule. The other thing is that the president elected directly by the people will try to please his voters and behave negatively against those who voted against him. A country like Nepal having diverse communities, the president cannot play the role of the symbol of unity among the people which was played by the kings.
The question is whether we should chose an elected president or restore a non-elected king to keep intact and united the nation! Since the introduction of democracy in 1950, the country has passed through many experiments. We had adopted multiparty democracy and now we are experiencing federal republic modality of democracy. If anybody doubts that the monarchy was the hurdles for development and democracy, in many developed countries, there is monarchial rule. If anybody doubts on parliamentary democracy, even in the United Kingdom and many other countries, including India, this modality has been successful. Therefore, by saying failure of any particular system, to go for a new experiment is not wise. Talking about Bhattarai, he is the most unsuccessful political leader. He sacrificed his energetic years for a system having violent revolution. In the name of “people’s war” above 15 thousand innocent people were killed. Finally, Bhattarai’s revolution didn’t become successful. Today, Bhattarai has quit the party and opened a new party called Naya Shakti (new force) by following the principles of the Panchayat democracy – fusion of democratic and communist values. On the whole, Bhattarai is following the Panchayeti path, whether he will accept it or not.
Neither the Panchayat nor the parliamentary systems were bad. Since we adopted the multiparty democracy, the behavior of political leaders became bad. Instead of contributing for the nation with an open heart, the leaders became self-centric and they were unable to stand above their personal interests, family interests and the party interests. They encouraged corruption and commission practices from which the general public became poor whereas the political leaders became multi-billionaires. The political leaders became foreign puppets, rather they could project themselves as leaders thinking about the national interests. The first thing is needed to function a democracy in Nepal is correction of the behavior of the political leaders. If we study the political situation and performance of the political leaders for last 25 years, we can get clear scenario that how the democracy was ruined!
In conclusion, by considering the geo-political situation of the nation, instead of moving towards a new experiment, without any hesitation, we should return to the 1990 constitution by giving space to all the stakeholders. Otherwise, we will be inviting civil war and foreign intervention in further massive level.