Tuesday , September 18 2018
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Election Spanners

editThe word now is tarai-madhes. It appears that our caste-ism politics finds the use of neither of the two words alone adequate. The scene shifts there again after parties fighting for the rights of that region have decided not only to boycott the local level elections outright but to disrupt the elections from taking place in that region. As if this were not spanner enough, after southern representatives in the Congress have begun appealing to their leadership that the region’s demands must be accommodated to make any elections there meaningful, yet another spanner has been thrown into the muddle that is the elections by none less than the sitting home minister who hails from that region who acknowledges at this stage that the security situation there is inadequate for the elections. This is the same home minister who has thrown yet another spanner in the conduct of the election government by refusing to attend the cabinet on grounds of protocol. It looks like this senior Congress cadre is nitpicking because of differences with his party leader along with others of his region in the party. This is because both standpoints evidently serve to undercut the party leadership’s insistence that the local level polls will take place on the scheduled date making their participation as the largest party in government and the legislature meaningful.
The protocol tiff that home minister Nidhi has raised is with the other participant in government who has just emerged as the leader of a united RPP, Kamal Thapa, the other deputy prime minister whose local development ministry is directly involved in the local elections. After having triggered a splinter immediately after his emergence as party boss, the elections itself appear to have triggered a cadre undercurrent insisting that the elections itself are meaningless. This is not simply because the election commission has not entertained the party request that the commission’s deletion of its agenda be corrected. There is, perhaps more importantly, a growing grudge within the party that their agenda opposing republicanism, secularism and federation would seem virtually impossibly within reach by participating in elections under a constitution that admits that a majority government is well nigh impossible. The question of a two thirds majority for the necessary constitutional amendment to achieve their objective becomes even more remote thus. It is this recognition, however belated, at the cadre level that might well determine their participation in the local level polls against the leadership’s insistence on participation in government. Yes, the grass roots seem finally moving and whether this will result in triggering an assertion at the cadre level over the leadership awaits response in the conduct of the polls. Whatever, the tarai-madhes is moving and so are other spanners that can make the movement against participation in the polls more volatile. All this is despite the massive investments already pouring into the media selling the elections as a certainty and a cure-all.

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