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Jeopardy Again

editOne fails to see constitutionalism functioning in the establishment’s approach begrudging a rounded view to the Tarai problem. There is politics no doubt in portraying the Tarai demands in bad light. The media and our ruling cabal have conveniently forgotten that the demands the Tarai continue to harp on were part and parcel of an agreement at the Indian embassy which arbitrated the settlement of the first Tarai movement a decade back. The neo-nationalist pitch, moreover, conveniences the portrayal of the Tarai movement as India- backed especially after the last Tarai movement precipitated an unofficial blockade in the southern border. But after so much castigation and delays even at the point of ridiculing electoral and legislative mores and procedures the new government can even amend the constitution at this conspicuous hour to give an appearance of concession to the demands and yet withhold other key ones on plea of approaching polls to ultimately push the newly formed Rashtriya Janata Party-Nepal to announce a new set of programs designed to scuttle the second round local level elections to be held in a fortnight. And, so, we are left asking as to what purpose.
There is no doubt that even this second round was precipitated by the Tarai movement. The result has been that the country has for the first time seen the electoral division of the country on grounds of geography. This is damaging enough. But the concessions so far are as yet, – at least at time of writing- unlikely to prevent a further erosion of the case. It only corroborates our standpoint that the constitution introduced to the country last year is likely to create more problems than solve them for the country. Typically, the only justification our political masters give for the elections so far is the implementation of the constitution. That this haste to implement the constitution, as the haste to promulgate it, is the source of the problem has been blind- sided is to be ignored. Of course, the thirst for local elections denied the people for the past decade and a half can be so hyped by a pliant media is good politics. Those who point out that it is the same actors who denied the people this right may be sidelined as undemocratic. The fact that the local levels were manned by an all-party machinery fronted by a centrally appointed civil servant may be dismissed by the very term elections as different from an appointee. Those who question the where and what-about of the unimpeded resources that flowed over the decade from the center will be told that the local level empowerment bid through the polls is much more sizeable now. And, yet, already the newly elected local leaders are being enjoined by central instructions that they curb their spending until their empowerment is legitimized and spelt out by the necessary laws that the legislature must pass. The logic of manning these local governments through elections without the legislative sanction to function is lost in Nepali sanity. The haste, on the other hand, is too blatant for comfort. Unfortunately, so, too, is the self created uncertainty of the second round. But, of course, we are being told of its certainty. Cannot but smell a rat, we say.

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