So Sher Bahadur Deuba has been elected prime minister again. Ironically, he became the prime minister not only through the proposal of former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the same person on whose head Deuba had put a ransom, but also with Maoist support. This is politics and politicians seem to have no shame.
Like mentioned last week this man is very inept, but he climbed the slippery ladder of Nepali politics by hanging on to the pants of late Girija Prasad Koirala, though he later betrayed him and this writer thinks Koirala deserved to be betrayed by such a person like Deuba. But Deuba was clever enough to forge a matrimonial alliance, like in the old days with a Rana woman who was educated and well in touch with foreign INGOs.
Deuba’s climb up the political ladder and clever alliances much late in his life were beneficial financially, however the time has come when his cunningness will be tested and critics as well as political observers will be watching whether he has honed his political skills while waiting in the sidelines to be what he is now.
His first test will be in holding the second phase of local elections. But it seems India and some Western countries want this to happen so it will go ahead. Otherwise, the month of July is the most rainy season and the majority of Nepali people are engaged in planting paddy, their staple food. The rains will also discourage other ordinary folks from going to vote and the political parties themselves used to say time and again, it is impossible to hold election during the Monsoon period as all people are busy in agricultural chores.
One other thing that must never be forgotten is that it was Deuba when he was prime minister who had failed to hold local level elections. The entire media network only gushes how the people are enthusiastic and eager to cast their votes to elect local leaders. They never utter a word on how the political parties could not hold local elections for twenty years.
There is no doubt local level elections were important. In this huge gap of time, corrupt low level bureaucrats took over the charge of looking after the local bodies, here there and everywhere in the country. In fact I remember a lady who was the chairperson in the ward where my home was located who even took guavas from my garden when she realized she could not get any money from me. I just could not say NO, not only because I had some work to be done in the Ward Office but also imagining how her family may relish the freshly picked fruit.
These days every small work related to anything, from birth to death certificates, travel and so on and so forth, have to be ‘passed and be given an official approval by the Ward’, so there is no escaping. As I have said time and again in this column, rules are made in Nepal not to facilitate the general public but for greedy bureaucrats to take advantage.
Now to come back to Deuba becoming the prime minister and also holding of local elections, it dismays any sane person to realize how the country is functioning. Only three parties seem to be running the country, that also with India’s blessings. The sad thing is there seem to be no good leaders in any of the three parties. So with a prime minister like Deuba, the scenario looks really dismal.
About the local elections, again it has been dominated by the so called three big parties, but this time the people are quite alert and they will be watching every move of the elected persons. It can be hoped those elected will really work for their localities. As for the next phase of local election, it will be a real test for Deuba and also a question on whether India playing its ace card and allowing the Madesh based parties to take part in the electoral process or not. Or maybe the election date could be postponed again for Monsoon reasons or any other pretext.
Why silent about who did not hold local election?