BY PR Pradhan
“Loktnatra” in “new” Nepal is “of the leaders, by the leaders and for the leaders”. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln had used this phrase “Democracy is direct self-government, over all the people, by all the people, for all the people”. This phrase didn’t work in the Nepali context since Nepal introduced multiparty democracy in 1989.
On the eve of the second phase of elections for the House of Representatives and provincial parliament representatives, political leaders contesting elections were distributing dreams to the voters but the voters were unable to trust the political leaders. Since 1989 and particularly after the Maoist “people’s war” communalism entered in Nepali politics. The Maoists divided Nepal into different communal zones – Limbuwan, Kochila, Mithila, Abadh, Magrat, Tharuhat, among others. The Maoists provoked the innocent ethnic people saying that they would get total autonomy in the area they are staying. Ethnic people joined the Maoist “people’s war” for “liberation” and above 17 thousand people sacrificed their lives in the ten-year-long “people’s war”. Whether the Maoists achieved their ultimate goals or not, whether the ethnic communities achieved the said “liberation” or not, today, the Maoist leaders are giving election speeches saying that they would transform Nepal in five years through a drastic economic revolution. They are even claiming that they would rule for the next 50 years. Should we believe that the country will be economically transformed in the next five years?
Since 2006, the Maoists have been in power time and again. Or say, NC, UML and Maoists were enjoying power under a syndicate mechanism. In the last 11 years, the Nepali people witnessed rampant corruption, day-light loot on the government coffer and lawlessness in the country. Those political leaders wearing slippers became multi-billionaires overnight. Labour unions patronized by the political parties and donations taken by the political parties ruined the industries; government undertakings were ruined as the political parties organized daylight loot in these places. As a result, industries providing employment to hundreds of thousands of people were closed compelling our youths to go abroad for jobs.
To recall, the “autocratic” panchayat government had established many industries and hundreds of thousands of people were employed in these industries. In this “loktantra” local people have become jobless and the nation’s economy has been ruined. If you talk about the country’s economy, political leaders have become multi-billionaires whereas the nation has been bankrupt.
Birgunj is the commercial door of Nepal. During the panchayat days, many infrastructures were developed by the then governments. Today, people in Birgunj are complaining that they have no good roads to walk, the stadium constructed during the panchayat days has already been ruined and no any infrastructures have been constructed after introduction of the multiparty system.
Last month, this scribe had the opportunity to visit Janakpurdham after 30 years. The city was very congested, there was no drainage system in the city which has been proposed for the capital of the No 2 province and sad to state that there was no place to dump local garbage. Roads were in very bad condition. When asked to a local three-wheeler puller, we got the reply that since demise of the panchayat system, not a single road has been repaired, forget about construction of new infrastructure projects!
Local voters are demanding development in their areas whereas the candidates are doing politics of communalism to attract votes. The main complaint the candidates are facing that immediately after they win the election, they will disappear until the next election. Instead of fulfilling the voters’ demands, the candidates are throwing party to the voters by supplying meat, alcohol and some hundred rupees to the back-ward communities. In the name of empowering the back-warded community and landless people, the political leaders have developed the mentality of making those people permanently poor and making them vote bank just spending a few hundred rupees, local alcohol and meat.
Being elected to the post of House of Representatives has become almost like a receiving a license to loot the government coffer. For last three decades after the demise of the panchayat era, people’s livelihood has declined but the living standard of the leaders has changed drastically. On the other hand, except from some politicians like LalbabuPandit,there are the leaders who will have to face jail terms on the corruption charges if the Commission for Investigation on Abuse of Authority will really show the courage to eliminate corruption.