BY P. KHAREL
Finally, the time of reckoning has arrived for the Left Alliance. With the CPN (UML)-Maoist Centre alliance firmly in power, the Opposition with Nepali Congress at the forefront is set to play spoilsport or laying down its bargaining chips behind the scene. The ruling partners had a bitter foretaste of the type of politics headed for unfolding.
Outgoing Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba betrayed his frustrations over having to hand over the reins of governance to his arch-opponent K.P. Oli, chief of the CPN (UML). Oli outshone the Nepali Congress president and outgoing premier who miserably failed to leave a good impression upon even his party youth.
Four-time Prime Minister, Deuba’s desperation was writ large on his face, words and actions. Flouting the established practices of democracies where an outgoing government refrains from making major decisions unless avoidable and inevitable, Deuba broke all norms and vainly tried justifying his actions. He announced programmes that would cost the national exchequer scores of billions of rupees. Deuba’s brazen decisions and the support of the cabinet, most of whose ministers were either defeated or did not contest the last elections was the height of misdemeanour.
DISGRACEFUL: In brief, disgrace marked the change of guards between Deuba and Oli, underscoring the depth of undignified battle of words and pernicious measures in “loktantrik” Nepal. The air is choked with exaggerated claims and snide comments. Predictably lionised by party workers and equally berated by opponents, Oli is at the crucial period of history. The big Question is whether he has the capacity and, more importantly, the backbone to deliver. Vocabulary of resentment should not be responded with appeasement.
Having asked for a majority so that it could govern for a full term of five years, the Left Alliance has obtained a comfortable mandate. Much, however, depends on how the governing partners maintain intra-alliance relations. This is not the first time a single group has won a majority in the popular house, though the majority mandate did not prevent the arbitrary calling of snap polls and party splits.
Ambitions run high among Nepali politicians, many of whom are found prone to falling for carrots dangled at them for short-term gains. Oli’s Left Alliance will be closely watched whether it departs from the dubious tradition of not completing a full term or set the record of solid unity. For, there is no room for excuses to split or fail to deliver under a polity they claim to be its authors.
Rare do we find a communist majority government in a multiparty political system through generally accepted electoral mechanism. The Nepali Leftists have accepted political pluralism which its communist mentors abroad skirt like a plague. Here, the various splinter communist groups might work for common areas of agreement and join hands as a single grouping.
Should the Left Alliance fail to deliver even after the much coveted majority, it could cause a serious dent in its backbone in future electoral politics. First it will have to deal with hangars-on, dipped in greed, power, posts and privileges. Cronies cozy up to party leaders for attractive assignments and approval of government contracts without the prospect of creating any impressive records or performance, though.
PRIORITY: The new government must be able to put the right people in the right posts if desirable performance were to be obtained for real, and demonstrate the law of equality in application. Checking the prevailing rampant corruption from being fedarlised and decentralised, archaic laws should be scrapped. Timely and effective measures are called for to plug the loopholes that the new ruling team, too, had misused for own narrow purposes so often and extensively in the past.
The last 25 years have produced far more wealthy leaders than during the three decades of partyless panchayat. Prejudices will be promoted and inequality spread wider if no check is conducted as per the existing law. Excessively rich leaders in a poverty-stricken country are an anomaly to any functioning democracy. Corruption, not merit, creates such sordid situation. Influence peddling, open bribery from even party members and public posts auctioned off for personal gains create havoc in the eyes of rule of law and good governance.
For the standards of Nepali politicians in power, the exacting regimen for governance includes anti-corruption measures, transparency and accountability. This is a hard sell but without which, good governance in this country will fail to be even a dream. One shudders to think of what the consequences might then be. Youth’s distate for the status quo is understandable and something to be feared, given the unpreductable consequences it can trigger in a society mired by unscrupulus politicians who give the law shirt shrift as and when they can.
The Left alliance begins a heady launch. Next year this time, things should crystallise as to the mode and methods employed by the new set of rulers whose past is basically dubious, whose promises lofty. Its performance will be the pudding before the public for taste. For any failaure, you can’t blame the constitution you passed basically all on your own.
Now, Leftists’ Time to Act
BY P. KHAREL