By PR Pradhan
After securing a two-thirds majority in the parliament, Pushpakamal Dahal, chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN), has started to claim that the constitution should be amended and an executive presidential system should be introduced. According to some CPN sources, the two chairmen of the presently unified party, KP Shama Oli and Pushpakamal Dahal, have made an informal agreement for sharing power. In the latest move, Oli has wished to remain as executive chief of the government, i.e. continuing as the PM for five years even after the unification national convention of the party. According to the understanding between Oli and Dahal, Oli will support Dahal to become the party chairman. And immediately after the national convention, Oli will support Dahal to amend the constitution by introducing the executive presidential system and after the completion of the five year term of Oli, such an amendment of the constitution will be announced and Oli will take political retirement due to his health condition. Then with the strength of two-thirds majority at present and also taking benefit of the unification of the two parties, Dahal will contest for the post of executive president. In this way, the communists in Nepal have planned to capture the state power.
If the above claim is true, surely, Nepal will fall into the grip of the autocratic rulers for decades to come. May be a presidential system is good and it may give political stability, but in a tiny country like Nepal which has a high percentage of illiteracy and population living below the poverty line and which is dominated by two larger neighbouring countries, the presidential system is not good. There is no doubt that this system will give birth to another dictator.
Already, the government having a two-thirds majority, Oli and Dahal have started behaving like they are above the law. Look at the party structure, by dismissing former UML’s elected officials, Oli and Dahal have fill the posts with nominated candidates. By violating the constitution drafted by themselves – without necessary representation of 33 percent of the women representatives – the party central committee has been introduced. The Election Commission, considered as an autonomous body, perhaps under the pressure of the government, has recognized the new party, Communist Party of Nepal. Political observers have felt serious threat of a possible intervention in the court also.
The government slogan is “stable government, economic prosperity” but look at the government action, which is the same as before. Still the corrupt officials are enjoying power with the backing of their political bosses. For instance, the People’s Review has given the example of how billions of rupees have been manipulated by the Nepal Airlines management in the name of purchasing two wide-body Airbus aircraft. But the government has closed its eyes on this corrupt deal being made by the management of the National Flag Carrier. There are hundreds of examples about high-level corruption, but there is no action against the corrupt officials. Prime Minister Oli is found saying that he is not going to be involved in corruption and he will also not allow others to be involved in corruption practices. In real terms, he is encircled by those noted brokers and agents of big businessmen and foreign companies. Therefore, Oli’s anti-corruption move is just for public consumption.
Talking about Oli’s patriotic image, this can be tested during his China visit. As Nepal has remained an India-locked country for always, the Nepali dream is to get another access to the sea via Chinese territory and transporting goods, including petro-products from the third countries. But even after two years of the agreement, during this visit, it is unlikely that this agreement will be finalized in the deal on trade and transit with China. Years ago, when Dahal had visited China, it was agreed to construct a railway line from Kerung to Lumbini via Kathmandu and Pokhara. The Chinese side has already conducted a feasibility study on this project. But, Oli has cut down the railway route by shortening it and marking it from Kerung to Kathmandu only. Again, Oli is in a mood to ask the Chinese government to construct the railway line on grant, which is, in other words, saying no to the railway line construction.
These days, none other than the Nepali Congress leaders have started to say that the present government is more cruel and autocratic than the kings of the Panchayat days!
To conclude, Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s one-point agenda was to capture the state power and he is in the process of capturing state-power by ending the democratic norms and values. It is not surprising that the Communist Party of Nepal has come into existence just in the signboards as the leaders have already given up the communist ideology. However, as the dictatorial attitude of these leaders exists to capture the power and retain power, it can be said the people will not enjoy the freedom which they had cherished for. This could be the vision behind the slogan of political stability and economic prosperity! Never the less, time is not so far to compare the much better rule of the kings as compared to the Communist rulers not only by the NC leaders but by the entire Nepali population as well!
Recalling the kings and Panchayat days
By PR Pradhan