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The Limits of State

Loktantra was officially celebrated this year with lackluster government sponsored gatherings bereft of public spontaneity. Government, freshly emerged from the supposed success of its partisan unification in the lower tiers will project the much vaunted image it seeks from its supposed new strength to assuage an increasingly suspicious public that we are firmly on the path of prosperity having achieved the required stability and peace. It will cite its growth projections and claims as achievements directing the country firmly on the path of progress. All this was expected. Indications, however, are otherwise. In realization of this, government must include in its speeches and claims ‘inconsequential’ reactionary attempts to sabotage the achievements of Loktantra. Fact is that, the very mention of these activities pays cognizance to the fact that things are far from hunky dory. Belittling the opposition is a natural political trend in democracies. As much as Prime Minister K.P. Oli may be blind to the home realities of the grass roots, it is the grass roots that increasingly feel uncomfortable at how distant his party which boasts a decisive two-thirds majority in the legislature can afford to be from the truth. Indeed, the NCP-NCP cadre was more than aware of the rifts that have been triggered with this leviathan party with its much claimed success of unifying lower tier party committees. Indeed, it was precisely the fear of such rifts that had delayed the process for so long. As a result, what has emerged is an endorsement of the very group-ism within the party that the Nepali Congress now openly admits plagues its own. The schism this Loktantra jubilation will now surface into unknown directions that will add to the mounting threats to Loktantra itself.
Increasingly, Oli must now rely on the frustrating utility of his party and government muscle to tame the streets therefore. His direct orders must put the black flag carrier during his mid-western trip behind bars. He must threaten and ridicule the ousted monarch for the inefficacy of his increasingly attractive walkabouts with his people. He must accuse the Nepali Congress of attempting to sabotage loktantra by joining hands with the reactionaries. Yes, Oli has not just government but his party muscle, media and moneys to flaunt. But these are unlikely to deter widespread public awareness on which politics and politicians must cash. The Nepali Congress, for example, is being asked to lead street activities albeit to ‘consolidate the gains of Loktantra’. This is a promise to take to the streets, something, which the tarai based parties have long been scheduling. Kamal Thapa may still be prevaricating over whether to prioritise the Hindu State or the Monarchy as its show case demand but the first phase of its street programs have been called off for the moment followed by supposed call for talks by government. The other RPP has promised agitation upon realization of a sudden that an elected head of state has proven to be partisan and not above politics. There is, of course, the other Maoist party, Biplav’s, that is behaving more belligerent the harsher government action gets. The fact is that perhaps the most outstanding gain of Loktantra has been that to do with exposing the limits of state to Nepal and the Nepali. It is this that is driving the Nepali people to the street and turning away from Loktantra.

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