In a multiparty democratic set-up, the political parties play a critical role in steering the society towards the path of development, order and overall well-being of the citizens. Democracy offers choices to the people, who articulate their concerns and aspirations through the elected representatives. In the periodic elections, the people reward and punish the parties based on their performance while in government or opposition. So the polls offer an opportunity for the parties to mend their ways as well as push for more people-centric programmes. The democratic system entails a wide range of actors, processes and values to give impetus to it. It is the political parties that occupy the central place in this regard. Their integrity, efficiency and accountability remain vital to oil the wheels of system and build resilience that is essential to deal with the crisis precipitated by conflict and incompatible position among the parties.
It is a well-established fact that political parties have been the agents of change ever since the country witnessed the dawn of democracy, opening up and modernisation process in 1951. They are not just the harbingers of drastic political reforms. They have greatly facilitated the social, economic and cultural changes. The parties have stood united at the time of national crises- be it wrought by the external factors like blockade or the natural disasters like earthquake. Their unity and collaboration have been the main force behind the seismic changes that the nation passed through. It was not possible to promulgate the new constitution in 2015 if the parties represented in the Constituent Assembly had not acted collectively with a unity of purpose. The latest instance of their partnership came to fore in publication of map incorporating the territories encroached by India in the far-west Nepal.
The other day President Bidya Devi Bhandari highlighted the importance of the unity and common approach of the parties. According to a news report carried this daily, President Bhandari has stressed the need for effective implementation of the constitution and strengthening of democracy in an environment where the political beauty is reflected on establishing mutual dialogue, cooperation and unity among the parties. On Wednesday, the President called an all-party meeting to inform about her upcoming state visit to Bangladesh where she will attend the event to be held in Dhaka on the occasion of the birth centenary of father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. At the meeting, she focused on cooperation and consensus among the parties as the nation is passing through an unintended deadlock. She said, “Our society has remained decent, civilised and tolerant. The leadership here has always maintained a high political culture that must continue.” The President has mentioned that the parties’ unprecedented national unity last May to publish a new political map covering the encroached territory of country is laudable.
It is imperative that the parties should develop a common viewpoint on the matter of economy, drinking water, education, health, tourism, climate change and people’s livelihood. The President has rightly underscored the tradition of political culture that needs to be nurtured and refined to advance the democratic polity. The constitutional behavior and political culture are intertwined. Adherence to the constitutional practice enables the parties to overcome the trust deficit and check the moral lapses that Nepali politics has been suffering time and again. A high level understanding and clear vision should be espoused by the parties to resolve the ongoing impasse.