Let Voters Judge Them

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Parmeshwar Devkota

Commenting on the mentality of the majority of politicians, George Bernard Shaw once said, “A politician knows nothing and thinks he knows everything.” Shaw’s adage matches those Nepali politicians who are expressing their dissatisfaction over the election code of conduct recently issued by the Election Commission of Nepal (ECN). The constitution has given the ECN every right to manage and hold elections to the local level, provincial assemblies and federal parliament as well as the election for the post of the President and Vice President. 

ECN is going to hold elections to the House of Representatives and provisional assemblies in accordance with Sub-Clause 1 of Clause 246, on November 20 this year. Prior to the issuance of the poll code, some political parties had visited the ECN office and urged officials to introduce the election rule. They had also expressed their commitment to abiding by it. The election body issued a 60-point election code of conduct on September 28 which covers every aspect of life.  The election code aims to regulate public agencies, officials, private institutions, foreign agencies, individuals and even voters. 

No institution and individual raised any question against the code of conduct except by some political parties. Such stakeholders had expressed their dissatisfaction over the code of conduct by giving a logic that leaders have every right to convince voters to cast vote for their parties.   This logic devaluates the strength of local leaders of the parties and the image of the party itself.  The code of conduct is not to lessen the popularity of any political party, but to maintain peace and stability in the society. It is to make poll cost-effective and hold polls in a free, fair, impartiality and transparent manner. 

The strict poll code is also necessary to keep voters away from monetary inducement. On the issue of economic influence, an economist was saying on a local TV channel recently that about 15 per cent of cash is out of reach from banking channels. He was arguing that the cash may have been held either by political leaders, parties or by business community. If his logic was right, the cash can be used to influence the voters in the forthcoming election.  

Therefore, a sort of restriction is necessary to control the conduct of the three types of leaders. In first category come leaders who want to win the election with their money power. Second, the leaders who distribute hollow promises with their eloquent speeches. Some leaders are so cunning that they have been making fake promises to the voters time and again. Jingoists are the third types of leaders. They are even more harmful for the nation.  Those leaders have been garnering votes from the people who have nationalistic bent.

 In this shared world, sentimental nationalism cannot work.  But, we have been the prey to jingoists. Such leaders create false nationalism and drive a wedge between societies and friendly countries. Therefore, the ECN and voters should express their objections on the spot in the mass meetings so as to bring the leaders on the right track. As Shaw said, leaders know how to win the votes and remain in power; rather than voters judging them.  

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