Wednesday, 19 January, 2022

Relentless Ripples In Political Pond

Relentless Ripples In Political Pond

Bhupa P. Dhamala

After the fierce struggle for position of power for more than a year between the political leaders of the ruling party, democratically elected parliament under the newly established republican system has been dissolved for the second time in less than six months. It can’t be a welcoming event but it’s here and now facing us whether we like it or not. There are now only two options one of which political actors may choose – protest against the dissolution or go for election. The opposition leaders are organised to do the former, not the latter. Had there not been life threatening pandemic, the streets in the valley and across the nation would have been filled with myriad demonstrators against the move of the Prime Minister. They have been wise enough to peacefully sue for reinstatement of the House of Representatives with a petition in Supreme Court.
The ripples on the political pond, however, do not seem to settle so soon. The Opposition leaders are also likely to stage movements for creating public opinions against the dissolution, if only in limited scale considering the current context. As has always been the case, the dissident political forces may come up with fresh fits to create yet another commotion because each turmoil leaves some ground for the possibility of future turbulence. The process is relentless and crosscurrents still exist, they might upset the mainstream currents oftentimes if the root causes are not clearly identified and sincerely addressed.

Conflicting Charges
One of the major weaknesses of Nepali political actors is to look at things and events standing simply at one angle of vision creating a limited universe of their own. This is applicable to all parties despite in differing degrees. The most debatable scene has been surfaced in the NCP-UML whose chairman has been fortunate enough to rule the country even after he lost the vote of trust in the House. The misfortune of the party of a fortunate chairman is the interparty rift that has infected the rank and file of the whole party. Needless to reiterate, there are two factions accusing each other of violating the political norms and values. While the rebellious group, led by senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, charges chairman KP Sharma Oli of being totalitarian, the official group, led by Oli, accuses Nepal of being an anarchist. Both accusations are as harsh as compelling.
It may be presumptuous to pass judgment on who is right and who is wrong. But being a student of political discourse I can explain, if need be, that the leader of each faction is doing wrong by using hate speech to condemn the other. Being blindfolded, the cadres of each faction are denouncing the leader of another faction on personal grounds. This trait can also be found in other political parties in some degree but most notably the members of the ruling party are violating the political norms, values, and principles and crossing the borders of party disciple. It seems as though they have not learnt to see things and events from multiple perspectives. Had they been trained as critical and independent cadres within the boundaries of discipline, this misconduct would not have shown its ugly face in so naked manner.
The House dissolution has now shut the door to form alternative government. The mainstream group, led by Premier Oli, is rejoicing with jubilant motion that the political opponents will utterly be defeated in the next election. On the other side, the crosscurrent group, led by leader Nepal, is showing extremely angry reactions against Oli’s move. The squabble follows and, as an unwanted consequence, the party itself becomes weak. There is no point in denying both of these factions are responsible for the unfortunate event and its repercussions. A genuine well-wisher of the party might think each faction is not wise to burn their own house and dance around it with lose-win cacophony. As a matter of fact, both factions are losing, not winning at all.

Likelihood of reconciliation
People are tired of voting every time for the betterment and yet they get frustrated with the behaviour of political actors causing incessant instability. At nostalgic moments they say monarchy was better than the republic, which is not the case in deed. Democracy as a system cannot be denied by judging the role of agency alone. Now is the time for retrospection. Let us raise voice against the ulterior motive of the political leaders but more importantly let us also interrogate the system of governance which has left loopholes to allow usurpation of power for personal gain. But even that faulty system should first be corrected by politicians. Let us create public opinions about it.
To my little understanding, at least three things can be reviewed with national consensus. Can we replace the parliamentary system with the presidential system mentioning the provision of general people’s direct vote for the President? Can we make the President really accountable to the legislature? Can we form the cabinet with the meaningful involvement of the capable and honest experts out of the House also?
I don’t think Nepali political masters will consider such questions right now. I reckon they will continue to play foul games to serve their own interests. But a day might come when they realise their follies and foibles. I think there are two basic rules to operate a social system – the rule of ethics and the rule of necessity. If ethics fails, necessity is not far behind. When human efforts don’t work, time heals. The once rival groups can ultimately nod their heads and shake hands to build consensus and work together at opportune moment. Better late than never.

(Professor of English, TU (retd.), the author is the chairman of Molung Foundation.