Now or Never
timer Published Date:29th Sep, 2020

Finally, with the formation of the national consensus government under Baburam Bhattarai’s leadership, the much awaited peace and statute seem to be in sight. Though late, the political leaders appear to have woken up to realize their historic responsibilities, which, indeed, should have happened quite long ago.

 Earlier, with the Constituent Assembly deadline inching closer and most of the contentious issues still unresolved, confusions and uncertainties had begun to grow up, and this climate of confusion lay not only among the general public but also among the Nepali polity and intelligentsia. Given that Supreme Court had already put a cap on the CA term extension, there had been different speculations about what would happen if the CA failed to promulgate a federal democratic constitution by May 27. The working schedule of the CA had time and again been affected by the failure of the major political parties to reach a consensus over various crucial issues including the PLA integration into the Nepal army, and this delay in army integration had consequently delayed the constitution writing process. But there was a dawn of hope after the parties were finally able to strike a deal over the issues related to the long staled army integration process last month. This eventually paved a way for the parties to accelerate on the long pending tasks of statute drafting.

The final awakening of the political masters, though much late, has regenerated hopes among the general public. In the later days, the lead political parties are in the tireless marathon race in their attempts to resolve the differences on many contentious issues.  Starting from the two day long residential meeting at Hattiban Resort on the first week of Baishakh, there have been series of meetings over the month. Even though the Hattiban gathering couldn’t give an expected outcome, it largely contributed in narrowing down the differences, thus setting up a dependable base for the future meetings.  And most of the meetings held after that, have been proved to be fruitful and effective. Unlike those in the past, the present meetings have witnessed intensive and in depth discussions on the conflicting issues. As a result, the parties have already reached an understanding on most of the significant issues like the formation of Constitutional court, electoral system and also issues related to citizenship, while the other remaining issues are due to be resolved very soon, as claimed by these parties. This is a good symptom of the fact that the long awaited constitution is not very far from us now.

Our politicos wasted more than three crucial years of CA without even a single achievement. The CA term scheduled for two years in the interim constitution was extended time and again, when the leaders repeatedly failed to meet the deadline. There are various reasons deemed responsible for this continued failure. Political insincerity among the leaders and their hunger for power, have often surfaced as the key factors causing this prolonged political deadlock. However, to consider it the truth will mean only a perfunctory analysis of the present Nepali polity. We need to delve much deeper in to the current political spectrum in order to be able to figure out the main factor that deliberately caused this delay. The long and frustrating spells of political stagnation were caused primarily due to the latent conflict existing between the bi-polar political forces i.e. the status quoists and the extremists. It was this intolerance of each other’s existence and ideologies existing on both the sides that, for a long time, pushed the country into the labyrinths of indecision. The status quoist faction, represented by the long time ruling elites, those from old and mainstream political parties like Nepali congress and even CPN (UML), was inherently reluctant to adopt change. Although they repeatedly asserted their commitment to peace and statute, it was only a manifest reality.  They deliberately deferred it hoping that they could make the opposition ultimately yield to their pressure. The controversial statement made by one of the senior leaders of Nepali congress Sher Bahadur Deuba regarding the constitution and the federal structure of the nation stands as the solid example of this faction’s reluctance to  adopt and institutionalize the changes achieved so far. Deuba, while addressing the gathering of his party cadres a few months ago, had talked about the possibility of reviving the constitution of 1990, and converting all the seventy five districts of Nepal into the federal states.

On the other hand, the extremist faction represented by Maoists wasn’t ready to accept any remains of the hitherto existing system. The zero tolerance exhibited by this faction even to some popular names and terms linked up directly or indirectly with monarchy or monarchical system immediately after the monarchy was overthrown has clearly proved their irritation with the old system. They wanted to institutionalize change along the line of their so-called people’s war.

The country was, thus, entangled in the tug of war between these opposing forces, and they continuously tried to obliterate each other’s mission and establish the supremacy of their principles. Finally, with both the sides ready to step out of the rigidity of their ideological frontiers, the deadlock is nearing its end.

While the leaders strive for the final negotiations, different groups and caucuses including the Janajatis, Madhesis, among many others, have begun mounting pressures on the parties, voicing their concerns for the last time. As the entire nation stands at the threshold of a new era, this is the most appropriate time for everyone to make themselves heard in order to ensure their place reserved in the new constitution, lest they should be excluded from the nation building campaign forever. Therefore, the parties should take this as a natural occurrence and should be patient and cautious enough to try to address all the issues in the best of the nation’s interest. Now is the time for leaders to do all this and set an example for the future generations to follow. Now is the time for them to write a golden history. If not now, such a conducive time may never come back again.

May7, 2012

 

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