Democracy Dynamics and Contradictions

The recently held General Election has established three new parties in the political center; Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), Nagarik Unmukti Party and Janamat Party. Nagarik Unmukti and Janamat party made commendable performances by winning 3 and 1 seats respectively. The latter even crossed the prescribed threshold in the Proportional Representation system.

Election outcomes at times surface like miracles. That happens when people fail to detect the undercurrent or the wave as they normally gauge things around the existing political parties. Nothing illustrates that more amply than the emergence of the RSP in the national scene.

Along with these three parties, the Pro-Monarchy Rastriya Prajatantra Party has revitalized itself all over again. Against just one seat in the House of Representatives previously, the party, now, has acquired the status of national party, won seven seats in the FPTP, and is assured of at least as many seats in the PR category.

How the RSP, a new party will perform is yet to be seen, but it has given a clear message that it is not in favour of the federal structure in its present form. By not fielding the candidates for Provincial legislature, RSP has already spoken on one of the most controversial features of the current constitution.

As of now, Nagarik Unmukti Party, concentrated in Western Tarai, has retained its presence. Ranjita Shrestha Chaudhary, wife of Resham Chaudhary has secured the mandate again even though he has been languishing in Jail as a murder convict. But Chaudhary could expose the dual standard of top politicians including that of Maoist Chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal who went to the jail to solicit his support for government formation.

Janamat Party’s C K Raut who once lobbied with the international community for the vivisection of the country and spit venom against other communities in the country is now oath-bound to reverse his politics. Raut, as a brilliant academician and recognized scientist, is on probation and the country is waiting to see his political inference after his different kind of experiments and observation.

Rajendra Lingden, newly elected Chairman of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) brought larger recognition to the much-maligned political groups in the country by raising the party’s size and presence in parliament and establishing it as a force to reckon with. The two victories and defeats—one in Jhapa-3 where Lingden defeated Krishna Prasad Sitaula of the Nepali Congress for his throughout pursuing and practicing conspiratorial politics, and another in Makwanpur -2 where Kamal Thapa was defeated by Deepak Bahadur Singh—have much bigger intrinsic values. The constituency and legitimacy for the restoration of the Hindu Kingdom is apparently on the rise in the country.

On the other hand, three self-declared ‘Massiah’ of the Tarai—Mahanth Thakur, Rajendra Mahato and Uprndra Yadav—have fallen on their face, despite Thakur making it to the parliament. How they review their past and present will decide whether they will have any relevance left in the future politics of Nepal.

Everyone knows money had a big role to play in the election. Now, the process of government formation is still to be performed. This will also be an occasion to observe what lessons the parties have learned from the mandate. Will the smaller parties try to assert their ideology and principles than readily accepting a ministerial berth?

Constituent Assembly. File Photo

We have witnessed, especially at the time of the constitution-making how the MPs acted like ‘whipped horses’ instead of speaking their conscience. They simply raised their hands, and passed the documents which they had never read, and gave birth to a constitution that has now failed to address many crucial problems of the country.

Big parties not acting like bullies and giving due respect to rules, laws, procedures and established parliamentary practice enhances the credibility and beauty of parliament. Such behavior will easily help addressing any arising problems, and enhancing the dignity of the Highest representative body of the people.

Refusing to learn from past may even turn the parliament into a ‘Fish Market or a circus. Failure on the part of ‘Master’ to tame members with rules, discipline and order may sometimes lead to an ugly situation of their becoming wild and uncontrolled.

Democratic practices trampled under the feet of the big leaders and parties like in the past may really make them vulnerable given the rise of youths, idealistic forces on one side, and entry of forces like Janamat and Janamukti party with peoples mandate on the other.