Kathmandu: The periodic election is one of the fundamental features and practices of a democratic system. However, the exercise of election is being portrayed as the sole feature of democracy in our context; electoral malpractices abound. The consensus politics is being promoted at the cost of democratic process. The blanket promotion of so called consensus became a matter of order after 2005-06 AD suppressing dissenting voice and due process so integral to democracy.
Election in democracy is the system to let the majority govern. But, post 2022 November election, the third largest party with support from the party more than double its size in the parliament, formed the government on December 26. It secured the vote of confidence on January 10. But Maoists and UML’s coalition fell out on the eve of presidential elections. And fast changing the partner replacing UML with the Nepali congress, Prachanda secured the second vote of confidence on March –but all that at the cost of credibility of political parties and that of the leadership.
What is seen is the birth of a new coalition with 11 parties. Prachanda has chosen not to explain what made him to discard a partner and go for another so soon. What he did was definitely not something in the interest of the nation and democracy, but in his own personal and partisan interest, in pursuit of democracy.
‘When are you going to seek another vote of confidence, Bishnu Poudel, a UML leader asked the Prime minister, in course of the debate. Prachanda did not respond, but at the core of his heart, he knows, he will continue to do it each time he faces a crisis, and so long as MPs are there available for barter with power and money. The rot in politics and power does percolate down fast. Provincial governments and legislative bodies would soon be witnessing the same draft in politics that is sure to affect or alter the government composition.
Nepal has moved fast from Prajatantra to Loktantra and Ganatantra, but all powerful party chiefs with all organizational powers vested on them, and a prime minister carrying 17 ministries on his shoulder is a rare show-piece of democracy Nepal model. Democracy promotes equality and equity, liberty and rule of law. Prachanda is almost set to offer blanket amnesty of his party cadre for killing, torture and all kind of crimes during insurgency, and representation to under privileged including women and dalits is a far cry.
Long queue of people in the Department of labour, passport office and Tribhuvan international airport is just a proof of how much trust they have for Prachanda, Deuba, Madhav Nepal or KP Oli. The government, parliament or even the judiciary have failed to address the victims of conflict despite the comprehensive peace accord, 2006 promising suitable action against the perpetrators of crime by the end of 2008.
The adverse economic situation, especially post Covid has injected further disappointment of small farmers who have borrowed loans from micro finance, small cooperatives and private money lenders in exorbitant interest rate, driving many of them to commit suicide than living with the tag of ‘defaulter’.
But a power centric government or its Prime Minister can afford to be deaf and dumb and refuse to respond to the kind of crisis people are facing. The most people receiving thus far seems promises in words not translated into actions. Moreover, the Prachanda led government has discovered unique way of silencing or suppressing people’s voice. On March 21, police demonstrated that method-they gagged-two demonstrators who were going to raise slogans against Prachanda on the day world was celebrating the hope to reject and end all forms of discrimination.