Power politics is the buzz word more so since the country entered the republican phase a little over four years back. The power centres that were there earlier were far and few in comparison to what are seen flexing their muscles in the present context. Now, when it comes to the appointments in the various public organisations or commissions, there is always the tussle among the political parties to get their nominee on the driving seat. A recent example is that of Dr. Govinda K.C. who embarked on his fast unto death for appointments based on merit to the vacant posts in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Tribhuvan University (TUTH), and also for implementing the probe report that had implicated the IOM officials for irregularities. In fact, Dr. KC’s steps were an outcome of frustrations in the present context where proximity to the leading political players counts more than the qualifications and dedicated services. Fortunately, the said doctor has ended his fast, for the Tribhuvan University has committed to meet the demands for the appointment of the IOM office bearers on the basis of seniority or through free competition. This is, however, a rare display of trying to follow the rules rather than merely zooming in on the political colour of the candidate in the race.
This highly politicised scenario of appointments in every domain has reached its zenith without any way out at the moment. The rules and regulations are flouted by the power wielding leaders, and at the whims of the political parties that never tire on speaking of merit-based appointments of public position holders. It is like sharing the spoils by the parties in trying to make appointments. The case of appointments made in the various universities made sometime back speaks of the major parties getting their fill of the quota. When the move ought to have been directed towards appointing the most qualified from among the keen lot, it was only the political ideology and how close the individual was to a party who fulfilled the criteria. That cannot be the basis for making appointments of the high officials of TU or for that matter any public institution like the Commision for Investigation of the Abuse of Authority or the Election Commission. This has not only affected the functioning of the institutions concerned but also disillusioned the sincere and dedicated lot. If carrying the flag of a political party can earn one a high post, the need to work sincerely could exit through the back door.
It is true that when pressure builds up, the government tends to becomes a smooth talker, sans any content. This, unfortunately, has made the public institutions very lucrative sites for corruption to flourish. When the patron of an appointed individual is a party in its heyday, the tendency is obvious for impunity to run rife despite the gravest of mistakes or a total apathy to zero-tolerance to corruption. The petty partisan interests are playing the spoilsports with corruption and irregularities being at the forefront. The competition for the selection of qualified officials must be free and impartial, and not a ticker tape of commitments and assurances.
The protracted bandh in the far-west of the country has reached a staggering 19 days with no signs of ending in the immediate future unless the stakeholders manage to reach a compromise. So far, the government has not been able to meet the demands of the strikers. In the process, the people in the region have to put up with immense hardships. Now, supplies of essential commodities including food and medicines are getting scarce there as a result of which the people devastated. The transport services have also been brought to a standstill. Among those affected the most are daily wage earners and also the sick. The families of the daily wage earners are unable to procure items of daily necessities. This indeed makes life difficult for them.
Meanwhile, the sick who need treatment urgently are not able to go to hospitals because of the virtual closure of all vehicular movement. Reports are already in of four people dying because of being deprived of timely medical attention. Seeing how hard the people in the bandh-affected are hit, it is in the interest of all concerned to find a way out to end the long drawn out bandh.