Kathmandu, September 16
In yet another ‘provocative’ statement, Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal today appealed to youths to ‘counter’ forces that were trying to fail the system, prompting civil society members and the main opposition to term it ‘fear-mongering’ aimed at silencing criticism against the government’s failure to deliver.
Speaking during a programme at the NCP headquarters in Kathmandu, Dahal said reactionary forces were making a bid to nip the democratic republic system in the bud, and urged students and youths affiliated to the party to counter them.
This is not the first time Dahal has made such a statement, but it fits into a series of statements coming from ruling NCP leaders, including Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who had urged party cadres to attack the opposition like ‘swarm of hornets’ a few months back. A recent all-party meeting had also concluded that the system was under threat from Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal and royalists.
Civil society leader Krishna Pahadi said if there was any threat to the republican set-up, it was from bad governance, impunity and the anarchy spread by the state.
He said failure to take action against those involved in corruption scandals, such as wide-body aircraft procurement and Baluwatar land-grab, suggested that the government was guided by the mafia. Moreover, instead of enacting rules or levying taxes after holding talks with stakeholders, the government is imposing its decision in the name of two-thirds majority, Pahadi added.
He said as the government started facing criticism for its failure to deliver, including from those intellectuals who once supported the ruling party, it started terming the criticism as against the system and started muzzling dissenting voices by promoting vandalism.
“The ruling party has lost its moral and intellectual ground and has resorted to promoting vandalism to defend itself,” said Pahadi.
Freedom Forum Chairman Tara Nath Dahal said discourses in support and in opposition of a political system could never be stopped in a democratic society. He said making a political system popular depended on good governance. “A democratic system should be backed by democratic governance,” he added.
Dahal said ruling party leaders’ comments suggested that they had lost confidence due to lack of performance. “They are abusing their power to muzzle public criticism,” he added.
Prof P Kharel also said that making such statements was against the letter and spirit of the constitution promulgated under the leadership of the same leaders. He said there was nothing wrong in opposing the system or seeking amendment to the constitution in a democracy. He wondered why the leaders, who were in power now, fought against the Panchayat system that termed them ‘forces against the system’.
“When the NC says the same thing, it becomes reactionary. When Kamal Thapa says it, he becomes regressive. But when
NCP leaders say it, they become revolutionary,” he said. “Such statements show the leaders’ true colour.” NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said democracy was all about reformation and not retaliation. “Had we trodden the path of retaliation, we would not have achieved this political transformation,” he said, referring to how the ‘retaliation committee’ of the Panchayat era failed. “It’s high time ruling party leaders changed their political conduct.”
A version of this article appears in print on September 17, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.