Build trust

Monday’s meeting of the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) should be taken as a positive development in an atmosphere characterised by mudslinging between leaders, clashes between their cadres, and generally a growing incidence of violence and death, because it sought to promote understanding and unity. First of all, the SPA leaders reiterated their joint commitment to hold the election in a free, fair and peaceful manner. The meeting, skipped by the president of the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, Narayanman Bijukchhe, discussed the current political situation and security arrangements necessary till the polls were over. The issues taken up included the unruly behaviour of cadres of the SPA constituents, the necessity of maintaining a general goodwill and understanding between the alliance partners during the electioneering, the possibility of incidents that may be engineered by anti-election elements to disrupt the April 10 event, one another’s complaints, and it also resulted in suggestions and assurances for better conduct or problem resolution.

The public expects the situation to improve as a result of the commitments expressed by the political leaders. Otherwise, the meeting would prove to be a futile exercise. A lack of positive result might even hold unpleasant implications for the post-election phase during which cooperation between the parties will be required to deliver the best product — a new constitution reflecting the mandate of Jana Andolan II and the wishes expressed by the voters — that could promise to herald a new dawn for the country. Disputes may still arise or clashes may still erupt, but both local and central leaders of the parties should sit together in the right spirit to sort them out and make corrections. They should take various preventive measures to minimise the possibility of untoward incidents. A case in point is their understanding to avoid organising rallies in a place already booked by another party or to disrupt the rallies of other parties.

The government has deployed more security in view of the polls. More needs to be done. To complement this effort, the political parties, particularly the SPA constituents, should demonstrate greater understanding and cooperation, all the more so because greater violence may erupt, as widely feared, as polling day draws still closer. It is logical to think that those elements that have reckoned that they stand to lose all or a lot if the polls are held may well resort to something nasty in their attempt to prevent the election. This was one of issues the SPA leaders discussed on Monday. Instead of spending their energy and time on weakening each other, the leaders should get prepared to deal with any challenges to the election jointly and effectively. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has rightly stressed that the necessity of the SPA unity will survive not only the CA election but also the following general election. The alliance partners should not create mutual distrust to such an extent as may render their future cooperation extremely difficult. For all this, they should meet more frequently in the run-up to the election.