Drafting the constitution: Come together
In the process of drafting the constitution, the questions being raised in the Constituent Assembly (CA) about the representation and identity must be addressed. While looking at the population of Nepal, it is unlikely to be able to locate a geographical terrain where a particular caste or a group exclusively resides. Adequate representation of women, people from indigenous communities, Madhesis, Dalits and the minorities should be ensured in all sectors by making it the basic rule of the law. A constitution needs to be drafted that would be able to reflect the aspirations representing all different groups from the lowest rung of state apparatus to the highest echelons of the state. The many overlooked faults of the past must not be allowed to be repeated. Therefore, the constitution in the making should not undermine issues that could later invite detrimental situations.
While structuring Nepal as a federal republic, it becomes vital that the economic aspect is kept central to the debate, at the same time addressing issues of identity and representation. Among the many reasons why Nepal needs to be transformed to a federal republic, the need for economic prosperity stands above them all. Since a long time back, the centralized government has not been able to positively exploit the economic possibilities in Nepal. Due to a centralized state, even after 2046, Nepali citizens could not feel the change in the real sense. Based on this experience, Nepali Congress leader Narahari Acharya has been raising the need to adopt a provincial structure in Nepal since 2053. Federal structure is necessary in Nepal to properly address issues of identity, representation and economic well-being. Currently, the discussions in Nepal are centered on forming numerous provinces; however, instead of that, the country should opt for collecting many possibilities together and forming fewer provinces and stress on empowering the people with resources.
A loktantrik constitution does not have an alternative in Nepal. In addition to holding on to the essence of loktantra, the political parties need to come to a consensus regarding other pertaining issues as well. To run a country on the basis of a constitution drafted from the CA also means giving the country a new life. The conflicts surfing up in the process of devising Nepal’s constitution are all natural.
Regarding the federal restructuring of the state, the debate regarding borders of provinces is being discussed gravely. This discussion is a natural process. The major political parties sent their perspectives to the CA’s thematic committee on state restructuring. In its suggestions, Nepali Congress chose not to draw borders in the map. That move was surely not because NC was incapable of completing a provincial mapping on its own; as even within NC, the discussion on province formation has been heard of adequately. However, the reason this party sent its provincial perspective to the state restructuring committee devoid of a map could be because it felt that provincial mapping should be agreeable to all. This decision of the NC conveyed an understanding for all that it will be impractical for individual parties to decide provincial structures based on their individual or party perspectives. Following this, the idea of a republic state that UCPN-M was about to declare was put on hold and instead UCPN-M settled for making the basic principles of their idea public. This move of NC’s, it seemed, also attempted to show a way for CPN-UML with regards to its heightened political conflict concerning the leadership debate within the party. The differences between the loktantra believers and the leftists in Nepal will naturally take a while longer to resolve. However, among the extremists, the disagreements being put to the fore, are being done intending to harm the constitution drafting process. To bridge the gaps of discontent and finally be able to put an end to it is the responsibility of every party that believes in loktantra.
Nepali citizens wish that all political parties made their decisions referring to the promises they made through their written party manifestos prepared prior to the CA elections. Through the CA election, UCPN-M became the largest political party. However, not paying heed to the directives of the people, UCPN-M let every discontent within its party come to the fore and staged one demonstration after another. As a result of this and additionally due to the heightened conflict within its party, it disrespected the mandate given to it by the people and left halfway and retired. Power is something a party borrows from the people, when it rules. It is not something that can be tossed aside irresponsibly without assuring another of its duty.
UCPN-M, undermining the people’s mandate bestowed upon it, proved it did not have any political and moral standing, and unable to answer the raised questions is now facing a situation and running away from its responsibilities. On the basis of such proofs, a loktantrik citizen shall appeal to all political parties, to play a responsible role and draft a constitution, reflecting the aspirations of the people, within the allocated timeframe.