What does a constitution mean to a nation, its people? Back in the mid- 2000s, when the people's movement had driven the king out of his palace, my brother had told me: 'Now the people will write their own constitution. The people will be sovereign.' I had no idea about people voting for a Constituent Assembly to draft a constitution for the people it represented.
Keeping the essence of this constitution alive at all times is important. Unless we are daydreaming, we can clearly see that the likes of the leaders that are next in line to become the PM are most likely to use that loophole to keep power for themselves. Everyone has been tried and tested
He told me, social security schemes as in the West would be introduced. The passion with which he said it gave me hope. I was 16.
Now I am 32. In the 16 years, all that my brother had said to me has turned out to be no more than fiction.
Nepali politics is like a herd of sheep going round and round in a never-ending roundabout. Our constitution had only started to walk like a toddler, and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli got angry and snapped it. Should the Supreme Court give the go-ahead to conduct an election without reprimanding the deeds of Oli's government, we are all doomed.
There will always be a loophole in the constitution, and anyone elected as the prime minister from here onwards will know he or she can dissolve the parliament at will. That will make him more corrupt, and political instability will be an everyday phenomenon.
That is why keeping the essence of this constitution alive at all times is important.
Unless we are daydreaming, we can clearly see that the likes of the leaders that are next in line to become the PM are most likely to use that loophole to keep power for themselves.
Everyone has been tried and tested.
We might lose a good 10-15 years in the instability that is lurking if we keep silent on this issue.
We still have a chance, we must voice our concern and give this constitution a fair chance to run its course and take us forward in the collective vision that we the normal people share.
This constitution was built on the foundation of federalism, taking power from the centre to the remotest of the local government bodies.
Empowering people and institutions are the crux of democracy. We should not taint this constitution because someone doesn't have a majority in his party.
It's not Oli's private parliament to dissolve, to begin with.
The parliament can only dissolve itself. A game is dismissed only if everyone decides to go home.
Why is the PM so confident about his move? If we go back a few years, we can find answers to the question.
Oli delivered as the PM in his first term.
He supposedly stood against the biggest Indian foreign policy farce, the inhumane blockade imposed immediately after the major earthquake in 2015 by the Modi government.
That in itself was heroic and built people's trust in him.
The Nepali people were furious and hurt. People were emotional, and they were right to see India as a villain.
While people suffered, Oli built his political wealth. He didn't have to control the price hike due to the rampant black marketing of petroleum products.
He didn't hold straight talks with his Indian counterpart.
He just played with the issue and people's sentiment.
In turn, he reintroduced the failed 'Pahadey' nationalism rhetoric of late king Mahendra.
Policy fetches credibility, and good governance and swift delivery of promises will give the political brand credibility, but does it give you the win that politics asks of you? Prashant Kishore, the strategist behind Modi's first-term win, in one of his talks at IIT Madras, said that it's not an everyday outcome in politics.
While good governance can ensure credibility, a win can't be solely attributed to it.
Winning in politics requires more than good governance, it requires the excitement of people about the leader, people should have trust in what you promise. The trust comes from delivery.
Oli's first term was about delivering 'a strong stance' against the big brother.
That trust from the people gave him a clear majority for a second term.
During the election for his second term, massive infrastructural changes in the country were promised.
He has failed to deliver.
There are no metro rails in Kathmandu, as claimed by the mayoral candidate from his party would happen.
That is also Oli failing because he was then the sole president of the party that gave the sleepy head, Bidhya Sundar Shakya, the mayor's ticket to the office.
The CEO must also take the blame if a branch fails and shuts down, not just the branch manager. Likewise, Oli has failed on so many levels, including the failure to deliver from his central government.
But will he win the next election? Yes, he will. As Prashant Kishore said, it's not only good governance that gives you the win, it's also the power to excite the people.
And are the people on the ground still excited about Oli? Most of us genuinely think so. But can he drive his whole clan back on his third term? This is a tricky question.
Even if he rises to his third term as a victorious leader, it should not happen at the cost of our constitution built on the blood and sweat of the Nepali people.
We went through many mishaps they led us to the dark era of load shedding and a violent war, still hoping the promises would be delivered.
Nobody did, and I don't believe the leaders ever will, but I believe in my constitution. I believe, if the constitution is allowed to take its natural course, if we give this constitution a fair chance, our local bodies will start functioning, and more people will start participating in the beautiful democratic process.
And who knows, by the time our constitution reaches its maturity, it might start bearing fruit, like the famous social security scheme that my brother talked about. It might actually make us all feel equal. And, that is all we want, the people.
Gautam is a graduate of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh
A version of this article appears in the print on February 25, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.