Immature act

Every political party in the country has the democratic and constitutional right to go to the people seeking their support for its ideology and programme

The Election Commission’s act on Friday of deleting the terms “Hindu State and Monarchy” from the constitution of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party is an unwarranted and indefensible one, which has serious constitutional and political implications. This act has deprived RPP of two of its main political agendas which it has been pushing forward even before the promulgation of the new constitution which has inserted “secularism and republicanism”. The EC act contravenes the constitutional provisions of taking to the people the ideology, agenda and programme of a political party provided that such agendas do not violate certain conditions set by the Constitution of Nepal, promulgated by the second Constituent Assembly in 2015. RPP has not violated any of these conditions which include that a party’s agendas should not be such as to undermine the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Nepal, to promote violence, and to weaken the social harmony existing in the country. RPP had taken part in the first and second Constituent Assembly elections with its statute and election manifesto which made the reinstatement of a Hindu State and constitutional monarchy as its major planks.

RPP acted accordingly in both Constituent Assemblies and has even been to power after that in coalition governments without officially renouncing these agendas. The EC has registered RPP along with these agendas incorporated in its official documents. Moreover, the provisions of the Constitution that RPP want to change if it came to power or could muster a two-thirds majority in parliament have not even been made unalterable in the Constitution. Every political party in the country has the democratic and constitutional right to go to the people seeking their support for its ideology and programme and seeking to change the alterable provisions of the Constitution by winning the people’s electoral mandate. To do this has been the RPP’s crime in the eye of the EC. If we are to go by this example, some of the agendas of other political parties could also be subjected to removal from their statutes, such as their goals of communism, repeal of federalism, and so on.

The RPP has rightly protested this, vowing to fight it out politically and constitutionally. It has even registered a constitution amendment bill in the Legislature-Parliament, proposing replacement of the word “secularism” with making Nepal a “Sanatan Hindu nation with full religious freedom”. It could and should also go to the Supreme Court challenging the EC’s decision. To say the least, EC’s decision is strange, but if it was not corrected, it could have unpleasant political fallout. The RPP has threatened to quit government, warning that this decision could also disturb the local level elections. At a time when the public still have some doubts whether the local level elections will actually be held, the EC’s action has served to give rise to negative speculation. From the political point of view, the EC decision has given the RPP advantage, helping to portray it as the champion of Hinduism, which is practiced by the vast majority of the Nepalis. The EC decision must be taken back.

Taking long

The devastating earthquake of 2015 damaged many buildings including schools. Many schools of the Kathmandu Valley collapsed and many  others were damaged posing a threat to students by such buildings. It has been about two years since the earthquakes but many of the school buildings have yet to be reconstructed. The concerned have to be held accountable for this state of affairs. Most of the schools that suffered damages were built without abiding by the building codes.

Thus, the authorities should see that in the future school buildings are constructed to become earthquake resilient and stringent building codes should be in place. Nepal happens to be in a highly seismic zone and major earthquakes could occur any time. Since some of the students and teachers are disabled it is essential to build facilities such as disabled friendly toilets as they are entitled to such amenities. It is high time we looked into the future and ensured safety of school children. The dearth of school buildings that are safe is evident, and this could invite disaster in the future.