Need to consolidate democratic gains

The people have tailored the political history of Nepal with their indomitable courage and determination to superimpose their will over the incessant triggering of bullet by the repressive regime. This revolution has become so unique that it has surpassed the epoch-making popular uprisings in the erstwhile Soviet states of East Europe in 1990. This historic revolution is purely home-grown and carried out wholly by the Nepalis alone. No foreign event has influenced it.

The seven-party alliance has now been given a great responsibility to rebuild the democratic set-up of the country. With all seriousness, it must keep up the flame of democratic spirit by translating the popular support received during the revolution into a plausible and effective consolidation of all pro-people political forces to thwart any invidious design from any quarter.

Needless to say, such a strengthened consolidation would greatly serve to draw the Maoists into the mainstream of pluralistic and democratic politics with their guns laid off and violence abjured. However, it would be better to attract the Maoists to the mainstream by ensuring pro-people measures aimed at enhancing socio-economic justice to the downtrodden together with starting the dialogue and enforcing all positive steps, including mutually accepted ceasefires announced recently with a promise to hold elections to a constituent assembly.

On external fronts, the alliance needs to pay more attention to relations with the democratic world and maintain balanced ties with all those countries whose stakes are visible in Nepal. Democratic countries’ pressure on the alliance to accept the royal offer for recommendation of a prime minister (as announced on April 21) repulsed the people and parties alike. This tactic shows their poor observation of political development here and failure to perceive the popular sentiments. Fortunately, they changed their policy once they realised the irresistible upsurge of the popular will. On the part of the alliance too, it appeared that it had not put the required apparatus in place to correctly communicate in time with the international community concerning the true spirit of the people with due attention paid to the sensitivity of the democratic countries about Nepal becoming a breeding ground for terrorist activities. To keep the international community in touch with the ongoing political process, the alliance must maintain a well-oiled mechanism to keep it well informed and win their confidence and receive their cooperation.

A greater coordination at various government levels is needed to present a more cohesive and consistent approach in order to effectively deal with the international community to utilise their enormous sympathy and support promised for democracy, peace and stability. Strategic road to receive this cooperation with clear sight over the external incentive must be an apex priority of the foreign policy of the new government.

Among the myriad tasks to be taken up by the government, the most notable are resetting state apparatus, redefining political infrastructure to meet political demands, promoting

intra-party democracy, energising nascent civil society to a larger scale and bringing the security forces under the vigilant eyes of the people. Shrestha is ex-foreign ministry official