It is a fact that the failure of the royal regime and the success of the peaceful revolution was a result of the understanding reached between the seven-party alliance (SPA) and the Maoists, particularly on the question of formation of the constituent assembly (CA) elected by the people. The acceptance of the need for a new constitution has covertly dismissed the 1990 Constitution as obsolete. Therefore, the foremost task before the political parties is to make arrangements to hold CA elections at the earliest.
However, the scenario after the success of the revolution has not been as satisfactory as it ought to have been as certain elements of uncertainty have raised their heads. Unless the gravity of the new threat is not felt by all those who were involved in the popular uprising, the chances of conspiracy against the achievement increases.
When the House of Representatives was reinstalled, there was an expectation that it would function on a wartime basis, adopt necessary resolutions as mandated by the popular uprising and strengthen the understanding between the SPA and the Maoists. However, the House meetings are held quite leisurely as if the situation in the country has normalised. The statements by the responsible leaders to continue the session of the House on the one hand, and the demand of the Maoists to dissolve the HoR had created misunderstandings. But this is not the only issue that has created misunderstanding between the parties. The issue of reinstatement of local bodies and contradictory statements by the Maoist supremo and the UML general secretary has added to the anxiety of the people.
The revolution has only succeeded in toppling the royal regime, but thereâ€™s a long way to go to attain the objectives of the revolution. The agreement on holding the elections to the CA has been the most attractive issue, which motivated the people to take the movement to great heights. All the sections of the population thought that finally they were going to bury the feudal structure of the state and all the people would have a chance to equitably participate in the policy framing and administrative work of the new state. Therefore, the election to the CA has become the prime agenda of the nation.
The formation of the CA raises so many questions and particularly the mode of participation in the assembly, which ensures the representation of all the sections of the population and particularly of those who have been marginalised in the precious state mechanism. To achieve a consensus on the question of representation and method of election is the most important task before the parties and the civil society. The House with its present composition cannot address these questions.
The question of dissolution of the House or termination of the session in order to adopt the alternative proposed by the CPN (Maoists) has to be dealt with and for that all will have to use reasoning and restrain. Though the existence of the House sanitises the political process from conspiracy, the House cannot be judged as competent to address the issues raised before, during and after the revolution, the issue of an inclusive democracy and creation of a new structure of state. The Maoistsâ€™ earlier proposal to hold a widely represented political conference can be a proper platform to address all the issues related to the formation of the CA. A political conference can be held after terminating the present House session without dissolving it and if and when felt necessary it could be summoned for required business. The issue of the reinstatement of local bodies is also a sensitive issue. Even the parties in alliance do not share the UML viewpoint. The CPN (Maoists) have their own local bodies, which have been working for quite some time. One cannot deny the necessity of peopleâ€™s representatives in the local bodies but there has to be an understanding among all the parties to find a modus operandi to operate them during the interim period until a new constitution is formed.
People have demanded a fundamental change in the body politic of the nation. There is no time to wrangle over minor issues and create an atmosphere of mistrust. We must plunge into the debate on ways to conduct the CA polls, for which, a widely participated political conference could only be a proper venue.
Let the understanding between the SPA and the Maoists be further strengthened through a mutual dialogue; varying statement in public can only cause damage to the understanding. The Maoists must recognise the validity of the argument in favour of continuation of the HoR and the SPA must recognise the need to move fast towards a political conference, having terminated the session of the House until found necessary by consensus among the parties. The people are getting impatient to hear from the parties a date for the CA polls. The parties will have to take the popular impatience as a matter of their own strength.
Upadhyay is a former foreign minister