TOPICS : An imposed model cannot suit Nepal

The Nepali state is overshadowed by three forces — the seven-party alliance (SPA), the CPN (Maoist) and civil society. The monarchy, the security forces and the splinters of a few parties have been sidelined. The underlying dimensions of political entities that are a part of society and state cannot be a pseudo alliance though not implausible.

Although politics revolves around parties, including the CPN (Maoist), parties outside SPA and civil society, and the voters should have a voice in deciding what or what not to do. Sovereign citizens precede the parties, the re-restored parliament and the government. The popular mandate will decide who should be entrusted with the responsibility of governance after a constituent assembly (CA) poll and a referendum. Therefore, the State’s decisive forces cannot be overlooked.

Facts show that the tendency to overlook past practices has invited disasters. King Gyanendra’s 14-month direct rule has jeopardised the 237-year-old Shah dynasty. Governments during the 15-year multiparty system underestimated the Maoist insurgency and overlooked the ultimate demand for CA polls. The ‘twin pillar’ theory forwarded by the immediate foreign friend and ‘alliance among constitutional forces’ to isolate the rebels had underestimated the undercurrents against the autocratic regime. Reconciliation will be impossible if the government follows the same legacy. No one is in doubt that the April movement was successful because of the understanding among the three forces and supported massively by the citizens. Contrarily, this pre-interim government and the ongoing parliament session have underestimated the other two partners in the April movement.

People are talking about inclusive democracy and good governance through state restructuring and semi-proportional election system. Representation is possible; however, direct participation is impossible in our divided society. The difference between pragmatic and idealistic approaches is wide. Equal representation for women, indigenous nationalities, Dalits, disabled and the inclusion of Karnali zone are important issues and reservation demands cannot be overlooked.

Poor performance in agriculture, uncertainty of economic outlook and growing polarisation within the government and the inflation rate of around 8 per cent cannot help in charting out an inclusive democratic system. The focus should be on social reforms, economic and political uplift of people and resources to outlying areas. Restructuring will disperse power out of Kathmandu and wipe out disparities, special rights and monopoly rights.

Imposed models cannot suit Nepal’s conditions. The solutions for uninterrupted functioning should be sought from domestic realities. Recognition of all stakeholders needs to be strengthened. The popular mandate should be granted as decisive force that lends legitimacy to the restructuring and redefining of a new democratic governance. Any judgment or tendency to underestimate state constituents would be counter-productive.