TOPICS : Realising the goals of Jana Andolan

Jana Andolan II brought about overnight changes in the country. But the question remains whether the changes came for the sake of change only or for the better. Only time can answer this. Although the seven-party alliance (SPA) and the Maoists are considered catalysts for the changes, they must now take the responsibility of translating the spirit and the goals of the people’s movement into reality.

If the country is to move ahead, a better understanding and confidence-building exercise among the frontline political players is the greatest need of the time. Sadly, both the SPA and the Maoists, by their discordant words and deeds, are developing deeper cracks in understanding and trusting each other. With an ailing prime minister, the SPA is jockeying for power and space, while the re-instated parliament is engaged in so rapidly scrapping laws and replacing them with the new ones that at the end of the day all this leaves the MPs more embarrassed. And these hurriedly reached decisions are not acceptable to the Maoists.

The Maoists, regarded as terrorists not long ago, too are suddenly faced with great responsibilities of bailing the country out of the current crisis. Their rapid emergence from the jungle, leading to the ceasefire, signing of a peace accord during a summit meet with the SPA and finally the emergence of its supremo Prachanda in public and the press must be considered phenomenal happenings.

However, the momentum of the Maoists’ emergence as an important partner in the peace process and the earlier exhibited personality of its charismatic leader Prachanda seem to be eroding now. The Maoists themselves must take the blame for their inability to enter into competitive politics and win the confidence and sympathy of the public. Their words and actions do not quite match as their cadres continue abductions, extortions, impose travel restrictions and taxes.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. This saying has proved so true for Nepal. The SPA and the Maoists are now wearing ‘crowns’ but of a different nature — of bringing peace, stability and security in the country while deciding on vital issues such as pre-poll arms management and conducting free and fair constituent assembly elections. If the leaders can genuinely achieve these goals, it would indeed be a crowning achievement for them. But this is easier said than done. The SPA is busying jockeying for power and selecting their candidates to fulfil quotas in various government bodies. The Maoists too seem to be drifting away from the critical issues facing the nation.

Restoring peace through the pursuit of the purest forms of democracy is the most important need of the hour and is also the message of the Jana Andolan. To achieve this goal, the SPA and the Maoists should realise that it is not enough to be leaders only, but to become statesmen in the task of building a new Nepal by respecting the rule of law and the sanctity of human dignity. This is how the dreams of the martyrs can be translated into reality.