Wake-up call : CA members must show their mettle

There may have been many reasons for past negotiations carried out between different political players and the-then government and/or the seven party alliance. The agreements, not always to the liking of all the sides, might have been arrived at, among other things, with the aim of: a) bringing the CPN-Maoist into political mainstream and peaceful politics, b) establishment of peace and stability in the country, c) fighting the common enemy in the monarch and establish a democratic republic of Nepal, and 4) addressing the concerns of the marginalised, underprivileged and backward Nepalis.

Also, the all-important task of conducting peaceful Constituent Assembly (CA) election might have led yesterday’s coalition to agree to all kinds of demands, legitimate or otherwise, which are supposed to be addressed by the Constituent Assembly. The way Nepalis from different walks of life (civil society, judiciary, Bar, journalists, students, political parties, etc.) joined hands for the common cause, i.e. the conduct of successful CA election, surprised the whole world. The spirit of unity and solidarity amongst Nepalis pleased one and all, both at home and abroad. Now too, they are united to institutionalise the achievements of Jana Andolan II and the declaration of Nepal as a federal democratic republic.

It seems now, however, that the country is losing track, particularly the bigger political parties that have a large presence in the Constituent Assembly. The parties are aware of the continued need for unity and solidarity of all Nepalis but yet are bending over backwards to land influential and lucrative and posts in the new government. The big leaders of big parties have particularly been shameless in displaying their self-serving hunger for power, thus bringing the country to a standstill.

Because of these few selfish leaders, even the first day’s meeting of the CA, which declared the Federal Republic of Nepal, which is a historic decision for all Nepalis, was badly affected.

“I must be the president”, “I must lead the government”, “My party representative must be the Assembly Chief”... me, myself and my party are at the forefront and centre of everyday politics, thus undermining the integrity and supremacy of the sovereign Constituent Assembly. A few leaders of big parties are using the Constituent Assembly as a rubberstamp to approve their own decisions and when there is no agreement amongst them, the assembly either doesn’t meet or is not allowed to meet. The majority of CA members have thus been forced to act as silent spectators.

When the Assembly meetings are called, many of us who realise our responsibilities try to participate, hoping to raise people’s concerns, to put forward our proposals, debate on important national and/or public interest issues. But we are getting more and more disappointed by daily deferral of the assembly meetings on one or other pretext by the political leaders. It is the right of every Constituent Assembly member to express themselves freely. It is also their right to put forward opinions and engage in debates openly inside the assembly, which, unfortunately, has been denied by the deferral of Constituent Assembly meetings, as a result of which we are unable to do anything for the people who voted for us to speak for them and safeguard their rights through the new constitution. Can we really ensure the rights of the people we represent when we have been rendered rubberstamps and silent spectators to the interests of the big leaders? How long should the deprived lot remain silent and witness it all as hapless citizens of a democratic country?

I would like to question the representatives of all the small parties (in terms of the number of representatives) in the Constituent Assembly: Because you are small, will you not do anything to stand for what you

have promised while asking for votes and erode your self-esteem even further, or would you dare to challenge the inaction and indecision of the “Big leaders”? And are the rank and file of bigger parties ready to hold their selfish leaders accountable for the violation of the rights of other Constituent Assembly members? It surely cannot be the case that their leaders’ inaction fails to bother you.

Is it not the time that we challenge the representatives of the bigger parties to uplift our dignity and that of the people for whom we stand? Is not it the time to make it clear that the country and people are above party politics and the meaningless squabbles of the party leaders? Is it not the time to hew down the dictatorship of a few leaders and stop them from misleading the country? What’s the purpose of the Constituent Assembly if a few leaders keep making all the decisions in the same vein that the King did in the past? Is it not the time that we woke up, and acknowledging our diversity, moved ahead unitedly to achieve our main goal: Making of an inclusive and just constitution of a new democratic Nepal?

Pant is CA member, CPN-United