Whose democracy should it be?

Subarna Chhetri

The political parties’ rationale that the revival of the House of Representatives is acceptable and is constitutional under Article 127 is rather naive. If it is so, then why may one question that the formation of the Royal Commission for Corruption Control under the same Article is unconstitutional? When advantageous for the parties, the same article is good, when not, and then it is bad. This is perhaps a classic example of the devil quoting the Gita for its purposes! The CPN-UML has charged that the King is steering the nation towards a ‘directed democracy’. After 14 years of mess, perhaps even this option for the time being is better off than a ‘misguided democracy’ that gave birth to the Maoists and pushed the country to the edge.

Political leaders have succeeded in institutionalising an announced ‘syndicate’ whereby the same handful of corrupt leaders grab the corridor of power turn by turn thus preventing the need of sweeping changes in the present political leadership.

At the end of the day what can one expect from the same set of failed leaders, who are credited to have introduced ‘horse-trading’ for the first time in Nepali parliament, who are smeared in one financial scandal or other, or who topple their own majority governments, or who refuse to testify which might have provided them the chance to come out clean.

Of leaders who can kick out their party member for supporting Feb. 1 move, but are incapable of kicking out their corrupt and tainted party members.

In the past, in the name of democracy, politicians have always manoeuvred the people, kept them confused and in the dark. Many feel their present call for the revival of the House is another camouflaged ploy to once again grab power and further protect the corrupt and power hungry politicians.

On the other hand the parties are scared of facing any election, be it local or national, as they have remained aloof and lost touch with the people because they failed to keep their election promises.

The domestic politics of Nepal post 1990 proved to be so dubious, so disgusting, so disgraceful and so destructive that in the face of it any new step now looks to be a hopeful option. The country would have hoped that all political forces would play responsible roles in order to resolve the crisis. But they always willfully missed the bus.

One is unable to grasp the role of the Nepali media during these difficult times. Is it supporting the nation and nationalism and united against terrorism? Or is the media in danger of being merely messengers of political leaders and parties? One basic answer our responsible media needs to furnish is, are the people once again willing to support and trust the same ‘syndicated’ group of corrupt political leaders and parties? Or are there any other better options ?

The crux of the matter is that a new and young generation of leadership having a broad uncorrupt mindset and who put the country first must be given the chance in the political parties.

Finally, there needs to be a very serious nationwide debate, where our responsible media can play a very important role on the issue of whether Nepal should opt for total democracy as advocated by the political parties or a true democracy as the people and the King are searching for?

Chhetri is a freelance journalist