Nepalese democracy, political parties and domestic politics

Politics are said to direct the overall administration of the country. Respecting the mandatory provisions of the Election Commission that political parties must organize a convention every five years, the main political parties including the ruling Nepalese Congress (NC), the main opposition party CPN-UML, the Rastriya Party Prajatantra (RPP) and the CPN-Maoist Center held their respective general conventions to elect their leaders.

However, their discussion in convention and leadership selection reveals that democracy is still a difficult task for political parties in Nepal.

It is believed that the general conventions are the mega forums to discuss the ideological position of the party, to wake up the party committees from the local level to the federal level, to review the performance of the leadership and to revitalize the party by making room for new generations at the grassroots level. within the party.

Unfortunately, these massive forums organized with great pomp turned out to be soap bubbles in the institutionalization of democracy.

Former Prime Minister KP Oli, led by CPN-UML, organized a mass rally in Chitwan, in the constituency of former Prime Minister and Chairman of the CPN Maoist Center, Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, during the inauguration of the 10th General Convention of the party.

Although President Oli defied the claim that his intention was to make fun of Maoist President Prachanda, it is clear why the venue was moved from Butwal to Chitwan.

The UML General Convention worked well to reorganize the cadres in desperation after the party split, but ignored many fundamental principles of democratic procedure.

The leadership’s failure to implement the program believed to have been introduced for public consumption and propaganda has already dispersed the party, once considered by many to be the harbinger of change in the country, and disillusioned the population.

The Convention re-elected party chairman Oli, who was once in a defensive state over allegations of corruption and embezzlement ranging from the Omni Group scam to purchasing health equipment during the coronavirus outbreak , to the undue influence of government traders, to hire to Yeti Group, Baluwatar the land scam, then the audio-demanding bribe of Minister Baskota, among dozens of other cases, as a centrifugal force in the party.

Neither has anyone dared to seek clarification from his party and that of his party on these issues, nor has the Convention taken the time to review the party’s ideology, its roadmap and its orientations.

Sadly, leaders such as Ghanashyam Bhusal, Bhim Acharya, Bhim Rawal, Yogesh Bhattarai got lost in the group of sycophants praising Oli.

Rather than setting a clear roadmap for the party, the UML General Convention further confused the party line on the most discussed issues like the MCC and the oil government’s order not to release the new map. country in textbooks.

The election to the convention was like Iraq’s national election during Saddam Hussein’s regime, where Hussein claimed to have obtained 99 percent of the vote.

All the leaders were afraid of the wrath of George Orwell’s Big Brother who might use the thought police against openly speaking executives.

Meanwhile, still considered the party of leaders with the legacy of the party-less Panchayat system, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) once led by three presidents Kamal Thapa, Pashupati Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana and Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani, has re – focused on the issue of a Hindu state and end of federalism in the country.

Though once considered the party’s kingmaker, Thapa was defeated by Rajendra Lingden, a leader trained in politics by Thapa himself.

Party with relatively weaker political organization at the local level, the local RPP convention did not gain much attention.

However, the change in central leadership and the dethronement of established President Thapa is seen as the rise of Orthodox royalists in the party.

After the party leadership defeat, Thapa himself accused former king Gyanendra Shah of playing evil in party politics.

According to Thapa, the former King Shah used his secretariat against Thapa because he (Thapa) had not worked as a palace puppet.

Likewise, the ruling Nepalese Congress, the oldest Democratic party in the mainstream, appeared to be organizationally more democratic as elections were held at local, district, provincial and national levels to choose delegates.

Although the defeated leaders accused the victors of using money and force rather than sincere party work, the selection process was, to a large extent, transparent, even to outsiders.

Prior to the NC General Convention, the party seemed divided between the establishment faction led by party chairman Sher Bahadur Deuba and the opposition faction represented by top leader Ram Chandra Poudel and the Koiralas (Dr Shekhar Koirala, Dr Shahank Koirala).

Another faction led by Krishna Prasad Sitaula, although expected to be the kingmaker, was seen as close to the President Deuba party.

The leaders of the second generation of the party the Koiralas, Prakash Man Singh, Bimalendra Nidhi as well as the young leaders Gagan Thapa, Bishwo Prakash Sharma, Guru Ghimire had pleaded for the change of leadership accusing the establishment of not retaining political glory and history of the holiday.

However, the lack of proper coordination within the group gave Deuba another chance to claim the party chairmanship.

The party leadership change program was also unsuccessful this time around. However, some energetic young people who dared to challenge the five-time prime minister and chairman of the Deuba party both politically and rhetorically in open forums have managed to land key positions.

They are now in the test of action – if they can establish their platform in the party and lead it forward or be submitted to the leadership like their predecessors.

It was interesting to see the leaders including the prime minister, minister, federal and provincial lawmakers, chief minister, former ministers, greetings from the party chairman and soliciting votes from party delegates representing various venues and organizations.

Unfortunately, like the 10th General Convention of the UML, the General Convention of the NC also did not give the time to review, revise or rethink his party’s manifesto and was limited to the selection leadership and formal discussion of party statutes.

The Maoist chairman had sensed the displeasure of the delegates and knew well enough that he had a good chance of being criticized without mercy.

Still reluctant, although in party statute, to join parliamentary politics, the Maoist CPN-Center also organized its General Convention meeting to meet the mandatory deadline to make it eligible for elections in the country.

The Maoist Center, with its decade-long history of “people’s war,” thousands of war victims expectation of substantial and revolutionary change, leadership’s commitment to re-vocalize the integration agenda of all classes, geographic regions, ethnic minorities and peoples. The promise of developing the Nepalese model of development that is suitable for the 21st century has also been observed with enthusiasm by the national and international community.

The leadership’s failure to implement the program believed to have been introduced for public consumption and propaganda has already dispersed the party, once considered by many to be the harbinger of change in the country, and disillusioned the population.

Former close associates of the president of the Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ party, formerly described as two wings of the president, Dr Baburam Bhattarai and Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ have deserted Prachanda.

A group of party extremists have split up and are with top leftist Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’. Some young people who wanted to revolt against the party’s decision to sign the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement first joined Netra Bikram Chand and later dispersed.

The Maoist Center, which was once the largest political party in parliament, has become a fringe party.
In this scenario, party chairman Prachanda had come under pressure to secure both right and left cadres inside and outside the party.

“I dissected my steps as the main party leader, instead of blaming others, regarding our situation now in the report that will be submitted to this Eighth General Party Convention,” he said. he declared at the inaugural session. of the party’s general convention on December 26.

The closed-door session of the convention discussed Prachanda’s resounding political dossier forming 25 panels of delegates.

The NC did not let the delegates discuss the party course to follow rather focused on the selection of central leaders as if, like a communist party, lower committees or party members were not literate enough to discuss the issues serious like the road map for the party and the ways leading to it.

The Maoist chairman had sensed the displeasure of the delegates and knew well enough that he had a good chance of being criticized without mercy.

However, unlike UML President Oli who, rather than confessing the mistakes of the past, devoted his forces to blaming the deserting leader Madhav of Nepal and former co-chair Prachanda, the Maoist president claimed to have come with “self-criticism. “.

The document verbally mentioned some of the decisions like haphazard unification with UML and the inability to address the “People’s War” agenda as leadership failures; however, he did not report any substantive course correction as he did not dare to utter a single word related to compensating losers and punishing wrongdoers.

Thus, both the Maoist Center and the UML felt a dictatorial organizational structure of the Communist Party although they did not resemble communism, socialism, or capitalism ideologically.

The NC did not let the delegates discuss the party course to follow rather focused on the selection of central leaders as if, like a communist party, lower committees or party members were not literate enough to discuss the issues serious like the road map for the party and the ways leading to it.

In summary, recent general conventions have reflected that democracy in its true sense is still a far-fetched issue for political parties in Nepal. They have a long way to go to internalize democracy in its true sense.

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