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The ‘two-thirds’ delusion

- Abijeet Pant

Mar 21, 2018-

Our government will take the issues regarding environment with greatest emphasis ever.’ I heard a prominent left alliance leader saying when I attended a BBC world service debate. 

Kathmandu’s air pollution was one of topics being discussed at this programme. And this leader’s chief argument was that the soon-to-be formed government, at that time, had a fresh mandate and a clear majority which allowed them to act accordingly.

An apparent majority, or a stable government, has always been taken as a prerequisite of development. As a matter of fact it is true in the long run. But to put it the other way, is the lack of two-third majority a justifiable argument whenever it comes to developing Nepal?

I often wonder why the parliament doesn’t try to pass revolutionary, pioneering bills. Say, like one which declares absolute penalty for contractors who do not commit to their construction deadlines or buying some hundred dust cleaning machines and getting Kathmandu rid of dust within two weeks.

It’s time to question the reason for this delay. It is time to question who these people are who do not vouch for and vote to pass these kinds of legislation. When it comes to such bills, that make the heart of prosperity, not just the two-thirds of parliament, but everyone should vote.

A frontline animal rights activist, who focuses on conservation of cows, once shared something rather interesting. A lawmaker who had visited his cow shelter spoke about protection of cows and animals at the parliament. The response was chaotic: some lawmakers laughed, others paid no attention and some even doubted the person’s sanity. Though I don’t know if this actually happened, I would not be surprised if it did. Because issues like these barely make their way up to the podium there.

Frankly, I am no expert on this. I only learnt as much as my congested and crammed Social Studies curriculum had to teach. Since the advent of parliamentary democracy in 1990, our country has been through crucial political changes and turmoil. Despite this, I don’t think it was an impossible thing to manage a few days in the last 28 years to pass legislations that could be an epitome of change and planned urbanisation.

Come to think of it, the country might have been at a better state before 1990. Three decades ago, Kathmandu was a lot cleaner and planned too. Ranging from the trolley buses on road to the ropeways that brought goods from Hetauda, we had infrastructures that could be found in European countries. And within last 28 years, we were so distracted that these phenomenal infrastructures went rusty and ceased working. We could neither fix them nor create space for new ones.

Here, the trolley buses are just a representative of many large scale projects that phased out. They are just representative of the ignorance that many lawmakers and governments illustrated. They are representative of the invalidity of ‘lack of stability and majority’ that leaders have always cited.

Most of us might have watched the Bollywood blockbuster Naayak where a guy is appointed as the chief minister for 24 hours, within which he discovers and penalises the roots of corruption. Every one of us has been waiting for such an influential leader to come to power. Will the new government align to our very patience or will it just be another force that uses ‘stability’ as leverage for election victory? Let’s wait and watch.

Pant is an A-levels graduate from Budhanilkantha School

Published: 21-03-2018 09:09

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