Constant vigilance

  • Dr KC yet again exposed the deep nexus between parties and business interests
Constant vigilance

Apr 5, 2015-

The success of Dr Govinda KC’s hunger strike is a cause for celebration. The triumph has demonstrated that ethical values do have the capacity to affect politics, though perhaps not very often. Dr KC’s fight was against the ruling coalition and the state that they control. Although the government was callous and indifferent, it realised that the consequences of Dr KC’s hunger strike could be severe.

For, it was clear that almost all sections of society stood in solidarity with him, and that the government would lose significant popular support if it continued to disregard popular demands. Dr KC’s strike also offered broader hope to the wider public, which has become highly cynical about the political process. The strike demonstrated that individuals with determination do have the capacity to challenge the existing powers that be. If the good doctor’s movement is to leave a legacy, however, it will be to provide momentum to future movements against government corruption and apathy.

The ruling parties averted a major crisis at the last moment by acceding to Dr KC’s major demands. But this does not mean that there has been any increase in their popularity levels as a result. In fact, the KC episode has only served to expose the failures of the ruling coalition and has made the political parties even more unpopular in the public view. In his reactions to Dr KC’s strike Prime Minister Sushil Koirala came across as a confused and insensitive leader. It has to be said, however, that the UML came out looking much worse. Its top leaders were revealed to be deeply involved in a sordid and corrupt web of business and politics. It looked to the public that greed was the dominant tendency in the party, and moneymaking the principle occupation. The utter lack of sensitivity with which the UML responded to the KC episode was indicative of the deep rot that has set in the party.

Although the government has accepted Dr KC’s demands for now, it is essential to remain vigilant. For this is no way a final victory. The political parties only accepted Dr KC’s demands grudgingly. The web of crony capitalism still persists and there are leaders in the parties who will try to establish shoddy and profit-oriented medical colleges as soon as they think that the public isn’t watching. Civil society and the media need to carefully monitor the implementation of the policy report currently being prepared by the Kedar Bhakta Mathema-led committee. A deeper debate on the state of medical education, especially on how the commercialisation of the sector can be remedied, needs to take place. The political parties need to be constantly watched and reminded that their efforts to profiteer from their links with business interests are not acceptable.

Published: 06-04-2015 08:41

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