Fair decentralisation

  • Any forced effort to impose centralisation of power should be shunned and resisted
- Atul K Thakur, Kathmandu

Jul 26, 2016-

The CPN (Maoist Centre) decided to withdraw support to the Oli government in a hopeless bid to make its Chairman Prachanda ‘lucky’ without ‘luck’. Prachanda’s political spine is lost, and as Baburam Bhattarai is in the process of bringing an alternative version of left ideology, he had no option but to make a last thundering bid for the throne of Kathmandu. But why a bid to make Prachanda lucky without luck? This is probably so as he runs his party like a family enterprise. Added to that, he has received assurances of support from the Nepali Congress. 

Certainly, there is no broad commitment or aim behind this move, and ideology is nowhere. This is politics of convenience where politicians are trying to be fit enough to survive. The thing which will haunt Oli’s successor most is retained legacy in the wake of his failure to ensure governance and reconstruction work. The last one and a half years were a wasted phase for Nepal where it lost every chance of course correction after the deadly earthquake, unresolved constitutional crisis and unwavering political directionlessness.

Of late, socialism appears clownish instead of an ideology or mandate in the constitution which doesn’t shy away from discriminating among humans and denying equal rights to all citizens. Regarding its larger meaning and relevance, we will have to go much deeper; and we know where it is moving with endless cases of misuse by its bearers. 

So, it’s a case foregone, but not without the potential of making a comeback. In late-stage capitalism, the world will see its revival, but certainly not in the fashion imagined by Prachanda. A secular/erstwhile Hindu nation deserves not to be a conversion land, it should simply tread a dispassionate path on religion. There can’t be two views that the Maoists should still do politics rather than sordid evangelism for rogue Christian missions. This is in reference to their core extra-curricular activities which are not serving anyone else’s cause except their own. 

But while we debate these issues, it becomes essential to look at the response from the Nepali Congress. Shouldn’t it act on the ground and come out of unfortunate hibernation? Shouldn’t it stop enjoying riding piggyback to reclaim its role in domestic politics? Why are they  not attempting to lead the country for fresh elections, keeping in view the unresolved issues of the constitution, pending reconstruction work and development?

Even amid the gloom, one shouldn’t become a votary of a presidential form of democracy, and certainly the Westminster model is still better even when Nepal gets a prime minister too frequently. After the royal massacre of 2001, Nepal was bound to live with the latter after the chance of retaining partial monarchy was lost. This should be the time to recall that and find out where things actually went wrong in the parliamentary form of democracy. In a fledgling democracy like Nepal, it is unfeasible to go with the centralisation drive of Prachanda or Oli, as they negate the chances of fair decentralisation and federal system in harmony. Their versions of political alternatives are not capable enough to address the issues of Nepal’s regional and ethnic diversity and deal with pressing matters beyond its borders. 

Surely Nepal deserves stability and continuance in place of disruptions, nepotism and chaos. Even then, it should stick with the present system and open a debate for electoral reform and bringing accountability in public life. While observing the latest political developments, one can hold a view that the issues of Nepal are artificial in nature and can be solved by adhering to the basics. In any case, any forced effort to impose centralisation of power should be shunned and resisted. This is a time when the games in Kathmandu should not be taken lightly, as any delay will make the plight of the masses worse. Prachanda is not a holy cow. His performance shows it and his on-going plan makes him a lesser politician. Till the awakening comes, Nepal will suffer from his whims and fancies.

Thakur is a New Delhi-based journalist

Published: 26-07-2016 13:42

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