Why We Should Vote On Nov 19

Development of the country is an issue, yes, but institutionalization of democratic values is even more important

Oct. 25, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -9 Oct. 25- 2013 (Kartik 08, 2070)

The elections are around the corner despite a reigning uncertainty amongst the masses about whether they will happen or not. A hard line faction of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist is adamant not to participate in the elections. Its leaders and cadres are trying to dissuade the people from voting. Some other parties, like the Federal Socialist Party, are also threatening to spoil the election environment.

The fundamental question before us all is to guarantee democracy will be institutionalized. The need, therefore, is to elect a party which believes in democratic values to the government. A party that defends the people’s right to cast their vote should be elected to power. Development of the country is an issue, yes, but institutionalization of democratic values is even more important. Development is a necessary consequence of proper functioning of democratic government. There are chances Nepal will fall into unknown abyss if there are no periodic elections.

We are still struggling to have our basic rights guaranteed and institutionalized. This election is being held after a repeat breaking of several promises to hold elections.

The previous Constituent Assembly (CA) had extended its tenure by two years against all the hue and cry from the civil society and intelligentsia. It caused quite a stir in the international community as well. The original timeframe stipulated by the Interim Constitution of Nepal within which it was supposed to draft the constitution was two years. But no constitution was written even in the span of the CA's four years existence.

Despite the fact that Dr. Baburam Bhattarai led caretaker government announced the election date as and when the CA died, for various reasons, it did not happen. After a lapse of months, the second CA election date was announced. The Chief Justice (CJ) led Interim Election Government was formed against all the principles of independence of judiciary and the practice of principles of separation of powers. It has been one of the most unfortunate moves by the political elites and judiciary in the history of the nation. 

Now finally as the election date of November 19 was announced by the CJ led government, the challenge before us is to hold the election and elect candidates which have democratic ideals. We would be happy to have a political party at the government who will respect our voting rights in the elections to come. In the absence of our "born leaders" we will search for the leaders to run the government as long as our voting rights are not curtailed. We might have missed in the previous elections to elect the right candidates at the helm who have vision to solve our problems, but we are not tired yet. We are patiently waiting to elect our next leaders. We shall participate in the elections to send our representatives to the government.

Our expectations from our leaders have been ambitious. Not that I am justifying their ethics measured against vices of corruption, lethargy, and inefficiency, lack of effectiveness and adeptness at work, but these people come from our own society. We are very aware that we trusted them and they failed. It's our inability to choose the right candidates. We should take the blame ourselves. We should not be disheartened by our failure. "Failure is the pillar of success" as some wise man rightly said and we cannot deny its relevancy in our case. 

The election time has come again and this is the time when we can mend our past errors. It is also necessary to mention that there has not been an election of the local bodies in Nepal for the past sixteen years. Local bodies ensure the leadership at the grassroots level and ultimately they break the status quo of leadership at the national level. Not holding local bodies' elections has made the very foundation of our democracy questionable.

We have debated rightly amidst our circles that there are no leaders who can help realize our dreams through their deeds. But now knowing that we don't stand a chance of them we have to reflect what can be expected from them.

Leaders are not born overnight like Rome wasn't built in a day. It needs environment, training, inspiration, aspiration, capacity and opportunity. Elections create environment, they inspire and aspire young minds, they develop capacity and our own representatives our own brothers and sisters get the opportunities. Through elections leaders are born.

It's time we fought for our rights and cast votes upholding principles of democratic values and ideals. If not for anything else, we should vote to ensure that our voting rights, participatory and decision making rights are not curtailed and interfered with by some forces lurking around the corner within Nepal.

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