Second CA Polls Accomplished

As far as Nepali Congress is concerned, people never like to push this oldest democratic party into an embarrassing position electorally because Nepalese are aware of its historical role in establishing and nurturing democracy in this country. Taking

Nov. 29, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -11 Nov. 29- 2013 (Mangsir 14, 2070)

During Tihar this time crackers did burst but in a limited scale as the concerned authorities did not want that to happen on a massive scale especially in view of the impending CA polls and the threat by the alliance of 33 parties led by comrade Kiran.Explosions of varying nature and capacity continued till the election day basically to scare people off but this tactics of the alliance did not work as voters turned out in huge numbers to exercise their franchise in nook and corner of the country. With the exception of some places like Thawang of Rolpa which recorded nil voting,Nepalis enthusiastically voted to elect second CA.Even in a remote place like Dolpa,turnout was reported to be 80 percent. The ten-day band called by the alliance was also not successful because it was virtually impossible to observe bandh for that long a period in these times of high interdependence. Traffic was thin but no part in the country came to a complete halt during these ten days of bandh.Authorities sounded confident about foiling the bandh and people cooperated risking their safety in certain cases. Leaders like Baidya must have realized by now that it is the commoners that suffer the most during periods of protest as they have to struggle everyday to eke out a living and do not mind even risking their lives for it. Raj Kumar Deuja,a truck driver, was not on a pleasure drive when a group of miscreants hurled a petrol bomb at his truck in Bara.Deuja,who was doing his duty to earn a living, died four days after the attack and was the sole bread winner of his family consisting of his mother, wife and two minors. In one case in Kathmandu, children were injured, one seriously, when an abandoned object that looked like a toy attracted their attention and exploded shortly after they started playing with it. Let us not forget even in wars, certain norms are adhered to. Examples abound to show that prominent figures in different countries have been tried and punished over time for war crimes. Asad of Syria is trying hard to escape punishment by   western countries for use of gas on Syrians. Sadly in our case, however, not even Baidya has regretted the incidents that in most cases have harmed the innocent people nor have other political parties found time to deplore these heinous acts. The least one could expect of Comrade Baidya at the moment is an apology to the families of these innocent sufferers and provide compensation, as done by the government, to the family of the deceased driver who had nothing except physical labour to sale for survival.

On the whole, one could safely conclude that elections were held in a free and fair manner with unprecedented turnout(70percent) and some security lapses and complaints related to printing and distribution of voters’ identity card (temporary)can, therefore, be brushed aside. Nepal Government and the Election Commission deserve the appreciation coming from different quarters both within and outside of Nepal. Vote counting started and progressed uninterrupted till the night of November 20 when agents of UCPN, Maoist, which began to trail far behind NC and UMl, boycotted vote counting alleging of vote rigging. It was clear that they had done so on the instruction of their party as Prachand the very next morning in a press conference accused of conspiracy against them and threaten to boycott CA if vote counting did not stop immediately to review the entire election process. Except his party, no one concerned with election was prepared to lend a ear to his baseless accusations.EC, therefore, went ahead with the counting process. Many guessed that Maoist will not do well in the second election to CA but not this miserably.Likewise; Madesh- based parties have received a good thrashing as expected. Voters have clearly shown that they dislike divisive politics based on caste, ethinicity and geography. While Maoists suffered basically because of the difference between what they said and what was done and also inconsistency in their observations over time even on serious issues, the Madeshi parties suffered because their noted leaders were just interested in power and perks. Breaking parties time and again by these leaders to grab power was being looked at by Nepalese all over Nepal in a contemptuous way and they were simply waiting for the opportune moment to teach these leaders a lesson. In case of UCPN Maoist, party split also cost them dearly because the party led by Kiran, with 90 former CA members, reportedly played a major role in ensuring defeat of Maoist leaders in some areas such as constituency 10 of Kathmandu. As expected, RPP, Nepal is likely to be a major gainer, through proportional representation system, capitalizing on the cow (religion) and the monarchy factors. However, this may not be so next time around as is clear from what happened to Madeshi parties then and now.UML,which is certain to grab second position with 91 seats in the first-past-the-post system and slightly trailing behind NC in the proportional representation system, has reaped rich dividends emanating from their stand on nationality issue and their dislike for politics of division. The party let go many of their rebelling influential leaders belonging to indigenous communities but did not budge an inch from its stance on multiple identity-based federalism and north-south division of provinces.UML have also shown unshaken faith in parliamentary democracy and liberal economic system. As far as Nepali Congress is concerned, people never like to push this oldest democratic party into an embarrassing position electorally because Nepalese are aware of its historical role in establishing and nurturing democracy in this country. Taking lead in both systems (105 in FPTP), NC is unshakably moving ahead to become the largest party. Those who have taken the beating now have to search their soul and bring about necessary changes to win the support of people, instead of blaming others for their debacle. As far as UCPN, Maoist is concerned, people are not sure yet whether the party has truly subscribed to parliamentary democracy and liberal economic system because its leaders keep on changing their views for public consumption depending on geographic location and the type of audience they are addressing. Political parties may also wish to jettison the idea of single identity-based federalism as the voting pattern has clearly manifested that people are not prepared to buy this even in Janajati-dominated constituencies. Our voters have matured. Although a sharp drop from 120 earlier to 26 now in FPTP, it seems there will be a respectable placement of UCPN Maoist in the new CA, making them the third largest party. A responsible party like this is not expected to boycott the new CA because such an act would be tantamount to disrespecting the sovereign voters of this country.  People also do not want leaders to shamelessly quarrel over creation of government and engage in its dislodgement soon after its formation. They want prime attention to be given to constitution writing and give adequate attention to more or less sick economy, which is likely to grow by more than 4 percent this year because timely rains in adequate quantity have helped agriculture (paddy) and timely budget is also likely to have positive impact on growth, despite the fact that capital expenditure has remained unsatisfactory (Rs. 4 billion) in the first quarter of this fiscal. Revenue collection has exceeded the target and unspent reserves of the government are swelling, whose productive investment will have to be accelerated by the next dispensation. The government led by Regmi deserves appreciation for accomplishing the Herculean task of organizing polls and not letting the economy deteriorate further.

Dr. Tilak Rawal

Dr. Tilak Rawal

Dr. Rawal is former governor of NRB.

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