Post Poll Scenario

Huge sums are lying unspent because resources are flowing into the state coffer but capital/productive expenditure has not picked. Mention worthy is the fact that out of Rs. 85.10 billion allocated for capital expenditure, only Rs.7.95 billion has be

Dec. 27, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -13 Dec. 27- 2013 (Poush 12, 2070)

Leading on both categories of polls, Nepali Congress became the largest political party, followed by UML and the UCPN-Maoist was placed in a respectable third position in the yet to be formed Constituent Assembly. More than a month has passed after the successful holding of the polls but the major political parties have not been able to pick candidates under the proportional representation system (PR) due basically to their internal problems. The Election Commission made timely allotment of PR seats to 30 parties and has extended the deadline for PR list submission twice but only 11 parties have submitted the lists of their candidates. In addition to the intra-party feud that is causing delay in naming their respective candidates, it seems top political leaders’ intense engagement with the disgruntled Maoist leaders, demanding constitution of a high level commission to look into alleged election irregularities, is obstructing timely formation of CA.It may be mentioned that UCPN-Maoist Party, buoyed by about a dozen small parties, is threatening to boycott the new CA if their demands remained unheeded. It seems NC and UML leaders will have to concede to some of Prachand’s demand because they cannot afford to let it remain outside at a time when Mohan Baidya seems to be all set for a revolt and has called for the annulations of the 12 point peace agreement. If conceding to some of the not- so- irrelevant demands of the party that has earned a respectable third position in the recent polls facilitates its participation in the CA and in the dispensation, everybody should welcome it because Nepalese want a durable government, which could give new constitution and some economic relief to the needy. People do not want the repetition of what had happened last time when leaders concentrated on formation of governments and their dissolution more than anything else. The lesson that the recent polls taught us is that leaders and parties doing anything and everything for power are noted by the voters who do not fail to punish the culprits at the opportune moment. In the current fluid situation, it is likely that CA’s coming into formal existence and formation of government is likely to take some time because time consuming efforts have to be made to rope into constitution making not only a milder Prachanda and his team but also device ways to ensure participation of very aggressive Baidya and his group in the ongoing political process. People are certain that a responsible political party like the one led by Prachanda cannot isolate itself from the current political exercise of paramount importance. That UCPN-Maoist has reportedly begun their work on naming PR candidates after the second extension of time by the Election Commission is a welcome development. Let us hope they submit the list along with NC and UMl, both having tough time in naming the candidates, without much flip-flopping.Prachanda must realize that setting preconditions for submitting the party’s PR candidates is not liked by the voters who are also not likely to blame NC and UML leadership for not accepting these conditions. Despite some hiccups that surface intermittently in talks between NC and UML, it seems these irritants cannot shake the deep understanding reached between them on the question of constitution preparation within one year. However, nothing can be said with certainty about the group led by Kiran, despite strong advice both from within and outside of Nepal that they should remain in the main stream politics of Nepal. Comrade Kiran may kindly introspect that his aim of foiling the polls were foiled by Nepalese who turned out in astounding numbers to vote on November 19th and he had absolutely nothing to be happy about after the successful polls except some solace he could have derived from the relatively poor poll performance of UCPN-Maoist. Any leader with some vision should understand that this kind of non-participation in political events and processes could easily push a leader or a group into political oblivion.

Convergence of divergent opinion to put in place new CA and thereafter the government will definitely take time but leaders should make sure that limit is not crossed because people want the new dispensation to facilitate preparation of a new constitution and concentrate on improving the deplorable state of the economy without wasting much time. Not only in Nepal, people all over the world want stability and economic prosperity to enjoy better quality of life. Iranians on hearing positive news about long-imposed economic sanctions on their country got into a festive mood and accorded a heroic welcome to the delegation members who had participated in the successful initial talks with the West on Iran’s nuclear programme. Those celebrating the occasion knew that opening up of the huge market (US, EU and their allies) for Iranian products, mainly oil, will galvanize the sick economy ultimately benefitting the people there. In India, where the economy has slackened a bit after years of robust growth, people are worried about stubbornly high level of inflation, jobsqueeze across sectors and the current rate of growth (around 5 percent),which is the lowest in  a decade. Similarly; Chinese are working hard to reverse the current disappointing performance of their economy. People in these emerging global economic powers know well that overall wealth creation has to be bolstered to better social gains. It may be noted that impressive growth helped these countries implement targeted social welfare schemes to benefit the people in poverty. Note worthy is also the fact that remarkable economic progress helped both China and India to embark upon ambitious space programme. Current protests in Ukraine against president Yanukovych’s decision not to sign an economic deal with EU have solid economic reasons behind as Ukrainians are fully convinced that closer economic ties with resourceful West would better serve their interest of rescuing Ukraine’s collapsing economy. Time will show whether the recent decision by the government there to rely on Russia’s cheap gas and money will do any meaningful good to their economy. When economic issues have taken precedence over other state affairs all over the world, Nepalese in dire need of electricity, drinking water and facing high level of inflation and unemployment cannot be blamed for blaming governments here for ignoring economic issues. It may be noted that 1500 to 1700 Nepalese leave Nepal each day for work outside: many of them breathe their last due to hostile working conditions there. The government to be formed will have to assign some ministers along with some agencies such as National Planning Commission and Nepal Rastra Bank(central bank) to monitor progress of development projects and make sure that budgetary allocations on these do not remain unspent.Huge sums are lying unspent because resources are flowing into the state coffer but capital/productive expenditure has not picked. Mention worthy is the fact that out of Rs. 85.10 billion allocated for capital expenditure, only Rs.7.95 billion has been spent in the five months of the current fiscal year. Situation, however, is not completely, hopeless, economy has not irreparably collapsed and the nation can be put on the track leading to prosperity provided those running the show are determined to do so. Please remember Nepalese want the major political parties to sincerely cooperate in government formation and in constitution writing so that work to cure economic and political ailment that Nepal is suffering from since long could commence.

Dr. Tilak Rawal

Dr. Tilak Rawal

Dr. Rawal is former governor of NRB.

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