Nepal is celebrating the success of its first local elections in 20 years, even without overcoming the after effects of the 2015 earthquakes, which had left 9,000 dead, 21,000 injured and more than 600,000 homes destroyed. The government then came on the brink of a political crisis due to a conflict with the Madhesi minority. The last local elections in Nepal had taken place in 1997. After that the outbreak of a decade-long civil war paralyzed the convening of new elections until the arrival of the peace process in 2008.
Despite 73% of voters expressing their preference over the local representatives, a political disconnection between voters and political parties is more conspicuous now than ever. Something is happening in politics and politicians do not seem to realize this. The common voter, as a human being, makes the most important decision of his life guided by feelings and emotions and without using reason. The political party fails to get into people’s heart and mind to understand their emotion and influence their feeling. Almost all political parties failed to come up with an appropriate message to move in the direction they want.
Any country that practices true democracy enjoys peace and voters should vote based on the political ideology the party has to offer. Whenever voters are driven by feeling and emotion and not by driven by ideologies there will be long-term political issues. Ideology influences attitudes, orientations and political behavior in general.
The degree of ideological polarization (IP) should be a key concern in Nepal, as it may hamper democratic governance. A healthy democracy is one that consists of strong and coherent parties struggling to overcome each day and truly committed to represent the citizen who has given his vote. Political parties in Nepal are in the greatest crisis in their history.
In politics, ideology not only helps voters to rank their values and priorities, it also serves the purpose of political legitimacy. Political differences can occur for reasons other than ideology, such as seeking favors, following a charismatic leader, an influence of the press, and such things.
The word ideology has a bad reputation, and the term ideologist got a pejorative sense when Napoleon Bonaparte using it to ridicule his political opponents. However, an ideology is a coherent system of ideas that asserts itself in our assumptions about reality. An ideology is a set of ideas and values, principles, according to which we make decisions and interpret what surrounds us. Political ideology is a system of thoughts or beliefs that encourage political action. The ideological crisis of the parties coincided with the moment when Nepali congress had an alliance with Maoists just for a power game. Ideologies play an essential role in politics. Its function is to clarify the accuracy of some ideas to solve the problems of the time and their internal correlations, so as to constitute a coherent system that helps to solve new situations that may arise.
As Mahatma Gandhi says, “Politics without principle is a sin." Most of our leaders, regardless of their political ideology, are busy securing personal growth by accumulating wealth through using political power. The electoral scenario in our country never seems to end. These political scenarios always seem to be the same, they only change their position and do not care too much about leaving an unfinished task they abandon it to aspire to another position, which will not end because there will always be something better to aspire to.
The lack of ethics, responsibility, or commitment should occur in political parties based on ideologies that govern them. Loyalty is so important in the world of politics. Loyalty is something that directs politicians in all their actions so that they always do their best. I wonder why someone who changes ideology without modesty and always moves with the highest bidder deserves the confidence of the citizens.
The politics has become a spectacle where the image of the leader predominates and the ideas have been replaced by the strategies of marketing. The success of the parties is based on the capacities of their elites and political leaders to maintain and build networks of commitments and loyalties based on patronage. New loyalties are no longer built around ideologies and party programs, but around leaders and trends that control the power structure of state and parties.
The principle dies when ideology dies. The human and social sense of politics is replaced by the clientelism and the pragmatism of the leaders. Giving up principles and values under the umbrella of winning at all costs will be catastrophic fall of the democratic party.
Politics is not built from lies, deceit or half-truths. It is dangerous and counterproductive even if immediate returns are obtained. Democracy is based on ethical concepts of the common good, social justice, and responsibility. There is a direct relationship between what is said and what is done but for Nepalese people, politicians always do the same: they promise to build a bridge even if there is no river.
Especially in politics, "Not having an ideology is equivalent to being lost or defending one's interests as the only motivation. The basis of democracy is that the people elect their rulers hoping that they make the best decisions. Research also shows when parties fail to show ideological differences, abstention will be higher.
In this regard, most regimes, political parties, and movements are characterized by an ideology that allows them to mobilize popular support and legitimize their actions. This ability to win support and gain legitimacy depends on continued production process and renewal of their respective systems of thought. A political ideology is the primary set of values which people derive their attitudes towards facts and political problems and serve them as a guide to conduct themselves politically.
Political ideologies encompass ideas about human nature and society, the economy, and the political system, and clarify the questioning of what a good society represents, the role of religion, how economic benefits should be distributed, and what the action for poverty eradication will be.
The questions that we must asked today to party leaders are: what about the ideology of party? Are you connecting with the citizen? Does it solve the modern problems and help build an adequate future? Are your values current?
Principles and values make us strong and make a difference. Principles, such as the ethical values of the common good, social justice, and dignity cannot be renounced. Nepalese political spectrum is being shaken by a new political glance, which is not "political". Without principles, there is no dignity and without dignity, there is no politics. Politics without ideology is the same as the coffee without caffeine.
(Author is Lecturer and IT consultant. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org)