Nepal is facing a situation of conflict and the global cold war having faced both internal conflicts and increasingly deteriorated and imbalanced ties with the neighboring nations. We are getting lost in ourselves for our own failures at a time when the Covid-19 is terrorizing both physically and mentally. Amidst this, the NC is all set to go for its Convention with expectations to acquire a liveliest and the strongest leadership capable of identifying the in-house problems and resolving them for good rather than running the party on an ad hoc basis with a small improvement here or amelioration there. This calls for seriousness amongst the NC people that they be rational and guided by conviction rather than slogans, by a new road-map rather than an old mindset, by commitment rather than assurances and by determination rather than just a sense of voting some people to take them at the NC’s helm. I have always been defending a collective leadership to manage it not the way an individual desires, not the way that makes it individual-heavy or the leader-oriented party. Adherence to the party’s statute keeping its ideal overhead is the only measure to redecorate the NC that seems just an organization of different interest groups at the moment.
The NC played a decisive role whether in the revolution of 2007 that ended the Rana regime, or the 2046 peoples’ movement that ended the monarchy’s absolute power and restored democracy, or the 2063 April uprising that established Nepal the Democratic Republic. The NC has been remaining always in the pivotal role of every epoch-making change. This is why it could enjoy an image of a political party trusted and relied on by the most. Gone were the days when the NC acted as a torchbearer while others followed it. The situation is exactly the opposite now with the Communists occupying NC’s earlier status. The causing factor is not NC’s ideal but the cumulative effects of how its leaders who love acting un-democratically focusing only on the individual interests of the people in coteries. The need is to acknowledge the weaknesses and the causes behind and develop it at least as what it was.
The increasingly growing misunderstanding between the two neighboring nations and the fear that some others could endeavor to fish in the troubled water poses a new threat to us. Arbitrating their misunderstanding, helping them develop the cordial ties and acting as a go in between the two calls for the revitalization of the NC for it is acceptable all around the world because of its democratic image.
Loktantra should deliver as per peoples’ wishes. Mere slogans not put into deeds do not make anyone a democratic idol. Political parties carryout peoples’ desires. By default, they are therefore not the venues to do anything anyway. There figures a good number of people in the NC that aspire to be the president, the vice-president and the general secretaries. But there is a great silence when it comes to the issues of the blueprints of the agendas, plans, or road map and determination to take the NC to the much-needed destination. The leadership to have emerged after the Convention has to be capable of shouldering this responsibility.
The Covid-19 has hit the entire spectrum of the economy, including agriculture, industry, tourism, energy, banking, and trade and commerce hard. People especially at the bottom rungs are living miserable lives. They desperately hope someone to come up with measures to rid of the crisis. Surprisingly, the NC is in a complete silence mode with no solution. Sycophancy is never a need. Bravery to call a spade a spade is the need of the hour. Such characters alone can establish leaders that act tough as nails, stand uncompromising about their value systems, and care and respect the people deeply.
NC has a daunting task to perform. It has to redefine its objectives both in theories and practice that should appear not only different and effective from that of the NCP’s but should also serve a two-fold purpose: one, it has to stand on a democratic value, culture, and system and address the increasingly growing resentment and despairing amongst the voters. Two, the Convention has to establish the leaders who hold the capability of coordinating the different thoughts in between the generations skillfully and address the concern of the people far and wide.
Nepalis are under an illusion that the NC and the NCP do not differ in any way despite that the NC differs from the Communists in theories, philosophies, thoughts, policies, and the modus operandi. It is because they have seen the NC acting just with a supportive role, especially after 2063 BS. The NC should take stock of this and undergo a massive shift in its thought so as to review and redefine the relations with the communists.
Democracy is a polity that runs effectively and develops as a system only when the characters managing it hold strong thoughts, abide democratic values, show a firm commitment to follow the standard norms and possess a determination to act for the nation with collectivity. Neither nation, nor society, nor the party itself receives anything substantial from the leadership that emerges out of a coterie of self-interested people with no ideology. Any political party that forgets its values and ideological moorings transform just to a self-interested group of people that are thoughtless. There could be arguments and opinion differences regarding the concern over peoples’ affairs, national interests, and the other important agendas are very natural in a democracy. But a sharp division with no differences in objectives, thoughts, opinions, and the roadmaps ruins and destroys the party itself. The evil that divided the NC into 60 and 40 apportionment practices in the past has made the NC lose its staggering political height and weight.
The leadership the convention establishes has to completely end the division in the NC and follows a merit-based rating system. What is experienced yet makes every NC people doubt that the people that rally-round the leaders could enjoy anything they wish and the people that keep acting for the betterment of the party could suffer should the way the leaders act allowed to continue further? The greatest evil that has eclipsed the NC at present is that people that talk get treated better than those who work hard. The root of the problem in NC today is that people with the ‘Manthara’ syndrome-who talk bad of others having understood the interests of the leaders— get the most. The way the NC is managed these days reminds most people the most popular social proverb—‘justice gets strangled where a person who burns tons and tons of thatch is liked more vis-à-vis the one who collects the same amount of thatch’.
As a nation-state, we are losing our self-esteem and the democratic image. The chance of becoming a failed state is looming large. The national treasury is almost empty and the entire public affairs including the contract awards, procurement and public positions appointments are mercilessly controlled by the power-brokers that liaise the people at the government and at another end. A great threat seems to be in the offing against the Independence of the Judiciary, the Constitutional Bodies, the Bureaucratic Mechanism, the Press Freedom, and the very natural rights of the citizens such as peace and protective security. The electioneering propaganda of the NCP that sold the dream of building bridges for the people to take them to heaven alive has proved to be a ‘fraudulent psychics’. The communists are best known for their expertise in creating crisis and get hold of the entire governance system under their control in an excuse of doing away with the crisis. The activities of the NCP government with the dictatorial intent do not match how a government in a democracy should function. The general election due in 2079 may not be done by the incumbent communist government given how it has been functioning. Even if the election takes place, that could mark the beginning of dismantling and destroying the entire democratic values and convictions. Involving oneself into the democratic exercises having been guided by a one-party dictatorship mindset is something like soliciting blessings from the Lord Pashupatinath Temple by a Mawlānā—a Muslim religious leader having read the Kuran. It is how people are skeptical of the Communists in Nepal and it is where a tale hangs.
The effective functioning of the political parties depends on how wisely and credibly the actors managing the parties act having followed an ideology that works with compassion to win peoples’ faith. It is not the faces of the actors that command peoples’ faith. A political party is complete and whole only when workers of different generations find it worth-joining. The problem the NC faces today is not the age of the people at the helm. It is rather a fair and justifiable treatment to the entire rank and file without any ‘mine and thine’ demarcation. The NC people have to learn a lot from its leaders that founded the party—they epitomized the characters of that of the Ramayana and agreed not to quarrel for power. Call it an irony that today’s leaders act as the characters of the Mahabharata that keep fighting tooth and nail only for power. What is needed therefore is an art of resolving all the existing issues with a collective brainstorming having followed the footprints of the great leaders & in accordance with the statute of the party?
Political parties serve as the first school that teaches governance and transparency lessons. The increasingly growing impunity and corruption the incumbent government is promoting calls the after Convention NC leadership for coming up with an important agenda to lead a nationwide anti-corruption campaign. People are fed up with gossips, and arrogant and dramatic rhetoric. They wish the NC to remerge a democratic socialist party with creativeness, conviction and compassion to work with and for the people. The reinvented NC should be committed to ensuring a fair share of national income and protective security to the marginalized and the deprived people based on social justice& security should it aim at making people put faith on it as in the past.
NC has its own share of problems. We look like a silent spectator or a supporter of the prevailing rule that is promoting corruption, the impunity with misgovernance and mismanagement of available resources. Now NC leadership dares not to fight it having accepted it as an opportunity for oneself. There is also a tendency of seeing oneself strong only when someone else in the party is weakened. We enjoy the coteries in the dark rooms to the neglect of the entire party and act the way it serves our interests. The Convention should take stock of all this with a merciless introspection and give birth to a much restrengthened and re-energized NC.
Party’s central departments, sister organizations & nominee in different levels & units get filled with people that serve the interests not of the party but of the few. The distribution of active membership is done the same way. The party seems almost non-performer and seems to have forgotten its opposition role whether in the streets or the Parliament. We are a democratic party but do not allow the party’s district Chairs to have their say while deciding who should be the ward members. Could there be any more unfortunate than this?
The statute of the party serves as a road-map to its cadres apart from becoming also a code honor. No one can accept whosoever disobeys and dishonors it. Everyone should bear it in the mind that the end of the party begins when people at the helm dishonor, disobey and strangle the statute of their own party in a bid to serve their petty interests.
What described yet subsume some of the critical issues that have to be discussed thoroughly and widely in the Convention. This is the most should the NC workers be made serious to selecting the new leaders. An individual’s face, group interests, interests of some individuals, and the legacy someone brings along should not be the criteria for searching the new leadership. What is needed most is ideologically committed leadership capable of revamping the NC. Any leadership that emerges having taken a stake of what described above could contribute to a resurrected NC with a much sharpened ideological axe. The upcoming fourteenth General Convention of NC has to be able to materialize as to the above-mentioned judgments, what I've been devotedly seeking for; that is, a reawakened and/or systematized Nepali Congress to save the democracy and to serve the nation. Also, SO I would like to request to all my colleagues to be active in order to achieve this goal in the coming days.
Arjun Narasingha KC Is A Member CWC, Nepali Congress 26 Sept. 2020. He can be reached at email@example.com