Giving up all core essences and values of BP Koirala’s National Recollections pushing party towards extremism, Nepali Congress leaders observed the 46th national unity and reconciliation day paying lip service to the leaders.
Nationalism and democracy are the two most important components of national reconciliation. BP Koirala pursues reconciliation to bring monarchy and democratic forces represented by Nepali Congress.
Backed by Nepali Congress, extremists on the disguise of Maoists and CPN-UML, have been taking center stage in Nepali politics. Although prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who himself was close associate B.P Koirla, reelected the party’s president, he is not in a position to guide the Nepali Congress in its centrist position.
At a time when many strong followers of late BP Koirala have either died or are now out of politics, Nepali Congress is heading towards extremism losing its own centrist ideology.
A former minister like Govinda Raj Joshi was expelled from the party and the remaining few younger generation leaders like Dr. Minendra Rijal, Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat have lost the elections of the party. Khum Bahadur Khadka, who returned with BP, died and KB Gurung, who also returned in the pretext of BP’s return to Nepal, has openly backed ethnic politics.
The day is marked every year on Poush 16 in the Nepali calendar in memory of the Nepali Congress founding president BP Koirala, who along with some other leaders came back to Nepal after a long exile in neighboring India.
On December 30, 1976, leader Koirala along with some other leaders, Ganesh Man Singh, Shailaja Acharya, Khum Bahadur Khadka, Ram Babu Prasain and Nilambar Panthi returned home after around eight years of exile in India with a message of national unity and reconciliation.
Despite the attempt to push the party an extreme end, Nepali Congress leaders in power have no option other than to harp this slogan to woo voters. We have also decided to reproduce his statement issued
Nationalism And Democracy: Bishweswor Prasad Koirala
The statement B.P. Koirala gave on return from foreign exile on December 30,1976
After a pretty long period of exile, we are returning to our country. On this occasion, I would like to say a few words to the countrymen.
Today, our country is in a national crisis. All have realized that this crisis is getting heightened since the last few years. As a result, the very national identity has been endangered. Others have also admitted this. All including the King have from time to time referred to the danger posed to national identity. We are returning to home after realizing this grave reality. We think that the lack of national unity is a major factor for such a national crisis as a result of which foreign elements have started to become successful in playing their dirty games and making Nepal a center of an international conspiracy. National unity can be achieved only through a collective campaign and efforts of all Nepali people. Such a collective campaign does also lay the grounds for the institutional base for the emotional unity of the Nepali people. If the sloganeering alone could do this, the national unity would not have suffered so much nor our country would have landed in such a miserable condition in the last sixteen years. Today, there is selfishness, communalism, individualistic practices and the tendency to have external-tilt is rampant in the country. In such circumstances, nationalism becomes the first casualty.
Till yesterday, our struggle was confined to the attainment of the people’s democratic rights. That’s why, we emphasized more on the democratic side. Today, there is a new dimension added to it. A dual responsibility has befallen the Nepali Congress. This second responsibility is, safeguarding the national identity. We have visualized two-fold faces of today’s Nepal: Nationalism and Democracy.
It means the Nepali people should take the responsibility of restoring democracy as well as safeguarding the nation. If we talk of only one responsibility we will be following the wrong track by being one-sided. And, if we emphasized only the restoration of democracy, we will not be contributing to addressing this national crisis. Moreover, we may even fall into the trap of foreigners by such one-sided action. Similarly, if we talk of nationalism only, we will be repeating the same 16-years-old hollow slogans of nationalism and will be siding with authoritarianism. Such a hollow slogan of nationalism cannot generate internal willpower in the countrymen to safeguard the nation. Therefore, we need now to understand that national unity can be built on the foundation of democracy only. And the foundation of democracy can be cemented by economic development and the just economic system. Therefore we feel that nationalism, democracy and economic development are interdependent on each other.
It is well known that the Nepali Congress has taken historical and serious decisions from time to time in the national interest. The decision to wage the 1951 revolution and its executions are some examples. After finding that there was a conspiracy to put off the elections forever, it took the leadership of the national campaign for the holding of the elections. We received cooperation from various parties in that campaign. Nepali Congress launched the resistance movement for democracy after the cruel and fatal blow dealt to democracy in 1960. And today, we have taken this historical decision seeing the crisis the nation is facing. This is in accordance with the tradition of the Nepali Congress.
In the history of every nation, there comes such moment when its people have to risk their lives to safeguard the national identity. We think, such a moment has come in Nepal today. Our well-wishers had advised us not to return Nepal seeing the dangers involved in it. We would like to tell them that we have taken this historical decision because the likely danger to our lives is nothing as compared to the danger to the nation. The workers of the Nepali Congress have also shown the example of unprecedented courage and love towards nation by returning to the motherland following the party directives.
In this hour of national crisis, all of us should get united by forgetting and ending the past unhealthy debates, experiences and differences. Our program should be directed by the feeling that we will no more exist in the absence of our nation. I do not know what fate awaits me after I return to the country. Through this statement, as the Chairman of Nepali Congress, I would like to appeal to the entire countrymen that let us all unanimously unite in the pious task of defending the nation, its progress, happiness and prosperity of the people. If I get an opportunity, I will put forth my feelings before His Majesty also. The responsibility to save the nation is the common responsibility of all.
Bishweswor Prasad Koirala
(This excerpt has been reproduced in order to re-emphasize the importance of national reconciliation)