Although his own party Nepali Congress has completely deviated from his national reconciliation policy dancing with the extreme communist forces, the national reconciliation policy propounded by B.P. Koirala is still very much relevant to Nepal.
Although his own party Nepali Congress has now been ruling the country as a co-partner of extremist community, the party’s leadership is not in a position to denounce it.
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.
As he is sharing the power with extremist communist, Prime Minister Deuba was compelled to visit the statue of BP Koirala and remembering him for his contribution to Nepali Congress.
While addressing a function organized on the occasion of National Unity and Reconciliation Day at the BP Museum in Sundarijal on Friday, Prime Minister and Nepali Congress (NC) President Deuba said the NC would forward the country maintaining national unity on the basis of the reconciliation policy propounded by BP Koirala.
He said that the country’s national unity will be stronger from reconciliation among all castes and religious communities.
Recalling that the Federal Constitution was promulgated under the leadership of the Nepali Congress, he said that he was committed to making Nepal a prosperous country by strengthening republican system and federalism.
He also underlined the need for making the national unity stronger and stressed unity and co-operation among all seven provinces.
Prime Minister Deuba added, “In federalism, reconciliation and unity should be maintained among seven provinces to make our national unity stronger.”
He also said the reconciliation policy introduced by late BP Koirala was still equally relevant and it should be forwarded ahead.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Deuba expressed his belief that the National Reconciliation Day would give inspiration to all political parties for safeguarding nationalism and democracy. Issuing a message on the occasion of the Day, PM Deuba said consensus and collaboration were necessary for the protection of nationality and democracy.
Deuba stressed that reconciliation, dialogue, consensus and collaboration were essential among all the national forces committed to nationality and democracy.
Stating that the policy propounded by BP Koirala in course of the democratic movement in the country has a high significance, PM Deuba said, “BP Koirala had returned to Nepal from political exile in India with the goal of protecting nationalism and establishing democracy despite facing life sentence from the then political regime. This day has been motivating us for our commitment towards patriotism and democracy.”
Betrayed by his own brother GP Koirala for the sake of the power, national reconciliation has different hat now. At a time when his own nephew Dr. Shekhar Koirala did not recall his great uncle BP Koirala’s contribution declining to champion it, Prime Minister Deuba has shown political courage to pay respect to his principle, even in word.
The founder leader of the Nepali Congress, BP Koirala, had returned to Nepal from political exile in India on Poush 16, 2033 BS (December 30, 1976) espousing the ‘national unity and reconciliation’ policy. The Nepali Congress has been commemorating this day as the National Unity and Reconciliation Day.
Died four decades ago, BP Koirala has left a big legacy among the party workers. Realizing this, Nepali Congress general secretary Bishwa Prakash Sharma has said that the national reconciliation policy of BP would help maintain national unity.
Speaking at a program organized on the occasion in Pokhara, Sharma said that the national reconciliation policy introduced in 1976 was equally relevant and that must be pushed forward as BP thoughts.
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 (See Box).
Nationalism and Democracy
By BP 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)