Waves Underway

A number of individuals have already announced in Facebook their intention to stand for Parliamentary elections from the capital or from other cities.

June 29, 2022, 10:57 a.m.

There has been much discussion regarding the topic of voting in the Federal and Pradesh elections scheduled for mid-November. If some new election rules are not passed by the House immediately, elections might be delayed by some months! There are whisperings in the social media and its echoes are blowing in the wind. This trend will certainly increase in the coming months and become forceful waves of activity all over Nepal. Are these just brewing storms which will end in a whimper? The current members must ponder over what they have done for their constituencies and reflect if they deserve re-election. Some current members may even be on a downhill path for regular absenteeism in the House.

A number of individuals have already announced in Facebook their intention to stand for Parliamentary elections from the capital or from other cities. There have been comments on their chances or otherwise. One cannot at this stage be sure whether this group of enthusiasts will actually contest when the time comes. Many have felt that they will stand as independents and if they win will after the elections go around joining one of the national parties. This unfortunately is a question which will be answered only later. There is a vast yearning amongst many that a massive change is required in this country if the Nepali citizen is to benefit. The new enthusiasts, all rearing to have a go, should not all opt for the constituencies in the urban areas but vie in rural constituencies where the chances of winning are much greater!

When the retiring age for government service is 58 years only, the question arises why there is no age limit for politicians? A suggestion doing the round is that people over 70 should not be eligible to contest in elections. But why this higher limit when the government servant is considered to longer able to provide proper service to the nation at 58?

One has also been hearing from some of our elderly leaders that the elections are becoming too costly. How come that they have just woken up to this fact? Are their heydays over? Are the various sources of external support through NGOs or INGOs for our politicians drying up? Are they becoming bereft of funds as that they have not been able to do as they had assured?

Change is said to be in the air. The political arrangements made for the local elections are said to be no longer valid for the Federal and the Pradesh elections on the horizon? The truth is that there were disturbances at some places, although it was not extensively publicised.

Some points to consider by the Election Commission are:

  1. Gathbandans prior to election should not be officially allowed. It may be a secret understanding between parties but is never flaunted. Coalition government can only be resorted to when no single party has an outright majority. To be able to achieve their objectives the smaller parties should perhaps unify as this will make them effective.
  2. There should be a voting facility labelled ‘None of the above’ if the voter is not satisfied with the competence of the persons trying to get elected. Why no action on this long standing demands? Is it because the candidates of the different parties feel they are the only competent persons.

Let the voter decide on this issue.

  1. Nepalis out of the country at election time must be given the facility to vote. The two secretaries of the Nepali Congress have gone to the Election Commission in this regard. Nepalis abroad can certainly do so in the various designated embassies in distant lands provided they have not taken up foreign citizenship. One notes that presently there is no legal provision for out of country voting.
  2. Non-Resident-Nepalis cannot exercise this facility unless DUAL citizenship is extended to them. The question is whether this facility will be available to resident Nepalis in some countries or all over the world.
  3. There is talk that facility will be given to Nepalis who are not in the place from where they got their citizenship papers, to be able to vote elsewhere. If this is the intention, this message should be well publicised so that all Nepalis know of it and take the advantage offered. Let it not be a ploy to strengthen the bases of the old political hands to prevent them from loosing and falling by the wayside
  4. Partners of elected members of parliament (MPs) should not be eligible to be selected as proportional representative MPs nor should incompetent relatives or hangers on of rejected politicians. At least one third of house members should be female.

Election conduction and counting should continue as for local elections for this will ensure that enthusiastic party card holders are busy and not trying to disturb matters. If no electronic machines used, no destruction or hijacking of these will take place!

The Election Commission should not just think ‘Sab Theek Chha’ when the reality is otherwise. We should elect individuals who are prepared to strive for and work sincerely for the sake of the nation. It is good that Nepal Television, except for the time of its regular news, is constantly showing the proceedings of the house. Sadly, many a time one sees that whilst the member making his point is speaking, the House is invariably empty. One hears rumours that some members sign in and walk away. How disheartening! Even on special occasions one sees a number of members dozing off! What a difference of what one sees in the British Parliament or the US Congress and Senate where members appear to be in full attendance and awake!

What we sorely need is new blood at the helm. The old leaders who have been leading us in turns, as if playing musical chairs need to be replaced. They have all overplayed their parts and now is the time for them to go.

The author is a retired medical doctor and writes fiction under the pen name of Mani Dixit also. Website: www.hdixit.org.np. Twitter: @manidixithd

Dr.Hemang Dixit.jpg

Hemang Dixit

The author writes fiction under the name of Mani Dixit. Website: www.hdixit.org.np. Twitter: @manidixithd

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