Rise Of Populism Boon Or A Bane

Populism is prevalent in those countries where the educated part of the population is small, and the social status is low.

Aug. 13, 2023, 11:54 a.m.

Politics is a medium to touch people who have not experienced a prosperous life. A prosperous society is a society where at least its basic needs can be met and one can live in safety and peace. The young generation is the successor and heir of the country, the good and bad of a nation may be seen from the quality of its youth. At the same time, youth can be easily manipulated by sensational propaganda. In general, populism is defined as being popular or known by the public. The political definition of the term "populism" is "an ideology that sees society as fundamentally divided into two homogenous and antagonistic groups - the 'common people' and the 'corrupt elite', and claims that politics should express the unified will of the people."

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The populist movement has gained momentum by capitalizing on the grievances of grassroots groups who feel left behind by the existing political and economic order. Factors such as income inequality, unemployment, poverty, political instability, and cultural anxiety have fueled populist sentiments in Nepal. The main reason for the rise of populism is the collapse of trust in traditional political parties.

The primary substance of populism is to get support from ordinary citizens, populism promises them what they want. A statistic that seems quite evocative, most Nepalese people work in a foreign land. 32 years under the leadership of different political parties have not made the lives of ordinary citizens better. Working-class incomes slumped, Law and order deteriorated, and corruption was rampant.

Populism is prevalent in those countries where the educated part of the population is small, and the social status is low. Populists, who base their political rhetoric on economic and social issues, speak in a manner that appeals to ordinary people. Populism arises when people want more from politics. Populist movements that promise simple solutions to complex problems are gaining more and more support.

The populist agenda gives birth to so-called charismatic leaders who effectively connect with the masses through simple and emotive rhetoric that blames the existing political spectrum for societal woes. Populist leaders often emerge as a challenge to traditional political parties, offering alternative narratives and promising, radical change.

Populism lacks a deeper ideological content. It may not become very meaningful for the political system. It is like a big bubble. Populist leaders are first able to attract certain constituencies with promising slogans, then, once in power, they use both political and economic levers to strengthen their position and then set about building a new illiberal system and implementing their vision.

Populism is occasionally given virtues, equating it with participatory democracy, revitalizing democracy, being close to the people, or raising forgotten issues. You have to consider the trust issues, and the total collapse of voter confidence in political elites, traditional elites, business elites, union elites, and even religious elites. And of course, when trust is lost, people are likely to look for a savior, and populist politicians are there with a sign that says: 'Vote for me, I will solve all problems.' And they don't, but it takes people time to figure that out.

The left ideology focuses on society, while the right focuses on the individual but the populist preaches the idea that they are neither left nor right but they want to bring the nation forward. Populist heavily uses Emotional Political Marketing (PEM) Which can be described as the set of communication techniques, resources, and formats used by candidates to influence the decisions of citizens, by inducing a certain emotional state. That is exactly what is happening in Nepal. In other words, everything that the candidates transmit is focused on provoking a reaction and an image that shapes what citizens perceive of them and their opponents.

Populists campaign in a way that The voter is made to feel that time is running out, that he or she has to decide between a shameful past and a hopeful future. The date of the election is the beginning of a turn. You cannot fail to go to the polls and you must not allow someone to be left without voting. Populism does not provide answers to the challenges we face today. Let us bear in mind that populism can cause significant damage to a democratic political culture, even if it does not manage to govern. Nepali people have been listening to hollow promises of making the country Singapore or Switzerland. Promises made in the elections will never be fulfilled. Development work is so slow that it is taking more than 30 years to complete essential projects. In every election, false slogans have been successful in misleading the people till now. A deep gap between rulers and ruled has always been very wide in Nepal.

So far Nepalese politicians bear part of the blame for their inability to fulfill the role of mediators between the State and the people, the role that they have had to play has been an extremely difficult one. There is nothing new in the world of politics. Some lie, others remain misunderstood and inconsolable. The fact that politics is a dirty business is also talked about by those who are not clean people.

There is no doubt that a smart political process will produce quality leaders and a quality leader will lead society to progress and justice. The political process without concrete political ideology, poor organization, and lacking long-term vision will immensely harm the nation.

Deepak Raj Joshi.jpg

Deepak Raj Joshi

(The author is a lecturer and IT consultant. He also writes fiction under the name of Kapeed Joshi. He can be reached by email at info@dipakjoshi.com.np.)

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