“Lok­tantra” has failed

People's Review - - COMMENTARY/NEWS - PR PRAD­HAN push­para­jprad­han@gmail.com

The lead­ers of the day have al­ready felt that the present con­sti­tu­tion is non-func­tional and it has al­ready failed. If re­called, Babu­ram Bhattarai and Kr­ishna Shi­taula were much ac­tive in writ­ing the con­sti­tu­tion. To­day, Bhattarai is say­ing that the is­sue of de­mar­ca­tion of the bound­aries of the prov­inces has to be set­tled first to im­ple­ment the con­sti­tu­tion. Fur­ther­more, he is ad­vo­cat­ing that as the par­lia­men­tary model has al­ready failed, the con­sti­tu­tion has to be amended by in­tro­duc­ing the pro­vi­sion of a di­rectly elected Pres­i­dent. Within the ten months of pro­mul­ga­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion, the very peo­ple who drafted the con­sti­tu­tion have started to de­mand for its amend­ment. Al­ready, im­me­di­ately af­ter the pro­mul­ga­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion, it was amended and the lead­ers are pre­par­ing for the next amend­ment in the con­sti­tu­tion. UML chair and im­me­di­ate past prime min­is­ter KP Sharma Oli is found say­ing that the modal­ity of fed­er­al­ism is non-func­tional in a coun­try like Nepal. On the other hand, Mad­heshi Janad­hikar Fo­rum leader Upen­dra Ya­dav has been say­ing say­ing that all the de­mands put for­ward by the Mad­heshi al­liance have to be ful­filled through an amend­ment in the con­sti­tu­tion. Oth­er­wise, the con­sti­tu­tion will be scrapped. A sec­tion of lead­ers are say­ing that this is the con­sti­tu­tion ap­proved by above 90 per­cent of the peo­ple's rep­re­sen­ta­tives. How­ever the fact is that out of above 150 thou­sand gen­eral pub­lic's sug­ges­tions, the CA adopted only 500 peo­ple's sug­ges­tions and the rest of the sug­ges­tions were dumped with the ex­pla­na­tion that their sug­ges­tions didn't match with the spirit of the con­sti­tu­tion. As the peo­ple have not felt their own­er­ship on this con­sti­tu­tion, it can­not be im­ple­mented, say con­sti­tu­tional ex­perts Bhattarai, co­or­di­na­tor of the Naya Shakti party, who is plead­ing for Pres­i­den­tial rule, know­ingly or un­know­ingly, has wished to re­turn to the pre-1990 era when there was the King as the ex­ec­u­tive chief. In the changed con­text, he has ad­vo­cated for di­rectly elected Pres­i­dent as the ex­ec­u­tive chief of the na­tion. Un­der­stand­ably, Bhattarai has con­fessed that the then Panchyat sys­tem was far bet­ter than to­day's “lok­tantra”. There was a sys­tem and even the King never tried to cross the con­sti­tu­tional lim­its. Dur­ing the Pan­chayat rule all the things were in proper shape and all the gov­ern­ment or­gans were more ef­fi­cient, pro­fes­sional and ef­fec­tive. More im­por­tantly, the mon­archs had al­ways re­spected demo­cratic norms and val­ues and the mon­archs were al­ways loyal to the peo­ple. Cor­rup­tion was con­trolled. There was po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity and peace. To­day's “lok­tantra” can­not be com­pared with the Pan­chayat sys­tem in any of the ar­eas in­clud­ing good gov­er­nance, na­tional sovereignty, in­de­pen­dence and guar­an­tee­ing fun­da­men­tal rights of the in­di­vid­u­als. The mon­archs had re­spected the peo­ple's as­pi­ra­tion as the mon­archs wanted to see their sons suc­ceed­ing the throne. If the peo­ple were un­happy, the monar­chy could not con­tinue, there­fore, the kings al­ways re­garded their peo­ple as supreme source of the rule. Con­trary to that, if we in­tro­duce the pres­i­den­tial sys­tem in Nepal, the pres­i­dent may emerge as a dic­ta­tor for be able to en­joy a full term of his or her ten­ure. Again, the pres­i­dent will try to buy votes and win the elec­tion for the next term. In many coun­tries, we have seen the rep­e­ti­tion of the same per­son as the pres­i­dent for decades. In this way, there is the threat of invit­ing dic­ta­to­rial rule. The other thing is that the pres­i­dent elected di­rectly by the peo­ple will try to please his vot­ers and be­have neg­a­tively against those who voted against him. A coun­try like Nepal hav­ing di­verse com­mu­ni­ties, the pres­i­dent can­not play the role of the sym­bol of unity among the peo­ple which was played by the kings. The ques­tion is whether we should chose an elected pres­i­dent or re­store a non-elected king to keep in­tact and united the na­tion! Since the in­tro­duc­tion of democ­racy in 1950, the coun­try has passed through many ex­per­i­ments. We had adopted mul­ti­party democ­racy and now we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing fed­eral repub­lic modal­ity of democ­racy. If any­body doubts that the monar­chy was the hur­dles for de­vel­op­ment and democ­racy, in many de­vel­oped coun­tries, there is monar­chial rule. If any­body doubts on par­lia­men­tary democ­racy, even in the United King­dom and many other coun­tries, in­clud­ing In­dia, this modal­ity has been suc­cess­ful. There­fore, by say­ing fail­ure of any par­tic­u­lar sys­tem, to go for a new ex­per­i­ment is not wise. Talk­ing about Bhattarai, he is the most un­suc­cess­ful po­lit­i­cal leader. He sac­ri­ficed his en­er­getic years for a sys­tem hav­ing vi­o­lent rev­o­lu­tion. In the name of “peo­ple's war” above 15 thou­sand in­no­cent peo­ple were killed. Fi­nally, Bhattarai's rev­o­lu­tion didn't be­come suc­cess­ful. To­day, Bhattarai has quit the party and opened a new party called Naya Shakti (new force) by fol­low­ing the prin­ci­ples of the Pan­chayat democ­racy – fu­sion of demo­cratic and com­mu­nist val­ues. On the whole, Bhattarai is fol­low­ing the Pan­chayeti path, whether he will ac­cept it or not. Nei­ther the Pan­chayat nor the par­lia­men­tary sys­tems were bad. Since we adopted the mul­ti­party democ­racy, the be­hav­ior of po­lit­i­cal lead­ers be­came bad. In­stead of con­tribut­ing for the na­tion with an open heart, the lead­ers be­came self-cen­tric and they were un­able to stand above their per­sonal in­ter­ests, fam­ily in­ter­ests and the party in­ter­ests. They en­cour­aged cor­rup­tion and com­mis­sion prac­tices from which the gen­eral pub­lic be­came poor whereas the po­lit­i­cal lead­ers be­came multi-bil­lion­aires. The po­lit­i­cal lead­ers be­came for­eign pup­pets, rather they could project them­selves as lead­ers think­ing about the na­tional in­ter­ests. The first thing is needed to func­tion a democ­racy in Nepal is cor­rec­tion of the be­hav­ior of the po­lit­i­cal lead­ers. If we study the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion and per­for­mance of the po­lit­i­cal lead­ers for last 25 years, we can get clear sce­nario that how the democ­racy was ru­ined! In con­clu­sion, by con­sid­er­ing the geo-po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion of the na­tion, in­stead of mov­ing to­wards a new ex­per­i­ment, with­out any hes­i­ta­tion, we should re­turn to the 1990 con­sti­tu­tion by giv­ing space to all the stake­hold­ers. Oth­er­wise, we will be invit­ing civil war and for­eign in­ter­ven­tion in fur­ther mas­sive level.

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