Struc­tural? No, Func­tional

People's Review - - LEADER -

For­mer prime min­is­ter Sher Ba­hadur Deuba, as leader of the cur­rent Nepali Congress party, the largest party in par­lia­ment, is in a way, men­tor of the in­cum­bent prime min­is­ter, Pushpa Ka­mal Da­hal, since it is with the Congress back­ing that Da­hal top­pled the UML govern­ment and elected him­self to govern­ment. Deuba now tells his sum­moned con­fer­ence of party dis­trict au­thor­i­ties that promised elec­tions to the lo­cal lev­els, al­ready nearly two decades va­cant in our democ­racy, can only take place un­der pro­vi­sions of the 1990 lo­cal units and not un­der that en­vis­aged by the cur­rent con­sti­tu­tion if it is to take place im­mi­nently. Per­haps more im­por­tantly, his is the first of­fi­cial cri­tique of the en­vis­aged lo­cal struc­tures un­der the new con­sti­tu­tion when he says that the con­cept clus­ter­ing old vil­lage as­sem­blies into some five hun­dred ‘Gaon Pa­likas’ is im­prac­ti­cal since, even un­der the pre­vi­ous dis­pen­sa­tions, many vil­lage of­fices took days to reach for the man in the vil­lage be­cause of our real ter­rain . If this is the of­fi­cial party line, as one would pre­sume it is since he leads the party even in par­lia­ment, and since his party pro­vides the ma­jor­ity for prime min­is­ter ‘Prachanda’ in par­lia­ment, the state­ment sug­gests that it is the first of­fi­cial ac­knowl­edge­ment that pro­ce­dural dif­fi­cul­ties will pre­vent the hold­ing of lo­cal level elec­tions un­der the cur­rently en­vis­aged lo­cal com­po­nents of the coun­try. Fur­ther­more it is the first of­fi­cial ad­mis­sion that the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion of lo­cal struc­tures as cur­rently be­ing en­vis­aged may be im­prac­ti­cal. This is re­gard­less of the fact that the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion of the vil­lage and mu­nic­i­pal struc­tures has had no pub­lic ex­pla­na­tions, no pub­lic dis­cus­sions and thus vir­tu­ally no pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion ex­cept from that which em­anates as party and govern­ment de­crees. This mas­sive er­ror in na­tional re­or­ga­ni­za­tion is akin to the dis­as­ter in uni­lat­er­ally de­cree­ing that the coun­try shall take a fed­er­ated shape in the con­sti­tu­tion which led to the tarai move­ment and con­trib­utes to the cur­rent crises in im­ple­ment­ing the con­sti­tu­tion on grounds of what ge­o­graph­i­cal de­lin­eations would com­pose the new fed­er­a­tion. When push comes to shove, it is the peo­ple that are af­fected by such struc­tural in­no­va­tions and, when their par­tic­i­pa­tion is lim­ited to en­dors­ing ar­bi­trar­ily de­lin­eated map­ping, the peo­ple do ask ques­tions of them­selves. The tragedy of Nepali con­sti­tu­tion mak­ing on the other hand is that the very party that is ask­ing at this stage the prac­ti­cal­ity of remap­ping the lo­cal lev­els has only just con­ducted its stu­dent body polls, again much de­layed, post­poned and, at times, scratched, on the pre­sumed re­gional changes pre­scribed by the new con­sti­tu­tion which is so vig­or­ously op­posed in par­lia­ment and out­side jeop­ar­diz­ing the con­sti­tu­tion it­self. The very pre­sump­tion that struc­tural tam­per­ing will re­move Nepal’s un­der devel­op­ment, it must be stressed here, ig­nores fun­da­men­tal an­a­lyt­i­cal tools. When looked at with the ap­proach of struc­tural/func­tional anal­y­sis Nepali pol­i­tics must find fault in the man­ner of po­lit­i­cal func­tions and not the man­ner of po­lit­i­cal struc­tures. It is good pol­i­tics per­haps to in­sist on struc­tural changes since it cov­ers up the mas­sive gaps in po­lit­i­cal func­tion­ing. How­ever, any amount of struc­tural tam­per­ing can do lit­tle to cor­rect the im­per­ti­nence in po­lit­i­cal be­hav­ior and that is fi­nal.

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