Now, Leftists' Time to Act

People's Review - - LEADER - BY P. KHAREL

Fi­nally, the time of reck­on­ing has ar­rived for the Left Al­liance. With the CPN (UML)-Maoist Cen­tre al­liance firmly in power, the Op­po­si­tion with Nepali Congress at the fore­front is set to play spoil­sport or lay­ing down its bar­gain­ing chips be­hind the scene. The rul­ing part­ners had a bit­ter fore­taste of the type of pol­i­tics headed for un­fold­ing. Out­go­ing Prime Min­is­ter Sher Ba­hadur Deuba be­trayed his frus­tra­tions over hav­ing to hand over the reins of gover­nance to his arch-op­po­nent K.P. Oli, chief of the CPN (UML). Oli out­shone the Nepali Congress pres­i­dent and out­go­ing premier who mis­er­ably failed to leave a good im­pres­sion upon even his party youth. Four-time Prime Min­is­ter, Deuba's des­per­a­tion was writ large on his face, words and ac­tions. Flout­ing the es­tab­lished prac­tices of democ­ra­cies where an out­go­ing gov­ern­ment re­frains from mak­ing ma­jor de­ci­sions un­less avoid­able and in­evitable, Deuba broke all norms and vainly tried jus­ti­fy­ing his ac­tions. He an­nounced pro­grammes that would cost the na­tional ex­che­quer scores of bil­lions of ru­pees. Deuba's brazen de­ci­sions and the sup­port of the cab­i­net, most of whose min­is­ters were ei­ther de­feated or did not con­test the last elections was the height of mis­de­meanour. DISGRACEFUL: In brief, dis­grace marked the change of guards be­tween Deuba and Oli, un­der­scor­ing the depth of undig­ni­fied bat­tle of words and per­ni­cious mea­sures in “lok­tantrik” Nepal. The air is choked with ex­ag­ger­ated claims and snide com­ments. Pre­dictably li­onised by party work­ers and equally be­rated by op­po­nents, Oli is at the cru­cial pe­riod of his­tory. The big Ques­tion is whether he has the ca­pac­ity and, more im­por­tantly, the back­bone to de­liver. Vo­cab­u­lary of re­sent­ment should not be re­sponded with ap­pease­ment. Hav­ing asked for a ma­jor­ity so that it could gov­ern for a full term of five years, the Left Al­liance has ob­tained a com­fort­able man­date. Much, how­ever, de­pends on how the gov­ern­ing part­ners main­tain in­traal­liance re­la­tions. This is not the first time a sin­gle group has won a ma­jor­ity in the pop­u­lar house, though the ma­jor­ity man­date did not pre­vent the ar­bi­trary call­ing of snap polls and party splits. Am­bi­tions run high among Nepali politi­cians, many of whom are found prone to fall­ing for car­rots dan­gled at them for short-term gains. Oli's Left Al­liance will be closely watched whether it de­parts from the du­bi­ous tra­di­tion of not com­plet­ing a full term or set the record of solid unity. For, there is no room for ex­cuses to split or fail to de­liver un­der a polity they claim to be its au­thors. Rare do we find a com­mu­nist ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ment in a mul­ti­party po­lit­i­cal sys­tem through gen­er­ally ac­cepted elec­toral mech­a­nism. The Nepali Leftists have ac­cepted po­lit­i­cal plu­ral­ism which its com­mu­nist men­tors abroad skirt like a plague. Here, the var­i­ous splin­ter com­mu­nist groups might work for com­mon ar­eas of agree­ment and join hands as a sin­gle group­ing. Should the Left Al­liance fail to de­liver even af­ter the much cov­eted ma­jor­ity, it could cause a se­ri­ous dent in its back­bone in fu­ture elec­toral pol­i­tics. First it will have to deal with hangar­son, dipped in greed, power, posts and priv­i­leges. Cronies cozy up to party lead­ers for at­trac­tive as­sign­ments and ap­proval of gov­ern­ment con­tracts with­out the prospect of cre­at­ing any im­pres­sive records or per­for­mance, though. PRI­OR­ITY: The new gov­ern­ment must be able to put the right peo­ple in the right posts if de­sir­able per­for­mance were to be ob­tained for real, and demon­strate the law of equal­ity in ap­pli­ca­tion. Check­ing the pre­vail­ing ram­pant cor­rup­tion from be­ing fedarlised and de­cen­tralised, ar­chaic laws should be scrapped. Timely and ef­fec­tive mea­sures are called for to plug the loop­holes that the new rul­ing team, too, had mis­used for own nar­row pur­poses so of­ten and ex­ten­sively in the past. The last 25 years have pro­duced far more wealthy lead­ers than dur­ing the three decades of party­less pan­chayat. Prej­u­dices will be pro­moted and in­equal­ity spread wider if no check is con­ducted as per the ex­ist­ing law. Ex­ces­sively rich lead­ers in a pover­tys­tricken coun­try are an anom­aly to any func­tion­ing democ­racy. Cor­rup­tion, not merit, cre­ates such sor­did sit­u­a­tion. In­flu­ence ped­dling, open bribery from even party mem­bers and pub­lic posts auc­tioned off for per­sonal gains cre­ate havoc in the eyes of rule of law and good gover­nance. For the stan­dards of Nepali politi­cians in power, the ex­act­ing reg­i­men for gover­nance in­cludes anti-cor­rup­tion mea­sures, trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity. This is a hard sell but with­out which, good gover­nance in this coun­try will fail to be even a dream. One shud­ders to think of what the con­se­quences might then be. Youth's dis­tate for the sta­tus quo is un­der­stand­able and some­thing to be feared, given the un­pre­ductable con­se­quences it can trig­ger in a so­ci­ety mired by un­scrupu­lus politi­cians who give the law shirt shrift as and when they can. The Left al­liance be­gins a heady launch. Next year this time, things should crys­tallise as to the mode and meth­ods em­ployed by the new set of rulers whose past is ba­si­cally du­bi­ous, whose prom­ises lofty. Its per­for­mance will be the pud­ding be­fore the pub­lic for taste. For any failaure, you can't blame the con­sti­tu­tion you passed ba­si­cally all on your own.

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