By D.M. Thapa
It is good that at least some local bodies now have elected individuals, though of course again the traditional political parties — the CPN (UML) and the Nepali Congress — have dominated the scenario. The thing is the representatives of these parties are no better than the bureaucrats who were holding the fort as the local level elections could not be held.
Both the above mentioned parties along with Maoists are infamous for their corrupt ways so how can their representatives in the local bodies be different? That is something for the local people to worry about. Specially now, when much autonomy has been given to the local bodies by the constitution and much bigger budgets are going to be allotted, it is sure the corruption rate will become higher.
The local bodies have not had clean image from the time they were formed, now with corruption being practiced by virtually all political leaders those who thump their chest by saying they were elected by the people are going to be further encouraged in swindling the people and misusing public funds.
Apart from the expectation of high level of corruption, another thing is the serious antagonism among political party members, including the UML which has won most seats in this first phase of local elections. The other thing is the glaring inefficiency of the Election Commission, which constantly bowed its trumpet by stating it was fully prepared for the elections but which could not even declare the results in such an easy and accessible place like Kathmandu for many days.
First to start with the UML, in the Ward which I stay in Kathmandu, eight individuals were vying for the post of Ward Chairman from the UML party, but naturally only one person was chosen and he lost to an unknown candidate because the others belonging to his own party did not vote for him. It reminded me of the days when late Krishna Prasad Bhattarai who was at the peak of his political career and it was predicted that he would surely win in the general election and become the prime minister, but he was surprisingly defeated. It was later reported that it was his own party members did not vote for him.
Late Girija Prasad Koirala was the biggest orchestrator for Bhattarai’s defeat, not in one, but two general elections. Koirala was also very corrupt and he signed many agreements, both with India and the Indian backed political parties here, just to hang on to the post of prime minister. He stuck on even when he could not go to his office for even an hour and conducted cabinet meetings and other briefings from his official residence in Baluwatar. If so many Nepalese had not died and been displaced, it was almost laughable when the then UML prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal proposed Koirala’s name for the Nobel Peace prize.
But no journalists ever mention that though it was Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the present prime minister and BaburamBhattarwho started the crazy people’s war, it was Girija who fuelled it further. Actually Girija was supposed to be in prison for all the corruption that took place when he was prime minister and he became the prime minister of the country many times. His daughter Sujata, who was married to a German, was even more corrupt. Dahal and Bhattarai had to be sent to the International Criminal Court for the gross human rights violation that took place during the civil war that took place for ten years in Nepal. These two should have been put in jail with many of their followers, not made prime ministers or ministers.
Alarmingly, if Dahal steps down as the prime minister, the nation would suffer more, This is because Deuba is not only corrupt but forget being visionary, he is also one of the most inept politicians. These political leaders, also that of RPP which has tried to cash in the name of monarchy and Hinduism, are really a curse for the once peaceful Nepal, which was developing at its own pace.
The Westerners and India have corrupted our political leaders, bureaucrats, the so called civil society leaders and media persons and telescoped events at too fast a pace. That has already happened so we have to learn to live with it or flee the country and go abroad where ever it is.
Now to come back to the recently held local elections in the newly made three provinces, the scenario still looks dismal. But it definitely seems the UML has been able to gain much ground and it could continue this momentum not only in the second phase of local elections but in the general election too. That is whenever those elections take place. For now, all we ordinary public can hope is that the elected persons work for the people and not for partisan or public interests.