• Tuesday 20th August 2019

Political Parties and Nepal

  • Published on: December 19, 2018

  • When a political scientist bemoaned the dominance of political parties that successfully overthrow the established order and inherited government wishing that they reorganized and regrouped into program based parties, he was talking sense. The legitimacy the success of the overthrow provides, gives such transcending parties predominance over any other grouping or party that may emerge allowing the leadership the will to ride over the opposition with the credence of having thrown an established order and cashing in on their leadership. It is such leadership that ultimately claims inheritance of the new order of things tempting them with the sense of their new legitimacy to ignore the essence of democracy and opposition politics. Nepal is no different. There is no doubt that the Nepali Congress led the movement for democracy in Nepal. Its success overshadowed previous anti-Rana movements such as that led by the Praja Parishad whose leadership had languished in jail. Just as the Congress cashed into the Praja Parishad by allowing its revolution to be nominally led by Tanka Prasad Acharya from jail it sought to monopolize the credit for the success of the movement by, later, belittling both Tanka Prasad and the ‘living martyr’ Ram Hari Sharma whose Praja Parishad was never accommodated in the post-revolution Congress. Indeed, the Congress centered politics after the revolution not only shunned king Tribhuvan’s seminal role in building both the Nepali Congress and the Praja Parishad which still remains hidden in Nepali politics but it also ignored the roles of the Ranas who sided the king in bringing about the success of the revolution. As it is, schisms within the Rana family had virtually isolated the ruling branch as a result of which loyalty to the monarchy for the opposing Ranas remained the only viable option as distinct from joining the Nepali Congress. It is an open fact that the role of the fledgling communist party in the 1950 movement remains hard to trace still.
    Just as king Mahendra’s 1960 ‘coup’ refocused the change hence on the Monarchy which had to cushion the organized partisan onslaught of opposition politics since, the role of other ‘democrats’ who remained within the country demanding the party system remains minimized after the successful overthrow of the panchayat in 1990. That watershed year allowed the communists to assert their role in the change and claim laurels in power shared by the Congress. The following two decades saw the Maoists ride into town at the behest of the UML and the Congress and it is the three who have dominated the scene since. None are asking, however, how the three could wreak the change and monopolize power since without a single change in their party statute. Whatever change in party documents were made, all three did so after they brought about the change. So much speaks for democracy in these parties and commitment to party statute. The current in-party shenanigans on statutes, not surprisingly, remain still for public consumption. Neither the NCP nor the Congress afford the public a display of hard-tack policy options nor do they so far assure the public of any commitment to their statutes. Yet, the media overload on the party meetings is made as if there is much change forthcoming. If it is, it is merely on paper until hard-tack policies ensue behaviorally. Thus, no party seems willing nor compelled to do this. The awareness is that there is no accountability in politics and so how can we even hope for change emanating from these meets?


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