BY D. M. THAPA
The nation is in disarray. According to reports, the government is also not doing too well. But, what we call the oldest political party of the country, the Nepali Congress, seems to be in a huge, huge crisis as well.
There are groups, sub groups and individuals, who all have their own thing to say, and though it is the main opposition party now, the only thing it has been able to do is criticize the government with no solutions of their own. This is a depressing scenario in the political history of Nepal.
Not that the Nepali Congress was a united party back in the time when it fought for democracy against the autocratic Rana regime. It had splintered as soon as democracy was introduced and it became weaker and weaker as the days went by. Only the shrewd political acumen of late B.P. Kpoirala could hold together the party, until the panchayat system was introduced by late King Mahendra.
But after the establishment of multiparty political system once more in 1990, this party became more weaker with stalwarts like Ganesh Man Singh leaving the party and also Krishna Prasad Bhattarai distancing himself from the party of which he was a founder member.
Even BP Koirala had little trust in his younger brother late Girija Prasad Koirala, but by sheer luck and a lot of political manipulations, he became the Prime Minister of the nation, and that was when the nation started its downward slide and the Nepali Congress too suffered.
Ganesh Man Singh, not only the founding member of the party, but also the leader of the entire political revolution of 1990, was shunted aside and though he was given the name of the “Iron Man” of the movement, it was Girija who cunningly outwitted him, This was all because twelve Brahmins were made ambassadors, but not even one Newar. Forget inclusiveness at that time. When Ganesh Man Singh protested, he was made an outcast. Even foreigners were astonished and one of them had asked a good friend of mine whether this was a political war or something dealing with casteism. According to my friend, the few other journalist replied that it was a political war, but when his turn came he said, ‘of course this is casteism”. The man turned blue in his face, but fortunately he got the message and later told my friend when he met him at another cocktail party, how the Brahamins collected in his house had turned red at my friend’s reply! But like it or not, that is the real story and Koirala started the trend of nepotism and more so corruption. It is not for nothing that Nepal is now under a cloud of such a network of nepotism and corruption as well. It is bad to lambast any person who has left this world, but late Koirala definitely is one person who was instrumental in the destruction of Nepal. We are seeing some results, but the worst is to come yet.
Now to come back to the Nepali Congress, there is no doubt that Girija started the trend, but the current president of the party Sher Bahadur Deuba, has been no better. Likr the communist parties went their different ways in the past, the Nepali Congress also seems to be on a verge of yet another split. While late Ganesh Man Singh and late Krishna Prasad Bhattarai had the dignity of leaving the party on their own, Sher Bahadur Deuba was the fellow who formed his own party and gave a kick to late Girija, who had groomed him and made him a powerful minister in his cabinet. It is another story that Girija himself played fowl and was instrumental in forcing Sher Bahadur to resign when he became the prime minister for the first time.
To go back in time, Ganesh Man, who led the political revolution in 1990, was furious when Girija appointed twelve Brahmins as ambassadors. One journalist friend confided with this author how a powerful American diplomat was interested in this issue. So, as he told me, he invited about a dozen journalists to his house and asked them about this tussle between Ganesh Man and Girija. As most of the journalists were Brahmins, they only said it was a political struggle, but my friend said it was a racial conflict between the two. The diplomat was impressed by my friend’s answer and he praised him when they met some days later in another diplomatic party. This is exactly how the then Maoists and their foreign funders began social disharmony, in the name of providing equality to the “marginalized” citizens. In some ways, this was “affirmative action”, but the intentions were not really good.
Has anyone bothered to get any statistics on who have been mostly found guilty of corruption? You can read any newspaper and see that most are Brahmins or Madhesis. But of course the entire right groups which preach to the people, the police, and the bureaucrats are dominated by these people, who think about caste first and the nation later on.
It is no different in the Nepali Congress or other political parties, though they south relentlessly of equality and inclusiveness. Now the Nepali Congress is also in deep crisis due to confrontations among the “elitists” who rule the party. This is a disgrace to not only the country’s oldest political party, but also to the foreign powers and their agents in Nepal, who constantly talk of equality, human rights and the progress of the marginalized sector.
So, even if this government is changed, what can we expect from a party like the Nepali Congress and the individuals who lead it?