Friday, August 31, 2012

Parties And Perverted Politics

Yuba Nath Lamsal
If the developments over the last six years since the peace process began are any indication, Nepal’s politics has touched the rock bottom from the standpoint of political ethic and culture. By all standards, we can arrive at a conclusion that the contemporary politics of Nepal can be best described as a perverted exercise under the fa├žade of democracy and peace process. The country has continuously fallen into the trap of constitutional, political and ethical crises one after another—the possible syndromes of a failed state—which Nepal may not be able to avoid if these trends continue unabated for another couple of years.
The peace process that began after the singing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2006 definitely heralded a new era in Nepal’s political history—not because it simply marked an end to a decade long violent conflict between the state and the insurgent Maoist guerillas and provided a dawn of hope for peaceful politics. It is because the stakeholders of Nepal’s peace process, some consciously and some under compulsion, reached to the root of all conflicts and expressed readiness to address all the discords and disgruntlements subsisting in the society. The CPA came in the form of an assorted prescription of all the ills that the country suffered for years and decades.
The process began from the political nadir and looked for a journey to the zenith. As they say ‘the road to hell, too, is paved with good intention’, the beginning of the peace process was definitely noble. Everyone was elated and the people cheered at home and on the streets when the accord was signed that brought the insurgent Maoists to peaceful mainstream. However, things did not move in a way people had expected. No sooner the CPA was signed, and then the devil crept into the mind of leaders of political parties, who then started calculating their partisan gains out of the new political arrangement. In the frontline were Girija Prasad Koirala, who was the prime minister, and Prachanda—the charismatic guerilla leader. In the political tactics, Prachanda outmaneuvered Koirala, who had earlier been known as the shrewdest political player of contemporary Nepal. There were obvious reasons behind this situation which compelled Koirala to make compromises on certain issues. In the first place, this was Koirala’s last stint as a country’s executive chief, whose responsibility was to transform Nepal into a peaceful democracy, under any circumstances. His sole objective was to bring the Maoists into the peaceful political mainstream and establish himself as a country’s savior. Moreover, he had the challenge to mend his earlier image of hardliner anti-communist and prove himself as a liberal and democratic statesman, for which he gambled and risked his long political career. And he partially succeeded as he accommodated all forces of the country, on the one hand and commanded huge trust and respect from the entire international community, on the other. He was accepted as a leader and savior not only by his own Congress cadres but by all including communists, royalists and rightists. But his ability to maneuver slowly diminished after he assumed the premiership following the success of Jana Andolan II.  Prachanda emerged more tactical and shrewd in political maneuvering. 
With the initiation of the peace process right from the time when the 12-point agreement was signed, a new spirit of consensus and cooperative politics had dawned in Nepal. Started with the 12-point agreement, the cooperative politics developed into a joint Jana Andolan of 2005-06 and the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and culminated in the constituent assembly election. Although some signs of fractures and fissures had surfaced right from the beginning of the peace process, the chasm became more visible after the dates of the election to the constituent assembly were declared. The parties appeared suspicious with one another especially the Nepali Congress and the UCPN-Maoist on the possible position in post election politics. The confidence of the parties about the election results was shaky but they wanted to be in a better position by any means. Every party wanted the election to be held at their favorable time and condition. The only hope for the Nepali Congress to be in the better position in the election was its dominant role in the government as Congress chief GP Koirala was the Prime Minister. The Maoists, too, were not confident of their electoral victory and similar case was with the CPN-UML. This was the reason why the election as postponed twice. But each of the three main parties was hopeful of better position.
However, the election results came as a surprise to all and shock to the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML. Earlier projected as the winners or front runners, the Congress and the CPN-UML trailed poorly in the second and the third place. The Maoists emerged as the largest party. In the first-past- the post system, the Maoists had won simple majority—121 out of 240. The Maoists failed to secure majority because of the proportionate representation system, the system which the Maoists had vigorously pushed for, whereas other parties were against it. It is ironical to note here the fact that those who advocated the proportionate electoral system suffered and those who opposed it benefited. Had the electoral system been fully majoritarian, the Maoists would have emerged as the clear-cut winner with comfortable majority in the Constituent Assembly. The Maoists were short of majority only because of the proportionate system of election. Paradoxically, the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML benefited due to the proportionate system, which they had earlier opposed. In the 240 seats under first-past-the post system the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML had won only 36 and 32 seats respectively. Their position slightly improved due to proportionate system. If the electoral system proposed and championed by the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML had been accepted and adopted, their position would have been further marginalized. More surprising was the electoral position of the Madhesi parties, which, put together, emerged as the fourth force in Nepal’s political scene. Earlier, the mainstream parties had underestimated the Madhesi parties and they did not take them seriously. But the position of the Madhesi parties in the Constituent Assembly definitely changed the entire political equation of the country, which shocked all including the Maoists, Congress and the CPN-UML.
Had the Congress and the CPN-UML got even a slightest idea of such a shocking result, they would never have allowed the election to be held. The unexpected post-election scenario created more fissures among the parties and the politics of mistrust and intrigue began among the parties, which served a blow to the politics of consensus. This was the beginning of the political deadlock and instability in the country which continues even today. Although the Constituent Assembly election was a historic achievement in Nepal’s politics, the composition of the Assembly was a bane for Nepal, which is the prime reason behind its failure and also the cause of present political crisis.
Now the country is in the worst political crisis due mainly to the lack of vision, lack of democratic culture and lack of ethical politics. The much hyped peace process that began with the politics of consensus is, now, in limbo that has instilled a height of apathy and frustration in the mind of the people. This situation arose due mainly to parties’ decision to deviate from the politics of consensus that began right after the Constituent Assembly election.
Now the country and the people are not the subject of concern for the political parties and their leaders. What have concerned them are power, position and property. The goal and objective of parties and leaders are to go to power, cling onto it and amass property, through both legal and illegal means. As a result, the governance and the rule of law have been a political parody marked by rampant corruption, abuse of authority and a height of political deceit and duplicity.  The country is in the lurch of shameful political crisis one after another.
 In this fight for survival, parties are resorting to all measures and tactics, both moral and otherwise, which have cost the country and democratic functionary dearly. The political developments and rhetoric of the leaders that we have seen and heard over the last five years seem to have defied all universally accepted logics of democracy and political culture. This situation only leads the country towards more political danger, disaster and perversion, which must be averted at the earliest. As the parties are in the cockpit of politics, they have the responsibility to find a solution—a solution that is logical, rational and acceptable to the people— to steer the country out of the present perverted politics.

Nepal and non-aligned movement

Yuba Nath Lamsal
The 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement has kicked off in Tehran, capital of Iran in which the heads of state and government of the 120-member organization are scrambling to tell their own prescriptions for the problems facing the world at present. Now Iran has taken over the mantle of rotating presidency of the non-aligned movement or the NAM, the largest international organization only next to the United Nations. Egypt had assumed the presidency of the non-aligned movement since 2009 when the 15th NAM Summit had been held.
The 16th Summit of the non-aligned movement was successfully held in Teheran, Iran, which is being dubbed as a diplomatic victory of Iran. This is so because some powerful countries especially the United States and Israel had been vigorously trying to discourage the world leaders from attending the summit to be held in Tehran. The non-aligned countries simply ignored the call of boycotting the Teheran Summit of the non-aligned movement and attended the conclave, which has not only boosted the diplomatic morale of Tehran but has also saved the non-aligned movement. The summit is definitely important for Iran because Teheran, as the president of the organization, has got the opportunity to lead such a big international organization for the next two years and use this forum for the best interest of the NAM members including Iran.
The non-aligned movement was initiated more than six decades ago as a loose alliance of newly independent countries of the Third World with their resolve not to align with any of the two power blocs dominated by two superpowers of the Cold War era.  In addition to this, the core objectives and goals of the non-aligned movement were to foster greater cooperation not only among the countries of the developing world but also seek assistance, sympathy and goodwill from both of the two blocs—the United States and its allies as well as the Soviet Union and Warsa Pact countries. The NAM became an international symbol for national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and their struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics. With its lofty goals and firm stance for the cause of the developing countries, its popularity soon rose and became a center of attraction for the Third World countries. Started with only 21 countries, the NAM has grown as an organization of 120 countries, which in itself is the manifestation of its popularity.
With the end of the Cold War and bipolar world, some have now started raising the question about the validity of the NAM. According to them, the NAM was relevant as long as two power blocs existed and in the present unipolar world, validity of non-aligned movement is over. In fact, the relevance of the NAM is equally valid as it used to be during the Cold War. The objective of the NAM is not merely to refrain from siding with the superpowers.  The fundamental objectives and ideals of the NAM are five-principles of peaceful co-existence, which have become the lingua franca of the international relations and diplomacy. Thus, the non-aligned movement has, thus, not lost its relevance. Instead its necessity is more pronounced in the present crisis ridden world and it is the responsibility of the non-aligned members to act more vigorously in order to prove the world of the NAM.
The world has undergone a sea change in the last five decade. With the tremendous advancements in the field of science and technology in general and information technology in particular, the world has become a narrow global village. But the basic structure in the Third World and superstructure of the world continue to remain as they were five decades ago. The world continues to be divided between haves and have-nots, between the rulers and the ruled, between the exploiters and the exploited, between the oppressors and oppressed and between the owners and the workers.
There was and is a huge expectation from the non-aligned movement. It is true that the NAM has not fully lived up to popular expectations. But it would be injustice and unwise to dismiss the achievements and gains the NAM has made in the international politics and international relations. In the journey of 51 years, the non-aligned movement has definitely achieved some significant gains. We cannot imagine how the world would have become in the absence of the non-aligned movement especially during the height of the Cold War, which must be taken into cognizant while making evaluation and judgment on its performance. But the non-aligned movement has a lot more to accomplish in fully realizing its noble causes and our common goals of peace, justice and democracy.
Against this background, the 16th NAM summit is being held. The pressing issues that leaders of the non-aligned countries have raised and discussed with more weight and prominence include the matters of international developments ranging from violence and crisis in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Iran's nuclear program, climate change and widening economic, cultural and technological divide and gap between the rich North and poor South. If NAM has to be revitalized, the organization needs to be reoriented and refocused on issues confronting the world.
So far as Nepal is concerned, it is part of this movement and has been actively taking part in all forums of the non-aligned movement right from the Bangdung conference in 1955, which was the precursor of the NAM. Nepal has always championed and defended the core values of the non-aligned movement. Nepal as an active member of the NAM has robustly contributed in all its Summit meetings and other forums since its foundation with the objective of giving vitality to this organization. It is matter of  pleasure for Nepalese people to note that the non-aligned movement has grown as a robust and representative body. Nepal and Nepalese people want revitalization of the non-aligned movement to achieve its lofty goals in the present world. Nepalese know the value of peace more than others because we, at present, are in the process of institutionalizing peace. We are now in the process of evolving a new political, economic, social, cultural and administrative mechanism which would ensure equal and equitable representation of all people in all levels of administration and decision-making process. The principles of NAM have provided us the guidelines in our efforts to achieve and institutionalize peace in our country. Nepal should, therefore, play active part to make its presence felt in the international forums like the NAM. However, Nepal’s diplomatic maneuvering appears to be weak in recent years which have tarnished our image in the international arena.
When Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai attended the UN conclave on sustainable development in Brazil, he must have realized how our diplomats are ineffective and incompetent. Prime Minister Bhattarai was effortful in meeting with the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao but our diplomats both in Beijing and Brazil utterly failed to arrange the appointment with the Chinese leader. While our diplomats failed to arrange a meeting between Prime Minister Dr Bhattarai and Chinese Prime Minister, our small neighbor Bhutan, which even does not have diplomatic relationship with China, got adequate time of Chinese Premier and discussed at length the issues of their mutual concerns and interests.
The inability of Nepalese diplomatic channel to arrange an appointment with an immediate neighbor in Brazil is shameful. This is just an example that represents overall performance of our diplomacy. There are a number of instances and incidents which are evident of Nepal’s weak diplomatic handling. It is not that Nepal lacks competent and professional diplomats but unnecessary political interference in the diplomatic affairs has taken its toll. Only recently, Nepal’s ambassador to the United Nations was chosen by the secretary general of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon to the coveted position of the UN body. This speaks of the fact that we have competent diplomats and they can handle the affairs more successfully and effectively if they were given the opportunity to perform. But there are some diplomats who do not have basic ability to accomplish diplomatic duty. This should serve a glaring lesson for Nepal to reorient and reshaping its policies so that Nepal’s diplomacy becomes stronger and more effective to cope with the newer challenges that have emerged in the international arena.
As per the practice, Prime Minister Bhattarai has taken part in the non-aligned summit in Teheran, Iran, which is an opportunity for Nepal to demonstrate its diplomatic acumen. However, Nepal’s presence and voice was not as effective as it used to be in the past. This shows that Nepal’s diplomatic maneuvering is slowly diminishing that makes our voice in the international arena feeble and less effective. When country’s diplomatic maneuvering capability weakens, it is obvious that the international community listens with lesser worth, which must be taken with utmost seriousness by those who are in the helms of foreign policy.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Yet another reaffirmation for advancing Nepal-China ties

Yuba Nath Lamsal
A senior Chinese official recently visited Nepal after wrapping up visit to Bhutan. In Thimpu, vice foreign minister Fu Ying discussed with Bhutanese leaders and officials the issue concerning establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Bhutan and consequently open Chinese mission in Thimpu.  This was, therefore, an important trip by Chinese leader as China and Bhutan are now seriously and closely working out formally establishing diplomatic ties and cooperating on various fields of mutual interests. This trip marks paradigm shift in Bhutan’s foreign policy as, once they establish diplomatic relations with China and open missions, Bhutan will practically come out of the influence and domination of Indian in Thimpu’s foreign and defence policy. Also it would herald yet another turning point in the economic development of Bhutan as China would come up with significant and sizable chunk of foreign assistance. China, too, is definitely likely to benefit from diplomatic, strategic and economic point of views. Like Nepal, Bhutan is also a close neighbor of China and an important opening for its trade with South Asia. But China has not always considered its economic benefit as its foreign policy priority. As China has now emerged as a global economic power, Beijing has felt its international obligation. Its development and economic miracle would be meaningless when its neighbors remain in the state of backwardness. Nepal and Bhutan are the least developed countries whose level of development is below world’s average. Beijing has, thus, felt necessary to help these two countries in their prosperity. Taking into account the purpose and goal of the visit, the trip of Chinese leader was very significant from the regional security, strategic and diplomatic perspective.
Similarly, Chinese vice foreign minister arrived in Kathmandu to discuss with the Nepalese leaders and officials on varieties of issues concerning bilateral ties, economic and trade cooperation as well as Chinese investment in Nepal’s infrastructure development projects. Apart from meeting and discussing with Nepalese leaders and officials on whole gamut of bilateral relations and cooperation, Ying led the Chinese delegation in the Nepal-China Consultative Mechanism, a bilateral forum for cooperation, the meeting of which is held in every four years in either in Beijing or Kathmandu in an alternative way. In this forum, issues concerning economic cooperation, trade ties and other matters of bilateral concern are discussed in a thorough and comprehensive manner and address them accordingly.
The visit of the Chinese vice-minister was significant for Nepal, too because this was an opportunity to review and renews the matters concerning bilateral relations and cooperation. More particularly, the Chinese high level delegation reviewed the status of agreements reached between Nepal and China during the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The visit has, thus, contributed in further cementing the bilateral relations and probing new areas of cooperation between the two close neighbours.
Nepal and China are close neighbors and friends in need. Both of these two countries have acted strictly in conformity with mutual equality, good neighborliness and five principles of peaceful co-existence, which are the basis of foreign policy formulation and conduct of both Nepal and China. Nepal is always committed to its one-China policy and considers Tibet, Taiwan as integral par t of China, which has been duly appreciated by Beijing. Nepal always wants territorial integrity of China and does not allow any kind of activities that may harm China’s territorial integrity and its overall interest. Similarly, China, too, is supporting Nepal in every sector ranging from infrastructural development to educational, cultural and economic and trade development. Recently, Nepal is political transition and is in the process of establishing sustainable peace. China has also shown keen interest in supporting in the peace process so that stability would dawn in Nepal which China considers the most essential prerequisite for economic development and prosperity.
China’s support to peace process does not mean Beijing has any interest in Nepal’s internal political affairs. China believes that it is the right of the people of Nepal to decide and choose their political system and government. Thus, China does not have any favorite political force in Nepal. Beijing treats and respects all political parties and forces of Nepal in equal terms and manner. China wants Nepali people to handle their own affairs and opposes any kind of external interference and meddling. However, some external forces, overtly and covertly, tend to interfere in Nepal’s internal affairs. This has concerned China in recent days. As a close neighbor of Nepal and a global power, it is natural for Beijing to be concerned in the development sin its neighborhood.
In the present globalised context when the world has been reduced to a narrow small global village, the events and developments in one country have impact on other countries. The developments that unfold in Nepal definitely make some both positive and negative impact on other countries particularly our immediate neighbours - China and India. Instability in Nepal is bound to have its negative impact in its neighbors including China and India. Thus, China wants to make sure that Nepal is peaceful, stable and economically self-reliant country. In such a situation, the concerns of a neighbor can well be justified. Despite its deep concerns over the affairs of Nepal, Beijing always refrains and has refrained to poke nose in Nepal’s internal affairs. But it has given a loud and clear message time and again that Beijing would not tolerate if sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbor ever come under threat under whatever pretext. This is a warning to those forces and elements which are trying to meddle in Nepal’s internal affairs and politics.
China has made tremendous progress on the economic front and wants similar progress and development in its neighborhood. Guided by this noble idea, China has been more forthcoming to invest and help Nepal. Beijing has thus shown interest in investing in Nepal’s infrastructure, energy, communication and tourism sector, which would ultimately contribute to lifting the people of Nepal out of poverty and backwardness. This message has been conveyed by the Chinese leaders time and again. However, Nepal seems not to have taken up this issue with great seriousness. Already a second largest and fastest growing economy, China wants to make significant contribution to the development of Nepal. However, Nepal has not been able to take maximum benefit out of this generous attitude of China.
Nepal, currently, is suffering from an acute power crunch. China has shown interest in investing in Nepal’s water resource and hydro-power development. China has money, expertise, capability and experience in hydro-power development in a difficult terrain like that of Nepal. If we are able to win the trust of China, we can bring huge Chinese investment and develop some mega hydro-power projects through which Nepal can not only be self-sufficient in energy but also earn huge foreign currency by exporting surplus electricity.
South Asia is suffering from a power shortfall, and other countries of the region, including India, may be willing to buy Nepal’s electricity. This would also help meet the growing power demand in India and other South Asian countries, which would be beneficial for both Nepal and other countries in the region.
But Nepal does not have a specific China policy to win the trust of Beijing. Although not spelt out specifically, there has been a deficit of trust due mainly to Nepal’s wavering foreign policy priority and unnecessary tilt to a particular country. Nepal considers China as a neighbor like any other country in Asia. In fact, this cannot be an appropriate foreign policy for Nepal. China and India are our two immediate neighbours, with whom Nepal shares a border, history, culture, religion and a long legacy of trade and friendship.
These two countries should occupy special priority and place in our foreign policy formulation. China is more important especially when it comes to Nepal’s survival strategy. China has never been a security problem for Nepal. Instead there are instances that China has come to Nepal’s rescue at difficult periods in history. Moreover, Nepal’s relationship with China is as old as our ancient civilization. Thus, China is and should be an important country for Nepal from which we can learn and benefit a lot.
It is not only with Nepal, China wants greater cooperation with the entire South Asia. It is against this background, China has entered the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).  So far China is an observer in the SAARC. But it is seeking the status of a dialogue partner or SAARC-plus one. In fact, China is both an East Asian as well as South Asian country. It has border with five of the eight SAARC countries. Given this position, it would be in the interest of South Asia to grant full status to China in the SAARC so that the South Asian forum would be more resourceful and representative as an organization of more than two billion people. The recent visit of the Chinese vice minister to Thimpu and Nepal can be viewed from this perspective.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Valueless Politics, Visionless Leaders

Yuba Nath Lamsal
If we look at the behavior of the political parties and overtures of the leaders, we reach an easy conclusion that our leaders and parties have not yet come of the age. The political leaders often make immature and sometimes ambiguous statements that provide sufficient ground for the critics to arrive at the conclusion that people who are currently t the political helms of affairs in Nepal are just political upstarts but not leaders. It may take years for them to get maturity and, some of them, perhaps, may never attaint that level. Unless someone attains full maturity, he/she can by no means be called a leader, not to talk of the statesman.
Mature leaders and statesmen have certain vision, ideological clarity and set goals that make him/her different from the rest of others in the flock of political movers and shakers. In the absence of mature leaders and visionary statesmen, country’s politics remain embroiled in confusion, uncertainty and chaos. The chaotic atmosphere only provides ground to crooks, scoundrels and criminals to reap benefits. In such a situation, honest and genuine political activists and leaders are often pushed to oblivion and their role is always underestimated and undermined.
Politics is an art of statecraft which should ensure a better governance, better delivery of goods and better law and order through which politicians, leaders and parties win trust of the people in a massive way. Politics is the engine that pulls the country towards right direction—the direction of peace, stability and prosperity. In the driving seats are always the politicians whose role and responsibility is to take the vehicle of the country to a safe and appropriate direction in which people feel safe, secure and relieved. If those in the driver’s seat are not well trained, well educated, well intentioned and do not have vision and orientation, they often meet with an accident which may claim lives of the passengers. The country is also like a vehicle and the people like passengers. The steering of the country is in the hands of leaders. If leaders are badly trained or untrained, the country may crash having disastrous impact on the life of the people.
We have political parties and we call top brass of these parties as our leaders. We have no choice other than trusting them. In a multi-party democracy, political parties are the key players. Although their performance is poor and their capability is below standard, we must trust them because seeking alternative to political parties would be yet another political disaster.
In way, we, too, may be responsible for the kind of leaders we have. ‘As are the people, so are the leaders’ goes the maxim. It is also the failure of people not to keep vigil on leaders and check them from going into wrong direction. Good leadership is all about making life of the people better. But it is exactly the reverse in the case of Nepal. But the paramount objective of the Nepali leaders is to grab power and retain it as long as possible. They would do everything possible by hook or by crook to cling onto power. Once they are in power, they think that they are in power forever. Being in power, their priorities change and immediately forget the people and their base from which they rose to power. While in power, their focus remains to amass wealth through any means—legal or otherwise. As a result, corruption becomes pervasive and good governance and service delivery remains only in rhetoric. The people suffer from bad governance, weak law and order and rampant corruption.
This is exactly the case in the present day Nepal. Corruption is rampant, delivery of service is poor, law and order is weak, inflation sky rocketed and hoarding and artificial scarcity of essential commodities is a daily phenomenon. This is what the people have got from their own elected government. This is not the case with any particular government but a general phenomenon of all governments that were formed after Nepal was declared a democratic republic.
It is not to say that there was good governance and good delivery of services in the past and things got worse only after Nepal was declared as a democratic republic following the success of the Jana Andolan II. The previous governments, too, were corrupt, inefficient and incompetent. It is intended to say that the governments in New Nepal should have been different from the governments of Old Nepal under monarchical regime.
Nepal is currently in political transition. All political transitions in the world are painful, which are often characterized by instability, uncertainty, weak law and order.  Scrupulous people always reap benefit from the uncertain state of the country during transition. This is not an isolated case of any particular country but and general tendency in all countries. All countries in the world that went through political transition had experienced similar situation. Thus, transition needs to be shortened as early as possible. Nepal’s present transition has been unnecessarily long which has cost the country very dearly. This transition should have been over two years ago. But transitions still continues and it is not yet certain when this transition would come to an end.
Nepal’s protracted transition, which is in place for more than six years, is due to either incompetence of the parties and leaders or their sheer unwillingness to end transition. Had the political parties and leaders were genuinely determined to end the transition and give the country a tangible outlet to the present political deadlock, the transition could have been ended long ago. It seems that parties are deliberately prolonging the transition because they are not sure about the post transition political course and their position in the national politics. The long-drawn-out political transition is, therefore, making of our political parties because they want to reap benefits from the transitional politics.
The transition would have come to an end if the Constituent Assembly had delivered a constitution in time. Unfortunately the Constituent Assembly failed miserably in its duty to give the country a new constitution in time. The failure and dissolution of the Constituent Assembly was carefully choreographed by political parties mainly the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML. This is because the political parties did not want constitution at all and they looked for a suitable excuse to let the Constituent Assembly die its natural death. In the first place, the constitution, if it had at been promulgated, would be a document of compromise, which would not be in their partisan interest. The parties had their different standings and views on several key issues concerning the constitution. If the constitution was to be promulgated, all parties would have to make compromise, which they did not want. If they had compromised on their core agenda, they will have no issue to go the people.
The Constituent Assembly, republican set up, secularism, federalism with ethnic identity and proportionate representation are the Maoist agenda. Other parties were of the view that promulgation of the new constitution would institutionalize these Maoist agendas which would further establish and popularize the UCPN-Maoist among the people. Moreover, the Congress and UML had serious differences with the Maoists on the governance and federalism model. Thus, they chose the harsh path that led to the demise of Constituent assembly. The UCPN-Maoist, too, was not enthusiastic in promulgating the new constitution because the statue that was to be promulgated would not be the ones they had wanted. Given the composition of Constituent Assembly and power equation, the Maoists would have to make compromise on some key issues it had raised. Instead of agreeing on the constitution that did not fully incorporate its agenda, the Maoists opted for a fresh election.
On the demise of the Constituent Assembly and protracted transition, all major parties are responsible. Now a new political and constitutional crisis has emerged, which political parties had not earlier visualized. This is illustrative of the fact that our leaders were visionless. In the absence of vision in the leaders, the politics of the country is bound to be derailed. This is the case with the present day Nepal. In this situation, only a statesman, who rises above the partisan interests, can rescue and lead the country taking all the people, belonging to different ideological hues, along. Unfortunately, we do not have any statesmen, which is the reason behind the sorry state of our politics. Let us hope a good leader or statesman emerges out of this crisis.