Convention of appointeesThe message from the jamborees is a preview of what to expect during the general elections.
All the party conventions had one central theme, no apparent change in the status quo. The leaders’ tall claims of overthrowing regressive forces no longer attract the zeal and enthusiasm of the people anymore. Over the years, the leaders have been exposed for their ineptitude, but more importantly for their lack of concern for the people they represent. Even during the gravest hours of the pandemic, leaders lacked unity and were accused of indulging in petty politics rather than attending to the pressing needs of the people.
Hence, every once in a while, a general convention of sorts gives a glimmer of hope to allow for a leadership change. But nothing meaningful has been noted in the grand gatherings so far, nothing that would foretell a shift to excite the people. And accurately enough, the general convention of the Maoist Centre reflects what is wrong with these conventions, which can be compared to nothing more than a roadshow of touring performers. After all, what is missing in this particular case is the basis of an essential democratic principle—elections.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the uncontested leader, has led the party for almost 35 years and continues as the leader for the foreseeable future. And on January 2, Dahal read out the names of 236 central committee members appointed from among 299 members from various ethnic and regional backgrounds, giving the impression of pan-Nepal representation. No matter how inclusive it may seem, holding the sessions behind closed doors sends a poor message to the masses, and reflects poorly on their democratic credentials. It also reflects poorly on the leaders and the party. And with 63 members remaining to be named, there should be no doubt of more internal wrangling within the party to appoint the remaining members, if and when they decide to do so. Most would see it as an exercise of nepotism, and rightly so. And that too when the country is geared for the general elections.
Fingers don’t just point towards Dahal and the CPN (Maoist Centre); very recently, Sher Bahadur Deuba, recently elected president of the Nepali Congress Party, nominated several members to its central working committee. Given that the party statute allows the party president to appoint members, Deuba has been accused of nominating only his supporters, mainly from his faction. Leaders usually tend to select people not based on capability but from a pool of sycophants and on a quid pro quo basis to strengthen their cause.
Unfortunately, politics has primarily revolved around a small clique that has had a stranglehold on Nepali politics for the last few decades, allowing gerontocracy to develop deep roots. These conventions have done nothing at all to reflect on the democratic values the leaders so desperately project at every given opportunity. Perhaps the message from the convention of appointees is just a preview of what the people should expect during the general elections.