Back to their old tricksAs if there weren’t enough problems, the politicians are constantly looking to add to them.
Amidst all the problems confronting the Nepali people, politicians have once again found an excuse to engage in petty politics. This time to interfere in determining the dates and processes of the upcoming elections. The Election Commission of Nepal, the highest body established to oversee the electoral process, has categorically stated that there should be no delay in holding the local elections, but the declaration seems to have fallen on deaf ears. The main actors of the ruling coalition seem hell-bent on achieving their objective, even if it is at the cost of undermining the rule of law.
As if there weren’t enough problems in Nepal, the politicians, it seems, are constantly looking to add to them. Pushpa Kamal Dahal first recommended swapping the dates of the local and federal elections. While he nor any other in the ruling alliance has explicitly given any reason for proposing the switch, there is every possibility that such a move was envisioned with only one purpose in mind—holding onto the existing power structure of the ruling coalition at any cost. A defeat at the local level would leave Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal, chairman of the CPN (Unified Socialist), devoid of any influence in the federal elections.
Whether it is an ordinance to break up political parties or a ploy to change election dates, these actions do nothing more than expose their abilities to achieve political goals by hook or crook. They seem to have no regard for the constitutional provisions supporting democratic values. If such calculated moves were taken to further the nation’s interest, perhaps the people could look forward to a more promising future. But these actions reflect nothing more than their desire to be relevant and always be within the sphere of influence. The desperation of Dahal and Nepal to hold on to power is pretty straightforward, but what is in it for the president of the Congress Party?
Since taking over as prime minister, Deuba has been pressing for the ratification of the MCC. Perhaps he is hopeful that an agreement can be reached with the leaders of the ruling alliance concerning MCC, and he has agreed to manoeuvre the election process in their favour in exchange. Whatever be the case, there are dissidents within his party, primarily from the opposing faction led by Shekhar Koirala. Gagan Thapa, the party general secretary, issued a statement saying that not holding the local elections within the stipulated time would create a vacuum in the local bodies. Such a move would be unacceptable.
With influential office bearers within his party opposed to swapping the election dates, any rash decision without consensus would be akin to inviting trouble for Prime Minister Deuba. And that too, at a critical juncture when the party should be readying forces to battle the elections. And if Chairman Dahal and Chairman Nepal think that the Congress would agree to an alliance for the federal elections, they may be in for a rude awakening. The actions of the politicians have failed in more than one instance to support democratic values. If they are determined to override the very constitutional provisions they helped to prepare, then they’ve wasted precious time in formulating them.