Cut down to sizeCitizens have shown what they think of CPN-UML's actions in recent past.
This week, ruling-turned-opposition party CPN-UML finally withdrew its protest in both Houses of Parliament after obstructing the proceedings for eight months. Having begun the obstruction on September 8 last year to protest against Speaker Agni Sapkota's reluctance to expel 14 of its dissident lawmakers who went on to form the CPN (Unified Socialist), the single largest party had reduced the parliamentary process into a street fight. On Tuesday, though, the party suddenly withdrew its protests, claiming that it had decided to "change the nature of our protest" in recognition of the need to hold discussions on the ongoing economic crisis and inflation.
But the CPN-UML is no saint. It is a party that held parliamentary democracy hostage for eight long months simply because it could not suppress its bloated ego. Having been defanged by the Supreme Court for its repeated attempts to choke parliamentary democracy, the party, headed by KP Sharma Oli, had resorted to obstructing the House to show that it could manipulate the parliamentary process as it liked. In doing so, it had hoped that it would gain sympathy from ordinary citizens. However, citizens are not party cadres, and even if they seem to remain silent, they wait for an opportunity to express their voices. And it is elections that serve as the medium through which they express themselves.
And as the election results drip in, it is increasingly getting clear that the citizens have expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the CPN-UML functioned in the recent past. The party still maintains that the popular vote could be with it notwithstanding its imminent defeat in the elections. It failed to acknowledge that the political ground is shifting beneath its feet, and that it has already lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the citizens. By the time this paper went to the press, the CPN-UML had been relegated to a distant second, winning 156 units with 52 leads while the Nepali Congress had won 256 units with 70 leads in chief positions out of 561 units for which the final results have been announced. As the trends show, the Nepali Congress Party is expected to remove the CPN-UML from the position of single largest party, while the Maoist Centre is also expected to make gains in this election at the cost of the CPN-UML.
Not one to concede its relegation to the periphery after failing to respect the huge mandate given by the citizens in the first local elections, the CPN-UML has resorted to the old tactic of blaming others, claiming that the ruling coalition had engaged in booth capturing and that the government had harassed its candidates. The party must understand that citizens are in no mood to be gaslighted anymore. Nor are they willing to tolerate its arrogance, for that arrogance comes from the legitimacy of the citizens, and they can take it back periodically. At last, the party seems to have come back to its senses after an electoral shock. Citizens expect that it will behave now onwards and exhibit its allegiance to democracy in practice, for there are more elections that are yet to come when they can show the party its place yet again.