Nepali Times Asian Paints
PRASHANT JHA
Plain Speaking
Hollow loktantra


PRASHANT JHA


Nepal's national political outcomes are determined by a dozen or so individuals in Kathmandu. A candidate who lost from two constituencies became the PM. A cabinet with most ministers either rejected by the electorate or notorious for their open loot of the exchequer has been at the helm for 20 months. And multiple rounds of voting for a PM have not thrown up a result - primarily because many parties were not allowed to exercise their free will due to extraordinary pressure from forces outside parliament.

A caretaker government prorogued the House and would rather not face parliament again. Policies are formulated to suit different interest groups in the most opaque manner possible. Last year, the government and the speaker ganged up to refuse debate on the presidential action to reinstate the army chief in the House. The main opposition party spent months blocking parliament only to return to it, and recently indulged in some manhandling of senior ministers, violating basic norms of human conduct and parliamentary ethics. Directives by House committees often go unheeded.

If this is how parliamentary supremacy fares in democratic Nepal, the fate of the rule of law cannot be much better.
Girija Prasad Koirala taught a valuable lesson to most of Nepal's present-day politicians. Corruption enables you to build a vast patronage network, which is essential for political survival and power. And once you are in power, or even on its periphery, there is little chance of the law catching up.

From Madhav Nepal, who took charge of UML's institutional finances, to KP Oli, who began investing in private businesses, to PK Dahal, who can smell a business opportunity from a distance - all have internalised this lesson well. Each Nepali politician is way richer than he was in 2006. Some are generous like Koirala was; others are stingy. But none have to end up accounting for the sources of their wealth, or face any legal liability. This extends to big businesses that have defaulted on loans; the scores of bureaucrats who pay millions to get lucrative postings because they are sure of the dividends; and media owners who have multiple business interests but never reveal conflicts of interests.

In the districts, there are clever mechanisms to bypass any procedures that pose an obstacle to siphoning off public funds. Indeed, expect a surge in violence in the next few months as politicians rush to spend funds before the fiscal year ends and battle it out. The authorities will remain silent witnesses or be a part of the nexus. It is not merely in cases of corruption, but in enforcing order and implementing welfare schemes that the law is most conspicuous in its absence.

Democracy as it exists in Nepal suits the politicians and businessmen, enmeshed with one another, perfectly. As scholar Dipak Gyawali pointed out recently, it is the trading comprador bourgeoisie class, which thrives on shortages, that calls the shots in Nepal's new political economy. A weak, discredited state is an asset. The International Crisis Group makes a similar argument, showing how different private interests benefit from the mess in Nepal's education, health, public security, and employment situation. It goes so far as to say, "Large sections of Nepal's economic and political system rest on the solid foundation of state non-delivery."

When the Maoists expose the infirmities of the 'so-called democratic system', they do have a case. But even if their diagnosis is partially correct, they do have quite a prescription 窶" and the one offered by Kiran and company is infinitely worse than the problem itself. Indeed, the abrupt end of the parliamentary session brought home the value for many, especially the Maoists, of how formal institutions are a check against the government. Paras Shah may get away but the state's action has sent a symbolic message about equality before law, a case about which Maoists have been ambivalent given their partnership with the 'royalist nationalists'. The success of Nitish Kumar in neigbouring Bihar, on the other hand, is all about how building up a democratic and functioning state is essential to preserving law and order and to creating multiple opportunties for livelihood and growth.

So in its present avatar, do not blame the people if loktantra breeds more contempt than hope.

Who's bad?, EDITORIAL

Alone in the echo chamber, INDU NEPAL

Aiding impunity, DAMAKANT JAYSHI



1. who cares
what kathmandu?

can you name me one pm in the history of nepal from kathmandu? they are the ones voted by the people like you. and majority of the corrupt ministers are voted by your people?

so dont talk nonsense.ツ


2. jange
In a situation that was comparatively far, far better than it is now the intelligentsia of Nepal (maybe Prashant too?) were saying how justified the Maoists were in starting their violence against the people.

So, what do the intelligentsia say now?


3. Arthur
The article seems to end in mid-sentence.

Also it throws an accusation of corruption against Prachanda as though there had actually been some evidence in support:

"From Madhav Nepal, who took charge of UML's institutional finances, to KP Oli, who began investing in private businesses, to PK Dahal, who can smell a business opportunity from a distance - all have internalised this lesson well. Each Nepali politician is way richer than he was in 2006. Some are generous like Koirala was; others are stingy. But none have to end up accounting for the sources of their wealth, or face any legal liability".

Is including Prachanda among the well known corrupt politicians some sort of editorial requirement for publication here?

Apart from that, the article does seem to be a reasonable description of the current mess the Maoists are fighting against and why they are likely to win.


4. Slarti

This is a surprisingly frank tirade against the leadership of the current government that would suit the writing of an ordinary commentator writing to express his personal frustration against the present conditions of the nationテッツソツスs politics. This is not appropriate for a journalist working full time with the objective of elucidating the conditions of the nation. Your time would have been more valuably spent on informing us about how we came to this.

The surface reason why Nepal is in such a hopeless condition is simply because of what its politicianテッツソツスs short sighted opportunism resulted in a poorly thought-out and damaging alliance with a murderous terrorist organisation back in 2005. The late GP Koirala, cursed this nation for a long time to come.

And yet, that was and is not quite the reason behind the troubling condition of this country.

Instead, the reason is the irresponsible and unreasonable intellectual elite of this country. The people whose responsibility it was, and remains, to communicate テッツソツス in an impartial manner テッツソツス the events that may have an impact on the nation as a whole, or which might concern the date of a vast number of people. These are issues that no single individual can solve and that move in unpredictable ways.

An impartial reader of any of the major newspapers, who either does not have an interest or the time to satisfy an in interest in politics, would think that many opinions flourish in Nepal and that there is a healthy debate between the communists and the anti-communists. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The fact is that the Nepalese intelligentsia is not divided in two camps, those who believe in the totalitarian communist state, and those who believe in communist principles but not in its totalitarian expression, or the dogmatists and the progressives. (Both are wrong) They onlyツappear to have differences and given this camps dominance, there appears to be a choice between the twain, but a closer analysis of the facts belie that notion.

Fact is that dissenters have been shut out by the noise generated by the テッツソツスliberalテッツソツス media. The tremendous machine of テッツソツスprogressiveテッツソツス propaganda and indoctrination has well succeeded in enforcing its taboos.

So now we are in a situation where everyone and everything is suspect. The fact that the PM is in charge of institutional finances of the UML party, and therefore, corrupt, or that KP Oli invests in private business, or that Prachanda can sense a business opportunity anywhere etc, the Army, the bureaucracy, religion, social practices, cultural traits everything is captured in a sweeping generalisation that there simply is no hope.

Fact is that they and the entire nation is where it is because of the in-principle acceptance that while socialism is the only option, the failure is down to those who are responsible for applying its principles.

And so the intellectuals lament is - clever mechanisms to bypass any procedures that pose an obstacle to siphoning off public fundsテッツソツス..democracy as it exists in Nepal suits the politicians and businessmen, enmeshed with one another, perfectlyテッツソツステッツソツステッツソツスand so on. The perfect example is the use of the term trading comprador bourgeoisie class. I am sure others know the term, but I did not.

Finally, and my intention is to keep this as short as possible for one comment, the conclusion about Bihar is grossly misplaced. It is true no doubt, but not so that people would understand it. The Bihar CM appears to have succeeded because he delivered what governments are supposed to deliver, governance



5. Reb
Cannot disagree with points raised in the article but to be fair, it would have been better if the Ghachedhar's, the Yadav's and the Gupta's were also mentioned and the lessons that they have taught.ツ The writer may have his reasoning but to some it may look like selective sermonizing.

Also, does it mean that the Nitish government has no corruption and treats all law & order situation equally?ツ Universally, the Have's were and are in better position to treated more favorably by the law than the Have Not's. This still is the case even in the most democratic or law & order states in the world.

Corruption, law and order (maybe selective) are one thing; vision, management and deliverance something else.ツ Take China for example - it has all of the above.ツ Therefore, they are not mutually exclusive.

It is all about priority, it should be the people/country first, party second, and individual third.ツ In Nepal it is the other way around.ツ With rights comes responsibilities; the only responsibility these days seems to be "me first".


6. K. K. Sharma

Given the experience of the fifties, and that of post 1990, it is apparent that Democracy as found in the text-books will not be found in Nepal.

Parties do need moneyツto run their respective party; pay rent of all the party offices in the districts, and conduct party activities ( including financing rallies, riots, and vandalisms )

And this is good,........because Nepali intellectuals and journalists can have field days ranting about democracy, they have found in text-books, for decades to come, if not centuries.


7. yadav khanal
Very lucid exposition of ツthe current malaise indeed!!

Where then is the solution? Is it the Big Brother who is perpetrating all this to make this country ungovernable and grab it in one excuse or another or the scourge of corruption is inherent in the Nepalese pshyque? Dumbfounded indeed!!


8. Bhaicha
The result of tyhe last election has outlived its utility. It was for a period of only 2 years as stpulated.
ツWhat is needed is a fresh mandate from the people; after peaceful election campaigning. For that a neutral administration should be in office lead by non-partisan elders.
ツThen only a Nitish Kumar will come out in Nepal also.


9. jange
4. Slarti

This is a surprisingly frank tirade against the leadership of the current government that would suit the writing of an ordinary commentator writing to express his personal frustration against the present conditions of the nationテッツソツスs politics. This is not appropriate for a journalist working full time with the objective of elucidating the conditions of the nation. Your time would have been more valuably spent on informing us about how we came to this.

This is normal in a situation where a coloumnist has an agenda to push. If the agenda can't be pushed the coloumnist is totally lost and lashes out at everything and comes up with articles like this. Some of CK Lal's are like this too when he also found himself in a similar situation.

Time for a holiday, Prashant!! Didn't NT send you to Cancun?





10. Gaurab
Don't listen to them Prashant, you know you're right~!

11. kal;yan dev bhattarai

Where we went wrong

テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ テつ Kalyan Dev Bhattarai

Today after witnessing the big Tamasa on the election for the PM and total failureテつ to write the new constitution within its stipulated time of 2 years period , Rampant corruption, day light robbery of the countryテッツソツスs treasury and total failure of the security system in the country, any citizen will have no hesitation to express openly that something is wrong in the country, all due to the personal ambition of the so-called leaders of the countryテつ who need severe punishment now for their crimes, betrayals to the nation and lying to its peace loving, law abiding peoples of the country.テつ

The so-called leaders will always try to hide their mistakes and go on saying that every things will be fine as we are facing the interim period and to face such situation of chaos during the interim period is natural, until the last week of the two years period of legitimate constitution writing period also the hypocriticalテつ leaders were claiming that they will be able to complete the writing of the new constitution , and without any apology or expression of sorrow towards the People, the 601 gang of the looters extended constitution writing period illegitimately, undemocratically and without the consent of the sovereign people, for another one year; proving that the present-dayテつ leaders of all the political parties are no better than the autocratic , tyrant , fools, who consider that the peoples are with them until they are lynched by the people themselves.テつ

I wish I may not be forced to see such days in my countryテッツソツスs street where the present day corrupt, power lusted, leaders are burnt alive for their crimes, and breach of trust, by the people, but who knows what happens tomorrow as the people have already reached the stage beyond tolerance.

In this context, whether the so-called leaders of the country show their minimum honesty to analyze their past mistakes and do enough to rectify the past mistakes, so that the peoples see the ray of hope for the right direction and could still give a chance to the present-day leaders for solving the self-created problems, we intellectual of the country must do our best to solve the present-day problems, so that the country could be led through the path of peace, prosperity and rule of law, where any Nepalese citizen could pass the dignified life of their own, irrespective of any class, caste ,religion, geographical location andテつ profession .

I see the following mistakes which could have been easily avoided, had our present-day leaders shown tint of honesty and responsibility towards the nation and its people.

Wrong modality of the election of CA- This was the biggest mistake after the 2061 BS- Andolan, when the CA election was arranged in such a way that only the party cadres were allowed to participate in the election, where as in my opinion the CA election was to select the competitive, honest, peopleテッツソツスs representatives to write the new constitution, who could write the new constitution without any partisan influence, giving importance to the requirements of the country , fulfilling the aspiration and wishes of the people without any biasness politically, economically, religiously, socially , linguistically,テつ geographically and gender wise.テつ

Unfortunately the modality under which the last election of CA was undertaken had selected the party cadres only. In the present assembly of 601 members, there is only one member Mr. Babu Ram Bhattarai who can claim to be a テッツソツスpeopleテッツソツスs representativeテッツソツス, in the true sense. Because he is the only member who had secured more than 50 % votes, rest were rejected, by the 89% to 59 % of the voters. To expect any good and positive result from such members discarded by the peoples is only intellectual bankruptcy.

No change in rulerテッツソツスs attitude- In this context, the modality of ruling by the rulers since Rana regime shows no difference - the suppression, negligence toward the peopleテッツソツスs requirement, feeling of lordship and the attitude, behaviors of the ministers, the misuse of power, looting of the government treasury in different pretext, indifference towards the peopleテッツソツスs problem, corruption, looting of the nation properties, be it land, forest, cash etcテつ were all same as before; only the rulers were changed but their attitude, thinking and behavior etc were exactly the same since the Rana time, and has remained till now in the so-called republican period. There is no change in the attitudes of the rulers, so this is eroding the confidence of the people and increasing the apathy towards the present-day political leaders to the maximum point and any day the people will start to punish the corrupt, power- lusted leaders of the present time.

Unnecessary fight for ism テッツソツスThe struggle, war, and insurgency for the establishment of any ism is history and today all the countries of the world are dong their best for the economic development and leaving aside the priority for any ism. The possibility of the China to develop so fast is mainly due to its priority for the economic growth rather than the extension of the communism as was the priority of then Soviet Union which forced the country to disintegrate into many small pieces.

Today Nepalese people are not interested to know under what system they are ruled but are interested to find out how they are ruled and in this context, people give very less importance to the system and give attention to the realities of how they are ruled. This being the main reason for the Maoist to be popular, in spite of its innumerable arrogances shown during the insurgency period by its leaders and cadres, in the last the CA election. The ordinary people of the country were smart enough to know the requirements of the country, like the economic development, dignity of life, human rights, and rule of law with transparency and to fulfill this they started to view the politics not through the narrow prism of the democracy but keeping in minds the countryテッツソツスs requirement for fast economic growth, where as most of our so-called leaders are still looking at politics through the narrow eye of isms. No particular ism is essential for the fast economic development of the country as noticed in the country like Singapore, China Korea etc where the benevolent dictatorships to communism are working successfully.

Those who have limited and narrow view and try to relate every thing through the spectrum of democracy need to define itテつ first , as the selection of PM, who had lost election from two constitutes show how hollow is the rhetoric of democracy. How a fellow rejected by 89 % of the voters of their respective constituencies can be allowed to claim to be the peopleテッツソツスs representatives wasting the tax payerテッツソツスs money shows that this is nothing but a mockery of democracy.

テつ The culture of the impunity -This culture nourished and protected by the political parties of the country is one of the main reasons for bringing our country to such a situation of all round failure. Most of the present-day so-called successful leaders started their political career by killing their opponents in one or other pretext. Almost 100 % of them started their politics with borrowed money and low economic status and are now billionaire, by looting of the countryテッツソツスs treasury. They are protected by the party leaders; they flout the law and use it for their personal benefit and heinous crimes with impunity. This reality of the present- day politics of the country is well known to every body from the Supreme Court judges to the members of the human rights commission and the CIAA officers, but none of them take any actions against such corrupt power lusted leaders simply because most of them are linked to these corrupt leaders who had nominated /selected such officials in their present positions. These officials had not gained their positions due to their hard-work or honesty but by sycophancy of the corrupt leaders.

Non-response to the Needs of change テッツソツス Nepalese people in general want massive changes in the attitudes, performance, and ruling system of the country for which they participated in the uprisings of 1990 and 2006. This reality is being neglected by the political leaders of the country due to their vested interests. The support for the Maoistテッツソツスs demand of new constitution by the general mass was not for few amendments, and superficial modification of the existing constitution as demanded by the so-called leaders of the country but to re-write a entirely new constitution with new outlook, vision, system, and modality of governance. Today the struggle between the two groups, one wanting a new constitution as per the aspiration and wishes of the majority of the people and the other, who do not want any major changes and would like keep looting the country as before.テつ This underlying struggle is getting more and more serious, complex, complicated and being camouflaged as the struggle for the isms.

Conclusion テッツソツス I do not think this present-day struggle for the massive change verses the superficial modifications of the constitution will end peacefully until the looters of yesterday and today understand that their days of looting are over and now this country should be ruled by new set of people with new set of modalities, giving importance to the economic development rather than to any isms. In my opinion, this is the last chance provided by the people to identify and expose the political charlatans who are engaged in exploiting the country in the name of the politics and if they do not come to their senses and leave the avenues for the peopleテッツソツスs aspirations and wishes, the people will have no option other than to lynch the corrupt power lusted present day so-called leaders openly in the streets.テつ テつ テつ

テつ

テつ

テつ



12. hange
Prashant, Prashant, Prashant-
You were doing so well- on a roll, venting, words pounding, accusations flying. . .ツ and then you had to mention the southern neighbour didn't you? You just can't help yourself, can you? It's not an article if you don't mention India, right?ツ Not that there's anything wrong with a comparison or two but apparently you can't write an article without a mention of South Block, India, Bihar, etc.ツツ


13. Gole
Bauka'

It is Laukatantra.( with due apology to Ram Deb Maharaj).


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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