Govinda Raj Joshi
The election for Constituent Assembly (CA) is a process which will make Nepalese people sovereign. The CA election will not only decide what kinds of political system our country should have but also address other major political issues raised by the Madheshi, Dalit, Janajati and women during their agitation. It will also settle the issue of inclusiveness in the decision making process of the state and restructuring the state paving the way for equal distribution of the resources and opportunities. This is the mandate of the April’s People Uprising II.
As the date of the election is coming closer, there is doubt whether election for the CA is going to be held on schedule on November 22 or not. Following the statement of Maoist chairman Prachanda, though he denied it, the suspicion is growing. Maoist leader Prachanda in his recent statement suggested postponing of election arguing that sky will not fall even if the election is postponed for next April. If the elections held in present circumstances in November, the election will be not much different than that of Panchayati elections, He also charged that the election was postponed when his party was strong in June 2007. According to him, now his party is weak so all other political parties are in favor of holding the election.
At a time when all political parties have to go to villages to create conducive environment to hold the elections, Maoists forwarded 22-points demands along with program for street agitation. After the massive pressure of people, Maoist leader Prachanda contradicted his earlier statements saying that it was misreported by the press. He claimed that Maoists are not against holding the elections but he has not withdrawn his agitation program. We understand that all these contradictory statements are the result of some compulsions of the Maoist leaders. Whatever their compulsions may be and whoever may be behind them, one cannot change the fate of the country by rescheduling the date of election from November to April 2008.
The roadmap of the seven political parties during the people’s movement 2006 -which were supported by the Maoist in the letter day-, was the restoration of the dissolved parliament, peace treaty with the Maoist, formation of interim government including the Maoists, and the election for the CA. But, the course took in other directions following announcement of new interim constitution. From the twelve-point agreement to all other agreement signed between the Maoist and seven party alliances, it has been agreed that all the remaining issues will be settled through the election of CA. Suddenly, Maoist now wants to decide everything from this interim parliament. Constituted under the provision of interim constitution, interim government, and interim parliament has no legitimate right to take vital decisions, which will curtail the sovereign right of the people. The interim government’s sole duty is to hold the election for Constituent Assembly. Thus, the major task of all political parties is now to create the conducive environment to hold peaceful, free and fair election. From fate of monarchy to forms of the government and forms of the state, it is the CA to decide. No body understands why Maoists have been pressing the need to declare Nepal republic through the present interim parliament. It is contradictory to their commitments. Under a written political compromise, eight political parties have already agreed that the first meeting of the elected constituent assembly will decide the fate of monarchy.
At a time when no major political parties have publicly declared that they ask vote for monarchy, the results of first meeting of CA need to be predict. If this situation remains, the first meeting of CA will remove monarchy. In this context, I wonder why the election of CA is not a priority especially to those parties like Maoist who claims itself as a genuine follower of republic Nepal. They must realize that only the election of CA can fulfill their stand. Postponement of the election means to extend the life of monarchy. Thus the demand to extend the election is a matter of suspicion. For Nepali Congress nationality, national integrity, and democracy with the sovereignty vests on the people are important question now.
This phenomenon of Nepalese politics is very complicated. If Maoist had not disturbed the law and order and helped to create the environment in early days, the elections would have held in June. When the date of the election was closer, Maoist did not permit the parliament to run and passed the necessary elections bill. The property captured by the Maoist was not returned and displaced political worker were not allowed to return their home. In these circumstances, the election commission was compelled to postpone the election in June. The Maoists was responsible for the postponement of election though prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala – who was the only politician trying his best to hold the election on time – was blamed for it.
Even now similar situation is being created. The Maoist is going to create disturbance as they have already decided to launch the agitation from 18 September. They also announced physical action against political leaders and workers. Everybody knows what their physical action means even though we know that it is there party culture. They cannot remain without doing so. They have already disturbed number of meetings of other political parties in different parts of the country showing that they are not in favor of the CA election. If it is postponed again, everybody will say that it is the conspiracy to extend the life of monarchy by the consensus of eight political parties. So the leaders of eight political parties have to think over it. They cannot shift the responsibility to others for the purpose of political gain.
Everybody has to understand that if Nepal remains as an independent country, only then we will have our own status and position. Nationalism, national integrity, independence of nation and democracy must be the main priority for us. There must be guarantee to the sovereign right of the people. If sovereignty remain in people, then only they will have right to decide the fate of ruler and kinds of political system.
Our experience of working with communist has not been good. It is always difficult to convince the communist about this and compel them to go to the election of constituent assembly without any prior conditions. The conditions of holding the elections should not be the monarchy Vs republic but it must be independence and sovereignty of the country and democratic rights of the people. It is very difficult to work with the communist and it is not easy to understand the communist behavior. When they are in crisis, they are very reasonable and honest. As soon as they are in powerful position, they never look to other but their own vested interest. If we see their past history, communist are not trust worthy. King Mahendra used communist to wipe out congress workers in 1964-65 directing Panchayet leaders to help communists against Congress. For thirty years panchayti rule, From DP Adhikari to KesharJung rayamajhi most of the communist leaders sided with Panchayet. After 1990 Palace followed same policy encouraging leftist to minimize Congress. Even CPN-UML voted Mohammad Mosim, a hardliner and palace nominee, in place of the congress candidate Basu Dev Risal After the restoration of democracy, Monarch used the communist force to contained the congress but the result came just opposite as communist are demanding to uproot monarchy now and the monarchy is in deathbed. Having all these lesions of past, Congress, knowingly or unknowingly, has put communist on its shoulder in the name of bringing terrorists in the main stream. The recent bitter result shows that this is next to impossible work to bring the communist in main stream. This has made Congress helpless. If the current trend continues, they day is not far away when Nepali Congress is going to vanish.
Although Nepali Congress leaders prime minister Koirala has been target of communist ministers like Pradeep Nepal, Matrika Prasad Yadav and others who used all derogatory remarks, the reality is different. The communist minister like Pradeep Nepal and Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara and others are giving trouble to the employees sympathetic to Nepali Congress. Even a Peon, who is follower of Nepali Congress, is getting trouble. This force Congress workers and leaders to think whether the joint front with the communist will be beneficial to the congress, democracy and country.
Nepali congress is in great crisis. As a leader of the people’s revolution prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala has to play a responsible role. His responsibility is to hold the election for CA and make Nepalese people sovereign. Another duty is to safeguard Nepal’s independent establishing permanent peace in the country. But the leaders of the ruling eight party coalitions have become irresponsible day by day. It has become very difficult to create conducive environment of the election. But the election must be held on time. For this purpose Nepali congress has to play its role. Only the election of constituent assembly can make the Nepalese people sovereign Nepali people toppled down King’s dictatorship not to establish other form of dictatorship in Nepal.