CA Polls: Battles between Progressives and Feudalists
Every democrat in Nepal has admitted that feudalism is not confined to the traditional monarchy. It exists in the minds of the political leaderships belonging to all the political parties. Since feudal monarchy has ruled Nepal for about 240 years, its deep-seated impressions in all sectors, including political forces, cannot be ruled out. Even the ideologies that the democratic parties have adopted have not obliterated all the impressions of feudalism. The oldest political party of Nepal, the Nepali Congress (NC), co-worked with the feudal monarchy since the formation of the party.
The 1951-change in Nepal, where the Rana hereditary rule was formally ended with the tripartite agreement (viz. India, NC and the Ranas) signed in New Delhi, handover power from the hands of the Rana hereditary rulers to the hands of monarchy (Shah dynasty).
The 1990-change, marked with the promise of multiparty democratic practices, toppled the 30-year long Panchayat regime founded on the mindset of feudal monarchy. However, those who declared themselves in favor of multiparty democratic practices could not liberate themselves from the psychological framework of feudalism. This psychological nonliberation definitely barred implementation of democratic principles and promises.
Thus, the Nepali feudalism, equipped with legislative, executive and judiciary powers, continued to function. Its reflections can still be observed and experienced in all the state organs. Even the current Seven Party Alliance government, in which monarchists to republicans work, has to a horrible extent failed to make the old mechanisms work in favor of the changed context as defined by the republican interim constitution.
On the one hand, the government and the seven parties have decided to wait for the constitution-making polls for the actual implementation of the republican provisions set in the interim constitution, feudalist forces, on the other, have been publicly defying the April uprising, marked by 19-day historical protests all over Nepal, and subsequently, any republican provisions based on the people’s mandate formalized by the interim constitution.
The current interim government itself has become a fierce war zone in which both change-seekers and change-resisting feudalist forces have been struggling hard to protect their respective interests. For example, many Nepali Congress leaders have openly defied the interim constitution by advocating for the protection of monarchy. One of the ardent advocates of monarchy is Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala. Now he has stopped speaking about it because of sharp criticism from his coalition partners. But his daughter Sujata Koirala, who does much of her father’s work as a de facto prime minister without portfolio, has taken up his job of advocating for monarchy.
It has become the general mindset of the Nepali Congress followers and leaders that Nepal must not have any left power in government. In this context, the monarchy, with its 240-year long historical root, can be a big hand in fighting leftists. This very notion has not changed in the Nepali Congress leaderships. Their impressions can be found equally among their followers. The current election campaign and media coverage show a high degree of left-phobia among the Nepali Congress and other monarchy-favoring parties. However, it seems extremely difficult for them to maintain monarchy against people’s mandate. Doing so would definitely invite another political upheaval in the Nepali soil.
Villagers have begun to bring about news that the major political parties that were in power previously under monarchial regime have begun to use MONEY, MEDIA AND MUSCLE against the New Nepal agenda (restructuring issues). They are trying their best to defeat the change-seeking forces by misusing the existing old mechanisms.
Observers believe that the existing old mechanisms, molded by the feudal designers, do help the change-resisting forces rather than the change-seeking ones.
The implementation of the bundles of declarations and commitments is a tough challenge because of the existing feudal mechanisms incompatible with the 21st-century democratic norms. Therefore, the constituent assembly (CA) polls scheduled for 10 April 2008 is likely to take place amidst battles between the progressives and feudalists.
The decade-long Maoist insurgency, which took almost 15,000 lives, will remain unaddressed should the CA polls be hijacked by the feudal forces with the help of money, media and muscle. For ensuring that such a hijack will not take place, the workers and supporters of different democratic parties must be watchful so as to prevent ordinary people from being affected by the strategy of MONEY, MEDIA and MUSCLE.
Tags: Feudalists , Progressives , Monarchists , Republicans , Republic , Uprising , Constitution , Constituent Assembly , Money , Media
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