The day was Sunday, the 7th day of Falgun, 2068 B.S. or 19th of February, 2012 A.D. the Democracy Day (D-day). Nearly seven decades ago, Nepal’s only Democratic Party, the Nepali Congress had contributed a lot to introduce the Democracy or the Parliamentary Democracy in the country under the Nepali Congress led by late B.P. Koirala. Thus the 7th of Falgun was highly valued politically and the Day was observed in a form of National festival too with the trumpet being played at very dawn of the day from the top of the Bhimsen Tower to help awaken people in the system. That was used to celebrate officially and nationally with demonstrations of different Governmental activities, costumes and different events related with different culture, tradition, caste and community that were available in the country and many more. But, all of those scenes and events were remained simply in the memory of the Nepali people. Neither the Trumpet was played at the very dawn of the day from top of the Bhimsen Tower nor any other event and parade was organized to celebrate the Day. The7th of Falgun, 2068 B.S. remained simply in memory of the people due to the present Government’s more time being consumed by an issue of integration of army and the like.
A friend of mine asked a gentleman in a restaurant that how did he observed the D-day this year. He said that he was on queue of LPG gas line with empty gas cylinder from 8 A. M. to 11:30 A.M. He went to Gas station for petrol after his morning meal at 1:p.m. and got fill up the tank of his bike after two hours. In fact, he didn’t see any special program too on this day. The parade ground (Tundikhel) was open and clean though the military pavilion or Sainik Manch was left decorated to some extent with a few ribbons and festoons, he commented.
The news media next day came up with the headlines like the political party leaders slammed the Government for ignoring the D-day. Many party leaders and the members of the Constituent Assembly (C.A.) had expressed their diversity about the issue in different meetings and programmes. Again, the Government and the staff of Public Enterprises had a comfortable day on the 7th of Falgun because their offices were remained close as ritual during the D-day.
The new change:
After a new political change took place in 2063 B.S. the largest party in the Constituent Assembly (C.A.), the United Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (UCPN-M) had declared the system in the country as the Federal Republican Democracy. The country is still lacking its own statute. The 601 member CA formed four years ago for 2-year period through an election in public poll and the nomination of political parties to write the main statute of the country have completely forgotten their assigned job. The statute drafting date is still postponed. Therefore, what the system the country is going to adopt, is yet to know. The missing of observing the D-day indicated that the Government is not adopting the Democratic system in the country. The obvious fact was that ‘No Democracy means, Federal Republican Democratic System was a mere imagination without base’. It was surprising to know that how come the political fighters for Democracy (with different ideologies) could ignore the Democracy day that used to be observed since a few decades last(*).
Restructuring the country:
Despite that the prime concerning issues like statute writing and accomplishing the peace processing in the country has yet to be started with even after nearly four years, the expiration of the due and date of term and service of all 601 CA members could be the big disaster to them. So more the time and date of the CA service was prolonged, more the income of big amount of money as a salary and incentives will be processed on to them for a comfortable life style in the Capital. So the CA members never want neither to complete the assigned job soon nor to keep the life of CA terminated. The given life for the CA was 2 years only. Now it’s running at the last quarter of the 4th year.
In this context with a view of establishing the Federalism in the country, the big parties are in mood to create more provinces in the country like in India and in the USA. After a two month long discussions the State Restructuring Committee (SRC) of CA has formed two committees on the basis of majority members committee and minority members committee. Very recently the Maoist-Madhesi majority member committee has submitted the 11-province model report, whereas the minority member committee submitted the 6-province model report to establish the Federation in the country.
The proposed 11-province report has come with the 11 provinces like: Limbuwan, Kirant, Tamsaling, Newa, Narayani, Tammuwan, Magrat, Karnali, Madhesh-Mithila Bhojpur, Madhesh-Abadh Tharuwan and Dalit. The special area for Dalit is not shown in their map. Similarly the Minority Group has proposed a report of 6-province report. The authenticity to name the provinces is bestowed to the Province Management Body itself. Wonderful fact is that, none of the group so far has yet to come up to any certain point where the group could prove their respective report justifiable to the country and the people. The country, according to the present geographical and political division is divided into five Development Regions, 14 Zones and 75 districts. Majority of the people and the political activists as well agree that the Government could manage the present division properly, that would be the best. Yet a long and time consuming discussion between the political leaders and the people is awaited.
Development is, of course, the main concern of each and every people or party at any time in any country. The infrastructure development is taken as the prime point to start with the Development. The road in Kathmandu streets has become very narrow these days, because it has to be plied on by more than 400,000 cars and heavy vehicles and more than 600,000 two wheelers almost daily. The strength of the streets that was built about four decade ago has remained constant. Thus the ‘Traffic Jam’ is very much obvious. A Government officer on car from Chabahil has to come out from his house an hour earlier to the schedule of reaching to his office at Singh Durbar, hardly 6 kilometer far away. In this context the new Government has begun a mission of lunching road widening program. Though, it is not equipped with any proper planning and subsidies. The road widening programme was as old as 30 years at least. But since the proper economic planning and financial support had not been managed, it couldn’t have been launched. The present Government has become less concerned with these problems. She has started the work with a short time effort, in which the issue of compensations, subsidies and proper planning were negligible one. Since it consumes lot of time and brain exercise, they don’t have time to spare for it. They chalk out the name of area and the place to widen the road in the previous Friday evening and start demolishing the private buildings or other structure of the area from very early Saturday morning in a short notice basis. No one has time neither to ask nor to deal with the compensation nor any sort of alternate planning as a substitution to the sufferer. People some time venture to ask that why the Government has taken the action so promptly? They are answered that many time the President or the Prime Minister had to delay their flight while going to foreign country for a visit due to ‘Traffic Jam’. It seemed that they should be carried out by helicopter up to the Airport. The ‘Traffic Jam’ has become an unavoidable problem now.
The road in Kathmandu is very hazardous. The walk ways are full of dust and pebbles. Neither the drive ways have been extended nor have the dismantled walk ways been made up as expected. The dismantling task is yet to be discontinued. No body knows the when and where about of the road widening program is conducted. There will be no notice previously. Watch out the Bulldozer may come at any time, any day to hit your house, especially on Saturday.
CAMs lose credibility:
The CA members, either elected in the public poll or selected by the party boss with a faith that they together could fulfill the purpose of the Constituent Assembly (CA) within the given time of two years was found false. The main task of CA is to complete the statute writing within the given time of 2-yr period. It was a belief of the people that all the CA members should be equally qualified, experienced and well read. But many of them were simply a fake one.
Many of the CA members (CAMs) had their best exercise in selling the red passports during their 4-yr stay in the CA and earn big ransom of money within a couple of nights. The red passport, approved with all sorts of Government and diplomatic facilities are given to the senior officers working in an Executive, Judiciary and the Legislative bodies of the Government. The CA members are regarded as law makers thus the red passport has become one of the incentives they are given. Consequently, more than 10 law makers have missed their rank and file after they were proved guilty from the Supreme Court. But again there are still some strong muscles of the Largest Party in CA, like Messrs Agni Sapkota, Prabhu Shah, Bal Krishna Dhungel and few more, whom though the Supreme Court has accused and sentenced murderer in different cases, are still working as law makers. In the meantime, the Government is going to propose new money laundering bills very soon to make the illegal money and the properties earned during the decade last legal.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has convicted Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta, the sitting Minister of Information and Communication on corruption charge and sentenced for one and half year jail and fined Rs. 8.4 million, the security police took him to prison at Dillibazar, Kathmandu a couple of days ago. The term of his minister ship was terminated automatically. Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai did not have any official botheration to suspend or save him. This way, the Dillibazar Jail has now become a house for 3 political leaders. Shyam Sundar Gupta also the sitting law maker till a few weeks ago was also sent to Dilibazar prison on February 17. He was under police custody for a couple of months last. S S Gupta, also a former minister and a sitting law maker was proceeded to Jail by District Court on charge of abducting Pawan Kumar Sanghai, a business man with a view of making a good amount of money within a couple nights. Similarly the Jail also has given shelter to another veteran politician Chiranjivi Wagle, a leader of the Nepali Congress on charge of corruption since last year. All these 3 jail birds have become ministers in the country for 4 times at least.
The CA is now at the last stake. Its terms were terminated three times earlier. In all the three times the Supreme Court blessed the CA to survive 6 months more each. Three months ago it was terminated in its 4th time. Again they appealed for more extension. The Supreme Court granted them to exist for the last 6-month life. As per the verdict of the Supreme Court given to the CA that was the last chance they got. So no more expectation could be done. The SC is very rigid now at its verdict.
There are hardly 3 months to go now to complete the last extension. The CA has many things to do to begin with the statute writing. The CA members, including Prime Minister Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai, the leader of the largest party Prachanda, Mr. Subash Nemang, the speaker of the House, also a well known lawyer previously are found busy to get registered their petition in the SC to extend the date of the CA for six months more and so on. But the SC is denying accepting the petition. The political Tug-of-war like this between the Legislative Body and the Judiciary is going on. The CA has also threatened the Judges to impeach if their petition was not entertained and granted an extension. The issue has become now the talk of the town. Wait and watch was the only temporary solution to experience the change on the affairs.
There are many accused defaulters in the Constituent Assembly. They are found clean in the House though the defaulters laundering bills have not been proposed yet. Police are always in search of them to arrest, but the defaulters in other hand, are neither absent in the CA meetings nor in other functions, their photo blocks are appeared in the news print but never got into the police catch.
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– Mr. Shrestha is a senior Journalist.
* After the new political change took place, the country has been ruled by 4 sets of the Government so far, all known as Care taker Governments. Mr. Puspa Kamal Dahal – Prachanda, the leader of UCPN-M led the first set of the Government for 9 months as the Prime Minister. The 2nd set was led by Mr. Madhav Km. Nepal, the leader of UML for more than 18 months, the 3rd set was led by Mr. Jhala Nath Khanal, the leader of UML again for more than 9 months and the 4th set is being led by Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai, the second leader of UCPN-M as a PM again on its 5th month.