Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the ruling Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar has underlined the need for new consensus among the existing political forces of Nepal to address the political problems facing the country. Speaking at a press conference held at his party’s central office in Lalitpur the other day, Deputy Prime Minister Gachchhadar, who also holds the portfolio of the Ministry of Home Affairs, said that elections were the only alternative left with the government to give the country an outlet to the present political crisis.
It is a fact that the elections were announced after all other options and efforts were exhausted. The Constituent Assembly was to expire at the midnight of May 27 without producing a new constitution, and if the elections had not been announced, there would have been a new constitutional crisis and political vacuum. Such a situation would have created uncertainty, confusion and anarchy in the country.
Since the previous Constituent Assembly had failed in its job to write a constitution, a new one has to be formed. Had the Constituent Assembly produced a new constitution, the country would have entered a new political era, which would have also facilitated in concluding the ongoing peace process. For this, all the political parties are responsible, although the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML must share the blame more because they neither helped in building national consensus on certain issues, especially on the federal model, nor did they agree on resolving the issues from the floor of the Constituent Assembly through a democratic process.
The UCPN-Maoist and Madhesi parties had been pushing for settling all issues through a vote in the Constituent Assembly, but the Congress and the UML blocked this process. As a result, the hope of the people to get a new constitution written by their own elected representatives was once again belied. This necessitated a new election, which alone can give a democratic outlet to the present crisis.
But the same parties that blocked the democratic process in the Constituent Assembly have opposed the announcement of the election and are trying to disrupt this democratic process. This has once again proved that these parties, despite their commitment to democracy and democratic norms, have failed to live up to their expectations. Since elections are the best democratic process to involve the people in the political process, all the political parties must uphold and utilise it to consolidate the democratic process and steer the country out of the present political deadlock and uncertainty. This is a time when greater wisdom and maturity on the part of our political parties and leaders are needed.