It seems as though some political parties are afraid of facing the people and are crating unnecessary din in the name of protesting the government decision to go for a fresh Constituent Assembly election. This is no more than a foul cry as these parties, specially the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML, are trying to block and disrupt the election which is the best democratic exercise to ensure people’s active participation in the political process and decision making. These two parties along with a few other fringe ones organized a mass meeting the other day, which they described as a show of strength against the government; the opposition leaders, one after another, fired scathing salvo against the ruling coalition and demanded resignation of the Prime Minister.
In a democracy, protests and criticisms are a natural phenomenon which is required to alert the government and also to check the government from going the wrong path. It is the duty of the opposition to criticize the government which, to some extent, helps ensure perfect checks and balances. This is the beauty of a democratic polity, in which peaceful protests are not only allowed but are welcome. However, this is not the right time for the ruling and opposition parties to be divided. The country is in a critical juncture which demands a broad national consensus and meaningful cooperation among the major political forces of the country. Now the attempt of the first Constituent Assembly to write a new constitution failed because of the partisan agenda of the major political forces. Had the parties been united and worked taking into account the broader national interest and people’s aspirations, the constitution would have been promulgated and the country would have entered into a new era of peace, stability and prosperity. Unfortunately, that did not happen due to the parties’ arrogance and the gamut of exercises carried out during the last four years were wasted.
Now the government has announced fresh election for the new Constituent Assembly which needs to be completed in a peaceful and impartial manner. But some political parties have vowed to foil and disrupt the electoral process. This is an undemocratic and apolitical move which does not suit to the parties that have fought for democracy for decades. This is not the right time on part of parties to trade charges but to extend cooperation to each other. If there are any political differences, they can be settled through dialogue and negotiation for which the government is always open. But the electoral process should by no means be disrupted. In the present political situation, there can be no better alternative than the election. Thus, parties need to work together to make the election free, fair and peaceful.