Communist alliance’s election victory for prosperous Nepal under new political theory
Following the Constitution of Nepal 2015, general elections were held on November 26 and December 07, 2017. Nepal Communist Party—United Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML) and Nepal Communist Party Maoist-Center (NCP-MC) formed a Communist Alliance (ComA) promising to provide stable government which Nepal lacks since the Partyless Panchayat system (1960-1990).
The ComA convinced the general public that the century old Nepali Congress Party (NCP) got two-third majority in 1959, majority in 1991 and 2000 and became the largest party in 2014 but without any vision, it dragged Nepal backward. As a result, the country is reeling under multiple problems. The list of blames ComA presented against NCP is too long. However, the major blames include: closing and selling many industries at throwaway prices that patriotic King Mahendra had established with the help of China and Russia; closing of industries compelled 1,500-1,700 working age people to leave Nepal each day for jobs; Nepali people are forced to work in hostile environments elsewhere; the hostile environment takes lives of 4-5 Nepali people each day; implementing neoliberal economic agendas created Nepal a consumer market for Indian low quality commodities; consumption of Indian goods by Nepali has increased Nepal’s trade deficits with India; institutionalizing corruption; clandestinely supporting those groups who are demanding states inside the Nepali state (indicating Madhesis) with the aim of offering executive posts to Indians by granting citizenships; surrendering Nepal’s water resources to India including Koshi, Gandak, and Mahakali Rivers; tacitly supporting India’s economic blockade while the country was marred by 7.8 M earthquakes in 2015; and prioritizing private and medical schools at the cost of public schools thus making education unaffordable to ordinary Nepali; and many more.
The ComA made a case that if NCP’s rule prevails in Nepal again, it will be questionable whether Nepal will exist as a country, and Nepali will have any identity because NCP respects foreigners (indicating Indians) more than Nepalis. One of the coalition partners, CPN-MC became the world’s model party joining both opposition and government at the same time, but ComA strongly advocated this act as the need for guaranteeing fair election.
Ill prepared NCP-leadership tried convincing people that if ComA succeeds (as per their original commitments expressed during their first alliance meeting held at the National Assembly Hall (NAH), it will impose totalitarian rule in Nepal. People were not convinced with NCP’s arguments of ComA becoming totalitarians. ComA leaders were quick to give a 80 degree twist to their original expressions expressed in the NAH.
The ComA went to people asking for a total majority by presenting a decade-long wish-list which include, but not limited to: increasing per capita from Rs. 250,000 to Rs. 500,000; producing 15,000 megawatt electricity; operating modern train service parallel to East-West and Pushpalal Mid-hill Highways; constructing of Rashuwagadi–Kathmandu-(Birgunj)-Pokhara-Lumbini railways; operating monorails in various metropolitan cities; operating cable car services in various parts; developing waterways in Gandaki, Karnali and Koshi Rivers; having national flag career ships on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; establishing one Special Economic Zone in each province that provides employment to over 100,000 youths in each province and bringing back over 4.3 million youths working elsewhere including those working in India to Nepal; establishing at least one economic village in each rural municipality; constructing three stadiums in three districts of Kathmandu Valley accommodating 50,000 spectators in each stadium and one stadium each of the same size in every province; promoting Dhangadi, Nepalgunj, Tulsipur, Ghorahi, Butwal, Bhairahawa, Birgunj, Janakpur, Biratnagar, Dharan and Birtamod municipalities into metropolitan cities; establishing 10 new cities each along the Hulaki Highway and Pushpalal Mid-hill Highway; creating Kathmandu Valley as mega city served with monorails; increasing per person old-age social security allowances to Rs 5,000 from current Rs. 3,000, and providing Rs 5,000 for nutrition and warm clothes for new mothers and babies born at government hospitals; and granting 14 weeks of maternity leave for new working mothers. Additional promises include ensuring employment for at least one member of each family, and a work-plan ensuring employment to every 18 years old citizen within the next three years and guaranteeing enough food for each Nepali.
Elections were held for 275-member House of Representatives, 165 (from first-past-the-post–FPTP) and 110 from proportional representation (PR) system for the federal level. Likewise, elections were also held for 330 FPTP and 220 PR seats for seven provinces. In the election, Nepali people have positively responded to ComA’s call with almost two-third majority by shrinking NCP with a total of 23 seats in the federal parliament and 41 in the provinces under FPTP. The ComA jointly has become the most powerful political force in the history of Nepal without any fear: from the king as NCP faced in 1959; no threat from civil servants as NCP faced in 1991 when the HoR was stalled for over a month; no worries for tearing down of road-railings throughout the country which NCP government faced after the accidental death of Madan Bhandari and many offices were forcefully closed for few days; and no Maoist armed-insurgency that took 17,000 lives.
The ComA has changed the political landscape promising to make Nepal economically, socially and politically strong without aid dependency. The ComA also has vowed to terminate the India-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 and start afresh cooperative economic policy with India. In the victorious rally in Jhapa, top brasses of ComA have presented 50-year ruling plan, the first step being the recruitment of 100,000 teachers to teach Marxist Philosophy throughout the country similar to what communist leaders gave continuity to Alexander III’s (Tsar) plan of Russification to teach Communist philosophy to all Russians. Russification has become truly problematic after Gorbachev introduced Perestroika and Glasnost and Russian Republics of Central Asia are separated from the USSR. Also, promises were made to distribute public lands with the solidification of agricultural lands as was done in erstwhile USSR under the Sovkhoz and Kolkhoz plans and under the Commune system in China which failed boosting agricultural production.
Now it is time for the NCP to remain in opposition, help the ComA-led government to accomplish the promises it made during the election without creating hurdles like the Communist Parties of Nepal, especially, the CPN-UML and CPN-MC gave to NCP governments earlier, but sincerely document every act of ComA including the periodic interviews of communist leaders. Earlier, CPN-UML opposed constitution amendment as demanded by Madhesi terming it as NCP’s strategies to please India. In the general election, CPN-UML clandestinely supported Madhesi candidates against NCP candidates despite the fact that CPN-UML objected the demands of state inside the state by Madhesi leaders, but blamed NCP for supporting the idea of state inside the state. NCP very hardly fought against those who demanded state inside the state.
ComA is forming the most powerful government in Nepal while China is playing several key roles in world’s economies in general and Nepal in particular. Already, China has raised eyebrows for cancelling 1,200 MW Budhi Gandaki project with Gezhouba Group Corp terming it as “capricious backtracking” to please India, and ComA top brasses have promised to retract it. It will be interesting to see how ComA will reduce two-third share of Nepal’s imports from and trade deficits with India that enter Nepal through 22 border points as opposed to two points from China. Also, it will be interesting to see how ComA manages economy when Nepal needs Rs. 830 billion to run the federal administration for the next three years including infrastructures. Also, it will be interesting to see if there will be any effects on industrial development and bringing 4.3 million youths working elsewhere to Nepal while keeping ComA’s promises of hiking old age pension from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000 which takes almost 9 percent of total annual budget. Equally interesting will be how the promises of increasing per capita income from Rs. 250,000 to Rs. 500,000 will be met as it needs uninterrupted double digit economic growth annually.
The author is professor of geography at University of Central Missouri, US.
Published on 29 December 2017