There is a unique if expected element to the ongoing ‘unity convention’ between the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and Rastriya Janashakti Party (RJP) at Bhrikutimandap in the heart of Kathmandu: It is hard to find many young faces among the gathering masses. Expected because very little about these two parties resonates with the youth (roughly, the 16-40 age cohort), which, at 40 percent of the total population, will play a decisive role in the outcome of the new CA polls. On the far left, the incendiary rhetoric of UCPN (Maoist) and CPN-Maoist can still pull huge masses. It helps that UCPN (Maoist) has managed to put together a vast war chest of resources by leveraging its clout as the largest party. Madheshis of all persuasions naturally gravitate towards the new forces that have emerged since the 2007 Madheshi Uprising. Nepali Congress and CPN-UML still retain their appeal as the ‘moderate’ democratic forces. On the far right, Kamal Thapa-led RPP (Nepal) finds strong adherents among those nostalgic about monarchy and the Hindu state.
Politics comes as an appendage to almost everything in Nepal. Either we almost never tried to separate it from the rest, or it is just the way politics runs in a country inflicted with poverty, illiteracy and corruption, which every decade is witness to a revolution. Looking back at the revolutions, it seems the Nepali citizens’ or revolutionaries’ mandates for the revolution were always obscure. Many people blindly supported a few people who rose to the ranks of leaders, and those few people fed their power hungry strategies through the masses’ blood and toil. As a citizen, I thought it was a matter of national shame that Chairman of UCPN(Maoist), the largest political party of the country, Pushpa Kamal Dahal—confessed on a program on May 8, 2013 in Kathmandu that the destructive methods and definitions of patriotism his party had followed and preached during the revolution was the wrong way to go. Coming after 16 years since the start of the armed-insurgency, the death of about 15,000 people, and the toppling of almost a dozen governments, the statement only serves to illustrate the perfunctory politics, without any solid agenda and vision, which runs in our country. Ever since I became aware of Nepal’s politics, members and leaders of every party have been continuously changing their statements about their party’s mission and vision. Conflicting statements and behaviors from different members of the same political party have become old news in Nepal.
May 9, 2013 was declared to be the day of climate milestone after the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm). This was the first time that the daily readings reached 400 ppm since two teams of scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii started measuring the level of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere 55 years ago. Not just in 55 years, but scientists say that this is the highest level of CO2 since Pliocene—the geological era between three to five million years ago, when human civilization did not even exist in this planet.