It was a show to ponder, no doubt. Many people living in Kathmandu were jolted with a surprise on Saturday when the crowd gathered at the Open Air Theatre under the banner of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal) seemed bigger than that attending the mass meeting organized by 22 parties, including Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, two major political forces in the country, a day earlier. It is surprising because the RPP-N led by Kamal Thapa has been advocating for the revival of constitutional monarchy and the Hindu state at a time when the country is working towards institutionalizing the historic achievement of a republican system with secularism.
When the then King Gyanendra decided to take power into his hands becoming an autocratic ruler in 2005, the majority of the sovereign populace took to the street to overthrow him, turning Nepal from feudal monarchy to a democratic federal republic. Less than seven years have passed since Nepalis gave a verdict for change.
Towards creating the new Nepal that ensures the participation of all sections of the society in the development process and ends the traditional system of governance where the majority of the people had been left out of state affairs. But the efforts to resurrect the erstwhile feudal monarchy from a certain political party, and the apparent public backing for the effort, have left the people bewildered. The RPP-N has time and again accused the country’s major political forces of failing to fulfill people’s mandate. With the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly on May 27, this voice may have become stronger, adding ammunition to the belief that UCPN (Maoist), NC, CPN-UML and Madhesi parties have actually failed.
But we believe that this setback (CA dissolution) should not be taken as an example of the failure of the political parties or the failure of the system people fought for. Many people may see the untimely demise of CA as a major setback for democracy, but one should understand that drafting a constitution was never going to be an easy task. Given the nature of our society, and the level of awareness at the grassroots level, incorporating everyone’s views and demands still remains a major challenge. There were members in the CA who have contributed immensely in finding consensus on different issues. It was the political leadership that ‘hijacked’ the all-important issue of federalism from the CA, by not giving the representatives of the sovereign people an opportunity to delve into it.
In this regard, party leaderships definitely failed to work in the interest of all Nepalis. In order to crorrect this mistake, the parties should look to address the existing issues and grievances by involving the concerned groups in the negotiation processes and get the consent of the people before reaching a conclusion. There could be times when the supporters of the erstwhile feudal monarchy try to raise their heads; but that does not negate the fact that the responsibility for deciding the nation’s fate falls on the major parties that represent the majority of people. As the country has moved far ahead into a phase of drafting a constitution with democratic and federal republican system, there is no possibility of turning back to the old way of doing things