By Gopal Khanal (KATHMANDU, 8 October 2020) – Finally, the State 5 got its name – Lumbini, and its capital is Bhalubang (Deukhuri valley) of Dang district. The State Assembly on 6 October endorsed the proposal of State government to establish its capital in Dang. During voting, 69 of 87 lawmakers voted for Bhalubang, 13 lawmakers voted against the motion.
This is the first State, which decided to move out the capital in new place from the existing temporary capital, Butwal. Other five States have converted the temporary capital into the permanent ones. Faced with multiple complications including likely backlash from local people, these States turned their temporary capitals into permanent. It was a bold move that made history. It was possible only under the capable leadership of Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel.
Some members of main opposition, Nepali Congress, had vandalised the assembly hall on 5 October, which was against the democratic norms and practice. It was not the official policy of Nepali Congress. Party spokesperson Biswa Prakash Sharma condemned the vandalism. It was understandably a political ploy for those who have been directly elected from the Rupandehi and its eastern surroundings. This is politics within the politics.
The State government and parliament took appropriate decision fixing Lumbini as its name and Deukhuri Valley as its capital.
Lumbini is famous not only in Nepal but all over the world since Prince Siddhartha Gautam of Shaky clan, was born here, who later became Buddha, the awakened one. Although born in royal family, he left all the royal comforts in search of truth, thereby liberating the people from ignorance and worldly sufferings. The followers of peace regard Lumbini as their only holy place and would like to visit once in their life time. Buddhism is not just a religion; it is a philosophy and guiding principle to achieve lasting peace and harmony in the world.
There are many Buddhist nations in the world, which, in principle, follow the path of peace and non-violence. For them, visiting Lumbini is to pay respect to Lord Buddha. Therefore, the name of State is appropriate and it will further establish Nepal’s identity in the world.
Second is concerned with the capital. Generally, capital is central in all terms, but geography dominates. The capital should be in the middle point of all the districts under the said State. In terms of geographic location, Dang is the central point of State -5 and it is the location which can be equally closer to all the districts from hill to the plains. Another plus point is there are enough areas to be built up as new capital.
These decisions have not been taken just because Dang is the home district of CM Pokharel. These decisions have justified the resources, locations, model of development and the sentiments of overwhelming majority of the people. The Chief Minister Pokharel is the senior most CM of all seven States in terms of his position within the party and his role in the government.
Known as an ideologue of the party, he is the one who offers intellectual interpretation of the People’s Multiparty Democracy (PMD), propounded by charismatic leader late Madan Bhandari. As a CM, he has proved his mettle as the best CM of the country. Some of the indicators of his State 5 are better than that of federal government.
Look at how he dealt with the people and politics of his State on the issues of capital and name.
He forwarded three major approaches, which will first develop the State and then contribute to the whole nation. The first was to make Deukhuri Valley as administrative capital of State 5, which has already been discussed before.
Second was about the industrial and financial capital of State 5. CM Pokharel didn’t completely turn down the demand of making Butwal the capital since he offered that Butwal would be made the financial and industrial capital of the State. It is the vision of overall development of the State. On the one hand, Butwal will remain the financial and industrial hub and on the other, Bhalubang will be also developed as administrative capital.
Third is the concept of religious capital. The State’s name itself is historic and represents the pride of Nepal. Moreover, CM Pokherel decided to transform Lumbini as the religious capital of not only the State 5 but of the nation. No doubt, Lumbini can be the game changer for Nepal; it can be the main source of foreign investment and currency.
CM Pokharel, who often visits federal capital either to attend the meetings of the party’s high command or as problem solver of the internal rift of the ruling party, has innovative ideas to make Nepal a developed and prosperous nation. It can be relevant to mention Narendra Modi’s claim to lead India after successfully leading the Gurajat state as Chief Minister of three consecutive terms. At the end of the day, action, not the rhetoric, matters. CM Pokharel proved as the best CM and could claim to lead not only the State but the nation, too.