By Gopal Khanal (27 August 2020) – It is proven that extremist approach cannot solve problems, be they of political, religous or any other nature. It is driven by ideology that largely undermines the reasoning while confronting with political and social movements. Political and religious extremism are detrimental to the development of a nation even though identifying extremism is still a debatable issue.
This writer does not seek to delve into notion of extremism but the extreme thoughts, moves and actions which ultimately place the campaigners and advocates of such thoughts in an awkward situation. But it doesn’t mean there is no way out for them to return to the comfort zone. Advocacy of extreme measures and views can sometimes be a strategy to stop other kinds of similar thoughts and moves. But it cannot be a problem solver in the first place. On the domestic front, a couple of decisions and developments concerning the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), COVID-19 pandemic and political appointments and resulting repercussions as seen in social media sites serve as living proof of the limit of the extreme line.
The first is about the renewed unity within the NCP. Following the long-drawn-out bickering, the two Chairmen – Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ – eventually agreed to maintain strong unity in the party. On August 24, they received the report submitted by the taskforce and set the meeting of party secretariat on 29 August with an aim to endorse the consensus document. After the ratification of the 9-member secretariat, the ongoing meeting of the party standing committee will formally take ownership of the resolution.
The chairmen duo naturally played leading role to save the party unity. Senior leaders, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal, might have also played crucial role to uphold the unity but they seem reluctant to take the ownership of that unity document. Since Nepal and Khanal, both the former party chief and Prime Ministers, stuck to their guns. They refused to compromise with Oli until the latter resigned from both posts – Chairman and PM.
The second is the political appointment, latest being Prof. Dr. Upendra Koirala as the board member of Rastriya Banijya Bank. Prof Koirala had just been completed his full tenure as the VC of Mid-Western University. He is the exemplary beneficiary of the lucrative political appointments. No doubt, Koirala is capable to execute any role given to him, but such decisions create public wrath. It is also a kind extremism.
We should be realist and pragmatist, too. After the establishment of federal democratic republic Nepal and till the parliamentary elections of 2017, there was a wave of opening new political parties claiming that these parties will provide alternative to the existing parties – CPN-UML, NC, CPN-Maoist and Madhesi-based parties.
The self-claimed ‘alternative forces’ – be it Bibeksheel, Sajha or other fringe parties – could not show their presence in the national politics. It seems they have been in the stage of survival of the fittest. It doesn’t mean that the major two parties – NCP and NC- exist forever and go without alternatives. Without clarity in principles and ideology and with just the combination of some aspiring youths cannot challenges the parties with 70 plus years of history and vast organisational base from centre to the grassroots. It is not irrelevant to say that a new party cannot change the country’s political landscape overnight.
Look at yet another case. The risk of COVID-19 has further increased. In such a critical time, everybody should be fighting against the pandemic. But some people have been misbehaving those, who are tirelessly working day and night to save the lives of corona patients. Doctors, nurses, paramedics and security personnel are in the field serving the people knowing that they can get infected any time. Instead of supporting and encouraging them, some people have been treating them as untouchables. How can one be so cruel and rude to ask the doctors and nurses to leave their residence? It is a shameful act. Such acts will not reduce the risk of the pandemic.
Russia and China have developed vaccines for COVID-19. While Russia became the first country in the world to register a vaccine, China is the latest country to accelerate works on vaccine. Both the countries have been using these vaccines in their citizens for trial. Nepal has also approached both Russia and China for the status of the vaccines and possible availability. But some people here have started blaming the government for making Nepal guinea pig. Such extreme thoughts cannot support the government, which has been pulling out all stops despite many constraints.
Any country can deploy extremism as their strategic card to garner domestic and foreign support at the crucial time of elections or war against the enemies. But on domestic front, such attitude will get the parties nowhere.
This article first appeared in The Rising Nepal