By Gopal Khanal (KATHMANDU, 21 December 2021) – Chairman of Nepal Communist Party (Prachanda-Madhav faction), Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on 17 January threatened to stage crusade against Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. Prachanda said he was even ready to launch ‘non-veg’ movement against the fresh elections for the House of Representatives (HoR). What he means by the ‘non-veg’ movement is not clear. This, however, reminds us of his violent background.
Prachanda has rich experience of the ruthless movement as he led the 10-year-long armed insurgency “People’s War”, in which more than 17,000 people were killed. He holds experience in peaceful movement, too, since he became the Prime Minister twice through ballot after leaving the obsolete goal of establishing the ‘dictatorship of proletariat.’
Nepal bore a huge burden of transforming Prachanda into Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Therefore, if he tries to restore his image again, it will be unacceptable. His threat to take the help of the ‘non-veg’ movement to deny elections would be detrimental to democracy and the rule of law. Such provocative statement will push him into further isolation.
It seems natural that both sides have claimed to prove them right by making statements and exchanging extreme personal allegations. Although the verbal character assassination of each other has been the common phenomenon, people have tolerated this with displeasure as part of destructive politics.
In Nepal, one thing has been settled: the quest for political and governance system. In other words, Nepali people should not launch yet another movement to establish political system since we have already ascertained the best governing system. After having fought three movements, now we have achieved our mission of people’s rule.
Nepali people have established the Federal Democratic Nepal overthrowing the centuries-old monarchy through the historic Constituent Assembly. The system as such is not bad. If there may be some questions, they are mostly because of the handling of leadership. The failure of leadership must not be taken as the failure of the system itself. If people want to review the system they introduced, they have every right to do so. But that should be done constitutionally.
No to bellicose words
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has dissolved the HoR, but not the whole parliament. The National Assembly, the permanent House, is in function. While dissolving the HoR, PM cited some Articles of the constitution and tried to project the move as a more political decision rather than constitutional one.
In Article 85 under the title of ‘Term of House of Representatives’, there is clear provision of HoR dissolution. The Article states: Unless dissolved earlier in pursuant to this constitution, the HoR shall be for five years. Similarly, Article 76 (7) has also the provision for the Prime Minister to recommend for the dissolution of HoR. The Article says – if the Prime Minister cannot be appointed, the President shall, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, dissolve the HoR and appoint a date of election so that the election to another HoR within six months.
These are the constitutional provisions. If the Prime Minister’s move is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court will give verdict accordingly, but the language of threat against the judiciary and the so-called ‘setting’ should be condemned.
If Oli and Prachanda are judged together, the former is far better than the latter by all terms. The Prachanda fraction has declared a full-fledged war against Oli and has taken to the streets, calling for the restoration of the HoR. Though the other parties – Nepali Congress (NC) and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) — have opposed the HoR dissolution, they have started looking for a poll option.
Ever since the Prachanda-Nepal faction took to the streets, the two as well as other leaders have launched vitriolic attacks against Oli. But none of the fractional leaders have convinced people about their move.
Prachanda has urged his activists, supporters and commoners to support what he called the undemocratic move of PM Oli. Madhav Kumar Nepal has been threatening that Oli would lose people’s support. Leader Nepal claims himself as the ‘real leader of CPN- UML’. Interestingly, Prachanda, who had denied fighting election using the then UML’s election symbol ‘Sun’ in the last election, is now demanding the very symbol for his group. It is quite hilarious to see Prachanda holding the Sun and protesting Oli.
Everyone has right to protest and support what they think is right. But the moves should be peaceful. But if Prachanda, Madhav Nepal or any other leaders try to provoke their activists towards violence, that should be denounced.
Oli’s vision for action
It is ridiculous to witness Prachanda’s allegation towards Prime Minister Oli as an authoritarian, despotic and undemocratic leader. As somebody who ran the party for 33 years as the chairman without holding election, it is not reasonable to blame Oli, who has dedicated his whole life to usher in democracy in the country. Oli has also been holding both the positions — Prime Minister and Chairman — by winning the elections.
Oli’s democratic credentials cannot be challenged at least by Prachanda, whose mission was to be a dictator of the proletariat. It was fortunate for Nepal that Prachanda ended his dream in compromise and followed Madan Bhandari’s path of ‘people’s multiparty democracy’, though he denies it.
Therefore, Prachanda should not dare to challenge Oli on advocating democracy and rule of law. Oli has said in his book ‘Vision To Action’ – ‘Believe me, democracy is the foundation for our journey to prosperity.’ PM Oli has also said the new federal system is entirely new experience for us. The system is not free of challenges. But we are moving forward by learning by doing and overcoming difficulties’. How can Oli, who led the promulgation of the constitution, violate the constitutional arrangement?
Even after the dissolution of HoR, the Prime Minister appears to be confident ever. His sole focus is to hold the election on April 30 and May 10. In nutshell, Prachanda and Madhav Nepal should protest peacefully, but cannot instigate violence. Both of them should understand the fact that election is the best exercise to nurture democracy.