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New forces deserve a chance to transform Nepal

New forces deserve a chance to transform Nepal
We, the people of Nepal, now disown all socially misfit, politically dogmatic and morally degraded individuals donning the garb of politicians. The landslide victory of political novelty, charismatic leadership and the individuals, who have the good of the people and the country at heart, is what we expect in the 2027 general elections. That victory will be a landslide rejection of bygone-era dogmas and gospel of socialism so that the haters and dividers will never rise again. It’ll have to spearhead against the mañana mentality—the regular tendency of putting off until tomorrow what can be done today. We know the politics of our geopolitical, geostrategic and geo-economic contexts, and what best politics can produce. We now need to categorize and showcase the actions into social, political, cultural and economic folders. Current governance politicizes every citizen’s concerns—it’s a political immaturity that always misleads, misguides, deceives and distorts our spirit of change, hope for political novelty and noble need of good governance. Political patriarchs and their swarms of henchmen perform no meaningful action for the commoners. Leaders follow leaders; some are bad, others are very bad. Most state organs and their services are wobbly, wonky and unsteady.

Neither they put national priorities on the frontburner nor do they strategize national strategies. Sickening scenes have been staged as alliances are made and broken—the undignified path of collusion for short-term gains. Unprecedented political choreography can be seen in Nepali politics—a Leftist party forges alliance with the Rightist one striving to get the political benefits of state’s power buttons, defeat rival factions within organizations, devouring opposite parties across the aisle in the parliamentary melodrama, crushing the coalitions so as to exercise de facto power without being in power; these racketeers must be voted out.

Regressive, revisionist and extremist ideas through religious fanaticism are steadily gaining strength—as the last local, provincial and general elections have shown—and lurking to plague those inclusive and accommodative socioeconomic and political achievements tossing all the progressive forces aside. Despite their many names, most of the political forces in Nepal have proven themselves as center-left parties. The new custodians of the nation must, therefore, exercise accountability, responsiveness and direct link to the people upholding meritocracy in every move. They should intervene into politics for reforming the education system, public service delivery system and prepare state mechanisms to combat pandemics, climate crises, growing inequalities, rising debt burdens, economic shocks and many other crises that can eventually morph into a greater humanitarian crisis. Other crucial actions for making the state resilient are addressing the recurrent problems of long-standing infrastructure gaps, structural socioeconomic challenges and enormous development needs. They must address challenges of foreign policy priorities resulting from a land-locked geography and encirclement of nuclear powers. Nepal's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, freedom, protection of national interest, and promotion of national respect and dignity must always top the list. Additionally, they must internalize the values of sovereign equality, Panchsheel, mutual respect and benefit, among others, something which the existing leadership has largely failed to do. Then comes justice, equality and accountability accompanying the spirit of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Economic progress and prosperity, ecological balance, human security and conservation of the planet complete Nepal’s foreign policy pantheon. Apart from that, these forces need to comply sincerely with Nepal’s foreign policy priorities so as to shape their foreign policy behavior. A member of the UN’s Peacebuilding Commission, Nepal’s troop contribution to UN peacekeeping missions is the second largest. Nepal was an elected non-permanent member of the UN Security Council twice, in 1969-1970 and 1988-1989, and is now a member of the UNHRC for the second time (2021-2023). What’s more, it’s role is enlarging. Given this context, these forces need to act simultaneously on foreign policy priorities for the neighborhood, South Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Central Asia, West Asia and Africa, Europe and the Americas, regional cooperation—SAARC, BIMSTEC, BBIN etc—not to mention multilateral affairs. They must acknowledge the norms of Non-Alignment while dealing with IPS, BRI, QUAD, RCEP and other strategic and economic global alliances. Nepal is soon graduating from LDC and the nascent leaders must grasp this. To graduate from the LDC category, according to the UNCTAD 2022 report, it must meet the established graduation thresholds of at least two of the three criteria for two consecutive triennial reviews—the Income Per Capita, an Index of Human Assets and an Index of Economic and Environmental Vulnerability. A myopic socio-political vision further worsens the nation’s image. So, pragmatic approaches for enhancement of strong economic diplomacy, promotion of soft powers, jobs for youths in the country, protecting industrial sector, export-oriented industrial policy, modernization of agriculture, promotion of tourism and protection of Nepalis at home and abroad are immediate actions to be taken to get rid of ever yawning socio-economic gaps. It is evident that the government's legitimacy relies on trust of sovereign people. When the people stop believing in it, a government loses legitimacy. People are not like Newton’s ‘mass’ that remains at rest or motion until external force is applied; people regenerate their needs and aspirations, and forces of circumstances create their able leaders to mobilize them. The credibility of established institutions and leadership also are questioned. Presently, widespread distrust toward government mechanisms and state institutions have come to light. Words like democracy, government, service delivery, justice, free press, economic growth and welfare have so far become discredited. We cannot deny pro-public features of democracy. Fascinatingly, public opinion expressed through the recent by-election is a genuine expression of mass frustration and anger. Such consequences reveal distrust and legitimacy gaps in the community. Therefore, we must apply democratic forces for the abrupt collapse of stagnant political dogmas, erratic populism and victory of democracy, multiplicity, inclusiveness, and ultimately the triumph of We the People through a sovereign voting right.