Messy politics and a way out
Since the provincial assembly elections on December 26, 2022, Koshi has witnessed a series of changes in leadership. Hikmat Karki from the CPN-UML and Uddhav Thapa from the Nepali Congress both took turns as chief minister within a short period. However, their administrations fell as they failed to win a vote of confidence.
Presently, Kedar Karki, aligned with Nepali Congress’ anti-establishment faction, has been sworn in as the chief minister of Koshi province, succeeding Parshuram Khapung, the province chief, in compliance with Article 168 of the Constitution. He secured his position on Saturday with the backing of 47 members of the Province Assembly. Karki, known for his proximity to NC leader Shekhar Koirala, managed to clinch the chief ministership with the support of 39 PA members from CPN-UML and eight PA members from the NC, despite opposition from the coalition government at the Center against a new coalition in Koshi.
Currently, Koshi has sidestepped the need for midterm elections. However, the political turmoil unfolding in Koshi since the Nov 2022 polls is a glaring example of the avarice within the Nepali political fraternity. It unequivocally reflects how the country’s precarious state in every aspect can be attributed to the actions of politicians. These political leaders demonstrate an inability to govern the country in an organized manner and adhere to the constitutional framework. Because of these politicians, the constitution has become nothing but an ordinary paper.
In the past, Nepal maintained a cohesive foreign policy that garnered respect. However, this approach was disregarded by politicians, and they have struggled to formulate a coherent replacement. Our political leaders express divergent views on the national foreign policy. Even the same politicians present varying stances in different gatherings and platforms. For instance, when visiting the US, they endorse the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Conversely, during visits to China, they show appreciation for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Their positions are contradictory.
Nepal has sufficient natural, human, financial and infrastructural resources that can be utilized or managed effectively to enhance the country’s economic, social and overall development. These resources include minerals, water resources, agricultural land, skilled workforce, tourism potential and more. With proper planning, utilization and management of these resources, Nepal can achieve growth, improve living standards and enhance its overall prosperity. But a failed leadership has kept the country in a mess.
Despite operating within a multi-party system, Nepal is increasingly trending toward an autocratic and a single-party rule due to the prevalent practice of forming coalitions. Consequently, this trend has diminished parliamentary competitiveness. The present ruling coalition perceives itself as beyond the bounds of the Constitution and has engaged in numerous actions that surpass the confines of the legal framework.
Even neighboring countries have not extended us significant help in maintaining peace, prosperity and fostering development. It's evident that they prioritize actions that align with their own interests, and it is our responsibility to ensure our own well-being.
At present, the Nepali Congress holds a pivotal position in the Parliament. It should ideally lead the country, but the current leadership of the party appears to lack a clear direction. They have struggled to maintain the traditional essence and values of the party. Given the state of Nepali political parties, our parliamentary system is at the risk of faltering.
There is an urgent need for a strong leadership within the Nepali Congress. As the largest democratic party in Nepal, it’s vital for the party to function effectively and set a proper course. This would not only benefit the party but also contribute positively to the national political landscape.
What if political parties, especially the Congress, fail to deliver? Such failure could lead the country toward another wave of political change, something we have been witnessing over the decades.
The author is a member of the Supreme Court Bar and has been practicing corporate law for around three decades
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