Editorial: Opt for a middle path
As they say, a week is a long time in politics. What about a month or a couple of months?
Well, it’s a pretty long time, even for a laid-back society.
Let’s leave politics aside and roam around a bit. Seasons come and go every three months. Numerous flowers blossom, die and fall. Larvaes turn into beautiful butterflies in 2-5 weeks, depending on factors like species and growing conditions.
Wheat becomes ready for harvest in about four months whereas paddy takes up to six months, depending on things like varieties, growing conditions and agronomic practices.
But politics, the Nepali strain in particular, appears to be a different ball-game altogether.
The federal parliament of Nepal offers a not-so-shining example.
The summer session of the parliament is coming to an end at midnight on Thursday. In its final hours, the opposition parties and the ruling parties are busy blaming each other for the sovereign body’s failure to introduce important legislations during the seven-month session.
The main opposition has blamed the government for not listening to it and forcing it to encircle the well to make its voice heard. The second largest party in the parliament has defended its moves, stating that they were meant to make the government take corrective measures like the formation of a high-level commission for investigating the 60-kg gold smuggling case.
It has also accused the government of failing to give the House business.
On its part, the government has said that obstructions from the opposition bench, the main opposition in particular, are mainly to blame for the inefficiency of the parliament. While the opposition bench has every right to raise voices, it should not have brought the parliamentary proceedings to a halt, it has reasoned.
The blame-game aside, the failures of the parliament are indeed glaring. Crucial bills on truth and reconciliation and money-laundering remain stuck. The bill on loan-sharking has made it through the parliament, though there’s no dearth of critics, who take it as a half-baked one.
The government as well as the Office of the President have come under fire for presenting and authenticating a Citizenship Amendment Bill in a very controversial manner. The presidential pardon in murder cases, granted on the recommendation of the government, has not gone well either.
As for the achievements, there is not much to brag about. The ruling dispensation managed to get the budget for the fiscal 2023/24 through. And in the penultimate hours of the session, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the joint meeting of the parliament.
The seven-month session is over, but the opposition and the ruling parties can still learn important lessons from it.
While the government should give more space to the opposition bench, listen more to it and do its utmost to address its concerns, the latter should also give up it’s my way or highway attitude.
Opposition parties have accused the three major parties, including the main opposition, of holding the parliament hostage for their petty interests. The main opposition and the government should take this charge seriously.
Summing up, a principles-based conciliatory approach across the aisle will go a long way in making the parliament more effective.
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