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Let past mistakes guide NC

Let past mistakes guide NC

For decades, the internal political landscape of Nepal has been ruined by fragility and political discord. Despite the nation’s yearning for peace, prosperity and democratic governance, political leaders have consistently fallen short in addressing these fundamental aspirations. Among the political entities in Nepal, the Nepali Congress stands as one of the oldest and ostensibly the most committed to principles of liberal democracy, the rule of law, human rights and freedom. However, it has, regrettably, failed to live up to the expectations of the Nepali populace, who have looked to it for leadership in navigating the country toward a brighter future.

Internal power struggles, personal egos and political polarization have plagued Nepali politics since the democratic movement of the 1990s. Despite being the largest political party, the Nepali Congress has struggled to earn the trust of opposition factions, notably the CPN-UML. Conversely, the CPN-UML has often prioritized power dynamics over the nation-building agenda, further aggravating the challenges facing Nepali democracy. The Nepali Congress must acknowledge its shortcomings and learn from past mistakes to effectively address the evolving needs and challenges confronting the Nepalis. The Nepali Congress must shift its focus toward forging democratic alliances, articulating a comprehensive long-term economic vision and enhancing governance structures.

The ethos of the Nepali Congress, as envisioned by its founder Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala, emphasizes the importance of political ideology in guiding its actions. However, despite being identified as a center-left political party that promotes multiparty democracy, term-based elections, human rights, a free economy, and the rule of law, the Nepali Congress has struggled to consolidate democratic forces and collaborate effectively for national development. Over the past two decades, the Nepali Congress has engaged in alliances with various political entities, including radical Maoists, in its pursuit of governance. Yet, these alliances have often been short-lived, driven by the opportunistic pursuit of power rather than a genuine commitment to the nation’s welfare.

The recent political maneuvers of leaders like Dahal highlight the need for the Nepali Congress to recognize and respond to such instability and opportunism effectively. The Nepali Congress needs to strengthen its internal unity and construct a robust democratic alliance ahead of the forthcoming elections. This requires a clear and coherent communication of the party’s liberal political beliefs to the Nepali people, emphasizing the value of freedom and the obligation of a government that respects individual choices. The Nepali Congress should lead the effort to establish a larger ideological political party by bringing together smaller parties like the National Democratic Party, Madhesi Dals and the Rastriya Swatantra Party. Left-leaning political groups should undertake similar initiatives. This would offer the Nepalis a choice between two major political entities, fostering a stronger and more stable government.

From an economic standpoint, the Nepali Congress has championed a free-market approach, leading to some degree of economic growth. Nevertheless, political instability and socialist rhetoric have significantly hindered Nepal’s economic progress. Furthermore, socialist principles entrenched in Nepal’s constitution have deterred domestic and foreign investors from freely investing in the country. To tackle these systemic and ideological challenges, the Nepali Congress must unveil a pragmatic and sustainable economic agenda that aligns with the aspirations of the Nepali people. This entails avoiding unrealistic pledges and false hopes peddled by competing left-leaning political parties.

Moreover, the Nepali Congress must spearhead discussions on the necessity of a streamlined and efficient government structure. While decentralization, including federalism, is integral to accommodating Nepal’s diverse landscape, the proliferation of bureaucracy poses a significant financial burden on the nation. This is an opportune moment for the Nepali Congress to advocate for a more effective and lean government structure, capable of delivering essential services to the people without undue complexity or financial strain.

Nepali Congress must prioritize ideological clarity, realistic economic policies and efficient governance structures to regain the trust and confidence of the Nepali people. By learning from past mistakes and embracing a vision centered on the nation's well-being, the Nepali Congress can chart a course toward a more prosperous and democratic future for Nepal. Rebuilding trust among the Nepali people is essential for the party to acknowledge the significance of accountability and transparency in governance. Upholding these principles not only enhances public confidence but also promotes good governance and sustainable development. The Nepali Congress’ experiences offer valuable guidance for navigating the complexities of Nepali politics and governance, offering lessons pertinent not only to the party but also to Nepal's broader political arena.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s sole responsibility and do not reflect the views of any organization with which he is professionally affiliated