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The Democratisation of Political Parties in Nepal: Challenges and Solution

Nepal Ma Dalharuko Loktantrikaran: Chunauti ra Samadhan (Democratization of Political Parties in Nepal: Challenges and Solutions)

Published Year: 2014

Published by: Center for Legal Consultancy and Research (CeLCAR)/ Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)

Edited by: Bhesh Raj Adhikari

Price: Not mentioned, Pages: 191

ISBN 978-9937-2-7745-7



Like the country is reeling under transition, the political parties are also passing through the similar evolutionary processes. The intense internal dynamisms within almost all parties have not only become visible but they have also created repercussions for the entire political process. The ongoing process of statute writing can move fast or be bogged down owing to the internal conflicts within the key forces. These conflicts mostly arise from the leaders' irrational desires to capture the posts, powers and resources within and outside the parties. It is beyond doubt that the parties are agents of socio-economic transformations. But, what happens if the parties themselves suffer from democratic deficits? Therefore, democratisation of the parties is the key to the democratisation of other institutions in the society. Keeping this philosophy in mind, the CeLCAR and the FES, Nepal office have jointly published a book to provide the theoretical and pragmatic concepts to solve the intra-party conflicts and promote internal democracy. The book contains 11 writes-up from the experts and leaders of different parties. These articles are the reproductions from their working papers and speeches made during a series of seminars jointly organised by these two offices.

CPN-UML Parliamentary Party leader KP Oli puts forth his views on 'the Formation of the Political Parties in Nepal: Challenges and Solution'. He focuses on the evolution of the parties in Nepal, in general, and challenges in forming and handling the communist parties, in particular. He is candid on his opinions when he says that there are barely two per cent of cadres and leaders, who have actually understood the communist principle and the remaining 98 per cent are not communists in the strict sense of the term. "Those, who want to be identified themselves as communist, should mould themselves into communist philosophically. But, here the socio-economic bases and conscious have not appeared for the emergence of the people considered to be a true communist class. This social reality has also reflected on the communist parties," he admits. According to him, it is not ideology but idea that is ruling the roost since the start of the communist movement. Here Oli has taken the meaning of idea as gambit that a cabal of politburo members were engaged in to constantly push CPN founder Pushpa Lal on the periphery of left movement. Oli univocally stands for building leadership on the basis of ideology and discarding the game of equation, which he says, prevents the honest and good people from reaching the leadership rung.

In 'Parties in Loktantra,' Dev Raj Dahal writes that the values and definition of Loktantra are changing owing to the four factors - the popular sovereignty, social inclusiveness, the right of the citizens to participate in the decision of the matters affecting them and the right of the people to decide the things that concern them. "The country needs to be sovereign in politics, laws and development policies. The people will not take the ownership of the development policies that are formulated by the outsiders. Neither do such policies help expedite the development activities." Dahal is wary of the tendency of advocating the small identities and forgetting the national ones. He suggests elevating the people to the citizens to resolve the question of identity, the most contested issue of the constitution writing process. "The people need to be elevated to citizens and imparted civic education. Once the people become citizens, they will have equal identity, equal rights and equal responsibilities. This helps democratise the parties." The Gramscian impulses also run in his write-up when he calls for encouraging organic intellectuals inside the parties: "The reports of foreign consultants, hired by the government, are dime a dozen because they are prepared by inorganic intellectuals, who lack national feelings and cognizance of the country's reality." Dahal underlines the need for the democratisation of the new political forces and socialisation of the old ones.

UML vice-chair Bidhya Bhandari provides an ideological insight into People's Multiparty Democracy (PMD), a guiding principle of UML. She says: "The PMD accepts that plurality exists in society, life and nature. Without plurality, there is no conflict, and without conflict there will not be progress. The competition for progress starts from nature. This occurs only in plural system. One can prove his/her superiority through fair competition. This dialectical truth also applies in politics. The PMD is committed to democracy and seeks to conserve energy through progressive reforms for the radical social changes."

Chairman of Administrative Court Kashi Raj Dahal's write-up sheds light on the role of political parties in building Loktantrik state. "In Loktantra, the parties are the medium of the expression of the people's opinions. The citizens and voters are the sources of rights that the parties use. The socio-economic transformations will not be smooth until the activities of the parties are clean and the leadership is competent with political vision, integrity and a sense of sacrifice."

UML secretary Shankar Pokhrel emphasises the democratisation of the party's life for the solution of intra-party conflict. He notes that the parties should focus on the ideological sphere, develop democratic organisational structure, culture and collective leadership, hold periodic conventions, fix the office term for executive post holders, put the mechanism in place for check and balance, guarantee the sovereignty of cadres and ensure the economic transparency.

UML spokesperson Pradeep Gyawali views that democratisation of the parties is key to the democratisation of society. NC leader NP Saud minutely observes the factors behind the intra-party conflicts. His points are: Fight for the post and personality clashes, struggle for opportunities and the control of resources, the conflict for the regional and ethnic identities, the past feudal legacies and ideological divisions and deviations. UCPN-M leader Giriraj Mani Pokahrel analyses the effects of inter- and intra-party conflicts on Loktantra while political analyst Pursotam Dahal sees conflicts in Loktantra as natural. CeLCAR chairman Hikmat Karki calls for formulating right policies and outlook to address the issues relating to Loktantra, people's livelihood and nationality. "This is because ultra-leftist anarchism and status quoism cannot take the country on the right direction." CeLCAR secretary Bhesh Raj Adhikari suggests adopting proper democratic methods for building ideology, party and leadership.

At the moment, the ruthless infighting, verbal wars and splits have plagued many parties. Against this backdrop, the book comprising the articles of major parties' leaders can be immensely useful to understand the nature and intention of intra-party bickering and for their possible solution. Not only the politicians and their cadres, but the common readers and those interested in political matters can also equally benefit from it.

Source: Friday Supplement, The Rising Nepal (11 July 2014)

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