Personal tools
You are here: Home News Analysis and Views Deuba: Fear Slogan Won’t Work
Log in

Forgot your password?

Deuba: Fear Slogan Won’t Work

Issue October 2017

Deuba: Fear Slogan Won’t Work

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


As an advocate of democracy, I found the statement of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba that the left alliance between CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist-Center done for the federal and provincial elections has threatened democracy is very worrying, as it might adversely affect the democratic candidates in the direct election to the federal and provincial House of Representatives. It is a fear slogan Deuba has made; it won’t work for the upcoming elections rather it would backfire, as folks are not afraid of anybody assaulting democracy. People have crossed the line of fearing the loss of democracy. Nobody could do anything to democracy anymore if someone tries s/he would lose a foot of the body length as former Prime Minister Madhav Nepal once said borrowing the statement from the Soviet dictator Stalin. If Deuba is really for winning the elections then he needs to make election slogan such as “eliminating corruption, setting up rule of law, standing up to the foreign intervention, and fast socio-economic development.


Corruption is the deadly poison to the political parties and their leaders, and to the folks running the State administration in other worlds the rulers. If anybody could stop the corruption so ubiquitously prevailing in the political parties, State administration, and surely in the cabinet then the rule of law would spontaneously follow and the socio-economic development would be automatic. So, corruption has been killing the socio-economic development, and at times democracy and certainly the rulers, too.


Let us go back to the 1950s to see how we lost the democracy, and then how the corruption killed one political system after another.


The then Minister for Transport Ganeshman Singh went to the then Prime Minister BP Koirala and complained to him about the contractors not working, as they should in 1959. BP did not bother to respond to his minister, and kept mum accepting what the construction contractors were doing means making money at the cost of the nation building and economic development. I myself experienced the then local NC leaders practically ran the local administration, and openly demanded the payoff for having my house a city water connection. Corruption had been rampant just in one and a half year of the BP administration. The result was the overwhelmingly elected government of BP Koirala was so easily thrown out of office on December 15, 1960.


Then, Nepalese folks anticipated that the then king Mahendra would run the administration cleanly and make the country prosperous. However, Mahendra instead of developing the country fast and running the administration without any corruption, he introduced his own style of corruption, and made the system called Panchayat he introduced in 1962 synonymous with the corruption, and his son Birendra simply enhanced it. Only difference was folks could not talk openly about the corruption during the Panchayat period, as the system had been dictatorial and no opposition was tolerated. No private media except for a few newspapers was allowed. The result was the death of the Panchayat in 1990.


Then, we have the elected government of NC in 1991. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and his economic wizard Dr Ram Sharan Mahat followed the textbook principles of private companies working better than the State companies, and sold or liquidated one after another State-run factories and transport companies except for the trading companies. The economic wizard did not think of the need for making an environment conducive to the private companies for working and flourishing rather he simply told that taking commission was not a sin means corruption was fine.


Again, taking commission and asking any payoff for any State business had been a regular practice. The only different from the Panchayat period had been that folks had hundred of private FMs, tens of private TVs, and newspapers that had been reporting endless cases of corruption surely thanks to the democracy and democratically elected government. Anybody could point out the ministers or politicians or bureaucrats making money how and when but it did not stop corruption.


No matter which party came to power; every minister managed to make money except for a few. In fact, the cabinet changed so fast every minister of any government hurried to grab anything possible as long as s/he had been on a government because the term of office was so short they feared that they would not make sufficient money while in office. Some ministers even asked their followers to bring the highest paying cases.


Corruption gave the birth of king Gyanendra that attempted to be an absolute ruler as his father Mahendra had been. He could have been provided he abolished the corruption and ran the administration without corruption. However, what he did was he gave life to the politically dead corrupt politicians. He made Tulsi Giri and Kritinidhi Bista his deputies. What happened was corruption reached a new peak? The result was not only Gyanendra lost his position but also the monarchy died, as the monarchy had been the symbol of corruption and the obstacle to the rule of law, democracy and the fast socio-economic development.


Nepalese have realized that corruption has been the main culprit for not the fast socio-economic development. They are not afraid of losing democracy or the left unity imposing the authoritarian system rather they have been afraid of the corruption so prevalent among the politicians and bureaucrats would not go away any time soon. So, Prime Minister Deuba telling the people that the democracy is at risk or someone is imposing an absolute rule would not attract the voters to vote for the NC candidates rather voters want politicians that would promise to eradicate corruption and introduce the rule of law and make the country prosperous fast.


For Deuba it is time to promise that his party and he would do away with the so rampant corruption, and then introduce the rule of law, and then surely put the country on the fast track for the socio-economic development. However, Deuba did not dare to say so, as he had been heading a cabinet of 64 ministers that had been as largest as possible, and had been not only the obstacle to the economic development but also the strain on the national treasury. So, Deuba must be trying to scare the voters that the left parities uniting together would impose a single party rule. How could Nepalese believe Deuba when Nepalese had not only ended the Shah-Rana rule but also even the monarchy?


Panchayat could last for 30 years because folks were not so strong and so well informed at that time. Gyanendra could last only five years because folks had been smarter by 2000s. Today, anybody taking power by force or by any means without the support of the common folks would not last even three months and then lose one foot of the body length as Madhav Nepal once said publicly.


Democracy is a self-correcting system nobody needs to tell Deuba. He knows it. Democracy would end the corruption, too. Democracy has made the common folks strong. Democracy has made the State administration more or less transparent. Thanks to democracy, media could expose the State bureaucrats and ministers doing anything irregular. For example, one of the Nepalese media houses has made the meticulous research on the irregularities in purchasing the land for the Nepal Oil Corporation brought the corrupt CEO to book. However, the hurried actions of firing the CEO not properly following the administrative rules and regulations made the Supreme Court to reinstate him. CEO could not escape from the irregularities in purchasing the land. This is how the self-correcting democracy works.


Now, Nepalese could stand arguing with the traffic police for the rule of law. Any person could challenge the government and force the government to change the wrong decision. For example, Dr Govinda KC had taken the hunger strike for 13th time and forced the Deuba government to introduce a medical education ordinance to meet his demands. In this circumstance, how could anybody believe Deuba that the left unity would impose an absolute rule?


Even with so much of corruption, the economic development has been fast and vivid since the democracy came to life again in 1990. The elected second Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and his economic wizard Dr Ram Sharan Mahat correctly opened up the economy to the private companies making hundreds of financial institutions, banks, and business companies, medical and other technical colleges possible to flourish. Our roads have reached as far as Muktinath to the north. Hundred of thousands of youths have the foreign employments making themselves and the country rich thanks to former Prime Minister Girija Koirala. His main drawback had been he did not stop the corrupt ministers making money not to mention punishing them.


Trying to introduce a bill on convicted politicians eligible for running for any elected positions, Deuba has even attempted to promote the corrupt NC leaders that had served the jail term for corruption. Then, it is quite natural for Deuba to be afraid of the left unity, as he could not come out of the corruption network, and such a network would not make his party and him strong rather it would cause the party to be sick and even death if timely actions were not taken before it became too late to remedy it.


Even staying at the center of the corruption network, Deuba could introduce the election slogan of eradicating corruption, setting up the rule of law and then the fast economic development. Deuba might have the fear of nobody believing him, and not taking his election slogan because of his past performances, and he would be a laughingstock. Never mind, at least some folks would believe him and vote for his party candidates and for him, too.


If anybody were to analyze the past performances of Deuba he was the one that had put the democracy at risk in the past after the reinstatement of democracy in 1990. He openly introduced the corruption sending some of his ministers to Bangkok on the pretext of medical treatment to save himself from the vote of no confidence in 1996 when he was a prime minister.


Then, Prime Minister Deuba dissolved the parliament in May 2002 without consulting his party boss Girija Prasad Koirala obviously following the order of the then king Gyanendra, and announced the general election in November 2002. His party boss Girija Prasad Koirala fired Deuba from the party for not consulting the party for making the decision on dissolving the parliament forcing Deuba to set up his own party NC-democratic.


Then, Deuba went to Gyanendra asking him to postpone the general election. Instead Gyanendra labeled him as an incompetent, and fired him, and postponed the general election forever in October 2002. Deuba unwisely accepted the appointment Gyanendra made him to the prime minister again in June 2004 rather than going to the people for reinstating democracy in other words to hold the general elections. Thus, Deuba sold the democracy to Gyanendra for the temporary position of prime minister.


The then Chairman of CPN-UML Madhav Nepal rushed to join the Deuba government stating the king had returned the democracy. Surely, Madhav Nepal either did not understand or ignored “what is democracy” and whether the king could give democracy back. He needed to understand that democracy could come back only through the general elections. That did not happen.


The result was Gyanendra fired Deuba again. Ultimately, democracy got sick. Gyanendra became the absolute ruler. In February 2005, Gyanendra appointed Tulsi Giri and Kritinidhi Bista to replicate the rule of his father Mahendra but Gyanendra lasted until April 2006. Thereafter, Gyanendra headed to be a common folk, and he became a common folk in May 2008. That was the consequence how corruption could bring to anybody reigning over the country.


Deuba needed to learn some things from these past events. Obviously, he was not doing so publicly repeatedly stating the left alliance has been the threat to democracy, and expanding the cabinet to 64 members buying eight members of the Rastriya Prajantra Party for the support for his government fearing the Maoists would quit his cabinet and opt for a new coalition government, which came out to be not the real one.


Once again, if Deuba is serious to win the elections for his party and for himself too, he needs to change his election slogan from the challenge to democracy from the left unity to the eradication of corruption, rule of law and fast economic development, to end the foreign interferences in the Nepalese State affairs, and to find an alternative to the possible Indian blockade, and to use the northern border entry points so that folks could move to the third countries through the territory of the northern neighbor. Probably, CPN-UML have won so many seats at the local units in the recent three-phase elections held to the local units because of KP Oli as the prime minister firmly stood up to the Indian blockade.


Deuba needs to be careful this time of voters might fire him, and punish him for the fear politics, and for his unwise expansion of the cabinet just before the elections, and having the affairs with the political prostitutes. Voters would not be willing to tolerate the corruption any more, and the political prostitution that has been one of the main reasons for the corruption.


October 24, 2017 

Document Actions