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Living In Fear?

Issue September 2019

Living In Fear?

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar


Recently, the political circus running in the international arena had been interesting, and various ministers playing the role of clowns in the circus to note. Prime Minister Oli sitting at the desk with a laptop in the hospital of the city-state: Singapore had apparently run a cabinet meeting in Nepal and he tweeted he had a cabinet meeting via a videoconference. The opposition Nepali Congress party (NC) opposed it because somebody might hack the videoconference and the cabinet meeting would be leaked.


Then, Spokesman for the Oli administration Gokul Prasad Baskota went to the parliament in Kathmandu, and told the lawmakers that nothing like the media report on the videoconference on the cabinet meeting had happened but it was only a test run. Who is smart: the spokesman for the cabinet or the prime minister?


Whom to believe? Whether to believe Prime Minister Oli in Singapore or Gokul Prasad Baskota in Kathmandu? Is it not the awful contradictory statements of the two ministers of the same Council of Ministers? Is it not worrisome for the common folks to see the cabinet with the two-thirds majority power in the parliament working so dangerously irresponsibly?


Prime Minister Oli is the head of government. What he said should be the authentic and authoritative one but the spokesperson for the Council of Ministers is also equally the authentic person to say publicly something about the activities of the government. So, both the prime minister and the spokesman might be speaking the truth in their own way but the unfortunate thing had been that the fact they revealed had been contradictory to each other. None of them bothered about correcting the contradictory statements.


Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai’s one of the published programs was to run the International Airport in Kathmandu for 24 hours a but the seven O’clock morning news of the Radio Nepal put on air on September 2, 2019 said that the Kathmandu International airport was going to be closed for seven hours a day to repair and maintain it.


Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai also said that he met with former Prime Minister also President of NC Sher Bahadur Deuba, and briefed Deuba on the annual program of his ministry recently made public and the “Visit Nepal 2020” program, and requested Deuba for the guidance for making these two programs successful; Deuba said that he would fully support such development programs, the news published on the second page of “gorkhapatra” on September 1, 2019 stated.


At least one member of the Oli administration had done one right thing going to the opposition leader and seeking his blessing to make his plans and programs successful, and then add to the prosperity of the country making contribution to the economic growth, which would surely help to achieve the national target of the economic growth for the current fiscal year.


Prime Minister Oli and his other ministers never bothered to talk to the opposition leaders for the support for their mission to make “Prosperous Nepal and Happy Nepali” achieving the high economic growth rather they went head on collision on many subject matters that concerned so much for the welfare of the common folks.


Is it not a Jatra nowhere in the world happens but in Nepal?


From now on all leaders and cadres at all levels are prohibited to comment publicly on any individuals, on the policies and the programs of the party; if they were to do then actions would be taken against such party members, the NCP secretariat meeting decided, the frontline news in “gorkhapatra” published on August 27, 2019 stated. Are not the communist leaders so smart to shut down the mouths of their own party members not to mention the public?


So, it is not surprising that the minister for communication and information technology has been campaigning to make the media council bill into law, which would restrain considerably the reporters and journalists to express freely and accurately. Thus, the communist party and its government have the strong intention of muzzling the mouths that would surely talk against the leaders and the ministers including the prime minister. It is not unnatural if the history of the communist party and its government elsewhere in the world is considered as a guide.


The State has been selling the labor of more than four million youths at their most productive age to the Middle East for a few billion dollars for building stadium and high rise buildings and what not starving the human power required in the country where the development projects such as roads, bridges, drinking water, irrigation etc took and have been taking decades of time but not completed, yet. Most of the logical thinking folks had been very concerned with such selling of the most productive human power to the foreign countries.


Sensible and sensitive folks have been living with the fear of the multifaceted burden of not completed development projects, and the State-owned industries that had been closed or remained idle would be increasing on the future generations.


For example, the almost completed but never-completed Melamchi Drinking Water Project had caused three kinds of burden on Nepalis. First the burden of the loan to be paid to the Asian Development Bank that had provided the never-completing project with the generous loan, second the folks in the Kathmandu Valley supposed to have the benefit of drinking water had been paying the heavy toll of never done the roads the Melamchi Drinking Water Project had broken, third the cost of not having the benefit of the so costly Melamchi Project had been very high, as the folks had been paying the heavy price of daily terribly short supply of water, and then needing to buy water at the fantastically high cost not affordable to many folks, who had either to live without water or go for hunting water wherever was possible to have.


The State-owned Gorkhali Rubber Udoyog Factory set up in the Gorkha district again with the loan of the Asian Development Bank had remained idle for some years. The factory was supposed to produce tires and tubes for vehicles and substitute the imports of these items, save the foreign currency, and then cut the trade deficit the imports of these items had added to.


However, the Gorkhali rubber factory had remained closed probably under the influence of the foreign lobbyists for keeping the import of foreign tires and tubes intact. Probably, that might be the reason why the Oli administration had been so lethargic to run the idle rubber factory keeping the burden of the loan payment to the Asian Development Bank, the burden of losing the jobs, and then of course the burden of losing the entire revenue and other benefits the rubber factory would have generated on the common folks.


The uncompleted project and the inoperative factory were only the two representatives samples. Tens of such unfinished projects if not hundreds of them, and then a number of inoperative State-owned factories had been the burden on the common folks rather than the assets, as the people did not benefit from those projects and industries rather the State had been paying the loans from their tax. Similarly, the not functioning factories had been the huge burden on the common folks as they had been the victims of such an idle state-owned factory for needing to pay the interest and principles of the loans taken for setting up such factories.


Where were the concerns the finance minister and the minister for industry had shown the interest in running such factories strategically important for the country?


Concerning the Melamchi Drinking Water Project, common folks had been questioning why the Melamchi Drinking Water Development Board had taken nine months to award a new contract to another contractor Sino Hydro Company for finishing up the remaining work after the Italian contractor quit the job if the board had awarded a new contract as stated in the news published in the State-run newspaper “gorkhapatra” a week or so ago? Delay in a single day means adding the cost of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of rupees in terms of paying loans, and then the common folks not having the benefits causing them not only physical inconvenience but also the financial trouble.


The local laborers, sub-contractors and suppliers had threatened to stop the Sino Hydro Company from working at the Melamchi project unless and until they received the payments the Italian contractor had failed to pay them, the news on the front page of “Artha bazaar” supplement to “gorkhapatra” published on September 1, 2019 stated. This was not a new problem; they had prevented the previous contractor from working there, according to the news in the State media in the past. Then, the question was why the Melamchi Drinking Water Development Board did not sort out this problem before contracting out the remaining job to the Sino Hydro. Obviously, the contractor would not be able to work then the cost would be escalated and time would overrun again. It means the Melamchi Project would be never completing.


All these troubles in the development projects and the State-run industries should have worried the finance minister, who had so bravely set the target of the economic growth at 8.5 percent for the current fiscal year. However, he never talked about reviving the sick industries and expediting the never-completing development projects to complete. As an expert economist the finance minister must be very concerned with the status of the development projects and the State-run industries not to mention the private industries, as these were the instruments for achieving his economic growth target.


The finance minister must know that he would never be able to achieve his economic growth with the concerned ministers including the finance minister and the prime minister and the folks involved in the projects taking such indifference attitude toward the ongoing projects and the idle State-owned factories. They needed to put these projects on the fast track to complete and the State-owned factories on running efficiently and competitively if the economic growth target was to meet.


Such a really high economic growth target the finance minister had set would be hard to achieve because of the economic recession looming in the world, and the trade war between China and the US, and the weakening economic growth in India even if those hundreds if not thousands of development projects and tens of the State-owned industries Nepal had would be working properly, and would contribute to the economic growth drastically. So, Finance Minister Dr Yubraj Khatiwada would be the luckiest person in the world if Nepal were to have the economic growth of six percent in the current fiscal year.


Folks have been living in terror of the tax hike. Even the laborers might need to pay tax if the tax net would be expanded as visualized in the budget for the current fiscal year. Prices of food products have gone up because of the VAT. Then, the government had the new law that the taxpayers would need to pay twice the amount of tax in fines if they missed to pay tax in time for some reasons. For example, if anybody forgot or missed to pay an annual tax on a vehicle then s/he would need to pay twice the amount, and it was applied to renewing the driving license, too.


While speaking at the opening ceremony of NADA Auto Show of 2019 at Bhrikuti Mandap in Kathmandu on August 27, 2019, Finance Minister Dr. Yubraj Khatiwada warned the business people not to evade tax, and suggested to work sincerely, the news published on the front page of “Artha bazaar” supplement to “gorkhapatra” on August 28, 2019 stated.


While speaking at the interactions the Nepal Chamber of Commerce held in Kathmandu on August 30, 2019, the finance minister said that the culprits of leaking the revenue should be punished socially and economically rather than sending them to jail, the news published on August 31, 2019 on the front page of “Artha Bazaar” supplement to “gorkhapatra” stated.


If the finance minister were to coolly think about the revenue leak then he probably would discover that the culprits of the revenue leak were the laws, rules and regulations. For example, the Public Procurement Act had been the perpetrator of the massive leakage of the State revenue and of not completing the development construction projects in time, as it had the provision for time extension and cost extension for the contractors if they were not to complete the projects in time. Then, it also had the provision for compensating the contractors for the price hikes of construction materials. It provided the mobilization cost immediately after signing off the contracts. Consequently, most of the contractors had not completed projects in time at the estimated costs of development projects because of these provisions made in the Public Procurement Act. The question was why the finance minister did not talk about this Act while talking about the revenue leak.


Probably, some businesspeople dodged tax in collusion with not only the bureaucrats but also with the ministers and the high-ranking political leaders. The tax evasion went in billions if not even in millions, if we were to believe the private media reports of such incidents and sometimes of the State media, too. However, Finance Minister Khatiwada failed in warning those bureaucrats, then the ministers and of course the political leaders, who had worked hand in glove with the unscrupulous business folks and benefited at the cost of the nation losing huge revenue. Whereas the sincere taxpayers had to live in fear when the taxmen would come and double the tax amount.


Folks did not know when the minister for communications and information technology would get the new media council bill passed from the parliament, which has the two-thirds majority of his party. So, it would be quite easy to get his media council bill passed through the parliament and then the president would signed off the bill into law. That would be a great achievement for the minister but it would be the final blow to the freedom of expression, and probably the death of the opposition media.


Once, the opposition media became numb what the communist government needed would be just talk about its achievements whether they would be correct or not would not matter but would feed the people with the rosy news and views only. Then, the government probably would go after the opposition whether they were political, economical and social, and probably, put to an end to it. What would remain then would be the communist propaganda, which probably would become the main tool for never ending authoritarian rule of the communists the world had seen elsewhere.


Stakeholders of Guthi had been living in fear that when the minister for land reform would bring out a new Guthi Bill, and what she would include in it. The previous Guthi bill had been to kill all the cultural heritages the ancestors had built up over thousands of years, and if that bill had enacted then the entire nation would have lost the so invaluable culture, and cultural lives of Nepalis. The communists might call it the Cultural Revolution, as Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution and destroyed the most valuable cultural heritages including many ancient precious books in China in 1960s.


The Guthi bill was probably to nourish the former Maoists, who had captured the Guthi land in Dang in thousands of hectors, and their dream of owning the Guthi land as their private land would have come true as the Guthi Bill if enacted had made them the legal owners of that land. That was probably the intention of the minister for land reform to try to enact the Guthi Bill. However, the folks rose up against it and forced the minister to rescind the bill but the stakeholders still continued to live in fear that the two-thirds majority might again register the Guthi Bill and legally loot the public land for turning over to the former Maoists.


Stakeholders had been living in terror when a bulldozer would come and flatten the ancient house with a Buddha statue almost like a Buddhist monastery at Ason in Kathmandu, as the Guthi Sanstahn had leased the area to a private company for building a new and modern Mall at the place. The locals had been fighting for preserving the cultural and religious heritages of the Buddhists at the site.


Similarly, the State had encroached on the ancient religious “upaku” route used for the religious and cultural ceremonies during the Indra Jatra festival for building a new and large silky Dharahara in Kathmandu while keeping the quake remnants of the old Dharahara the earthquakes destroyed in 2015 probably for a public show. The concerned folks had fear of losing their cultural and religious heritage if the route would be blocked by the expansion of the new Dharahara.


The thought of the Nepal Army might come again with a bulldozer and bulldozed the temples and houses, and flattened the terrace of their so fertile land for building a fast track highway from Kathmandu to terai had filled the minds of the folks in Khona (Khokana) with dread. Probably, the communist leaders and their government did not perceive that there might be an alternative route for a new road to save so valuable cultural and religious heritage. The Oli administration had already approved the DPR (detailed project report) for the road.


Since the communists took office, common folks had to fight for the survival of the religious and cultural heritages, and they had the fears for losing the battle and then surely the cultural and religious sites the ancestors had built over the thousands of years. Consequently, common folks had been living in terror when the communist government would come with a bulldozer and demolish their ancestral houses and the temples and other culturally rich structure for expanding the roads or for building a new road or a commercial complex elsewhere even though some ministers in the Oli cabinet had been saying that they were for preserving the cultural heritages, and recovering the public land and the Guthi land lost to the unscrupulous land mafia in the past.


Many local folks had lost their ancestral houses when Dr Baburam Bhattarai as the prime minister tore down the houses only to widen the roads in Kathmandu when he was a prime minister from August 2011 to March 2013. The widened roads had been good enough for the president to travel on a limousine escorted by the heavily decorated horses and their riders to demonstrate that the president the communists had elected could be so lavishly travel. Most of other Kathmandu roads had been discounted as the unworthy of the attention of the ministers to their horrible conditions and to make them easily useable for the public.


The same communist prime minister who had tore down the ancestral houses of the common folks for widening the roads did not move even an inch from the original position of the eastern and northern compound walls enclosing the official residence of prime minister at Baluwatar in Kathmandu to widen the sidewalk. Consequently the sidewalk is so narrow a single person could hardly walk thanks to former Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, who had been so stingy with giving in a few feet of the compound for widening the sidewalk for the public use even though the property was not his personal but the state one.


I have seen the road some folks had been cleaning near the Goma Ganesh in the Baluwatar area in Kathmandu a few weeks ago. I was so surprised to see somebody washing the roads in Kathmandu. Then, it hit my head that the road was for the prime minister to travel back and forth between the work place and the official residence. Whereas the Boudha-Sakhu and Bhaktapur-Nagarkot roads remained heavily damaged and not repaired or not built no matter how much the locals had protested against such bad roads. These roads were the good examples of how the State neglected the comfort of not only the common folks but also the foreign visitors who came to see the ancient cultural and religious heritages of Nepalis. Could these guys make “Visit Nepal 2020” success to draw two million tourists with such road conditions in 2020?


The finance minister had been talking about the inheritance tax, which might go up to 50 or 60 percent. Talking to the industrialists and business folks at the interactions the Nepal Chamber of Commerce held in Kathmandu on August 30, 2019, Finance Minister Khatiwada said that his ministry had been taking up the issue of the inheritance tax; it would be on the agenda for the Revenue Board that would be set up, the news on the front page of “Artha Bazaar” supplement to “gorkhapatra” published on August 31, 2019 stated.


If the finance minister were to be successful to enact the inheritance tax law then anybody inheriting the ancestral land or home where s/he might be living for a life would need to pay 50 or 60 percent of their values to the State when s/he was supposed to inherit. If s/he would not be able to pay the inheritance tax then s/he would need to sell the house or land only to pay the tax to the government. Thus, a new inheritance tax law might make many folks homeless.


Actually, if we were to take a look at the history of the communists taking power then one of the founding fathers of the communist government: Vladimir Lenin immediately after capturing the State power made the entire populace homeless and landless declaring from then on the property of everybody would belong to the State in Russia in 1917. Demigod of communists: Lenin made everybody a proletariat in a stroke of his pen and a few words coming out of his mouth. He took everything from the people promising to give them everything.


All the tax hikes for the common folks making them poorer, and the capital gain tax cut for the rich making them even richer the finance minister had introduced in the budget for the fiscal year 2019 (2076) were not mentioned in the manifesto of the two communist parties combined together, and now merged together to be the Nepal Communist Party presented to the voters in the general elections held in 2017 rather the manifesto had stated that the income per capita of Nepalis would be made $ 5,000 within five years, and the senor citizens would have NPR 5,000 per month as allowance immediately after the communists taking office. The manifesto stated that roads would be repaired and done for the comfort of the commuters. In other words, the manifesto had promised everything the common folks needed.


So, the voters were attracted to the manifesto, and they voted en masse to the communists, and made them almost the two-thirds majority in the federal parliament, provincial and even local bodies, too anticipating that the communists would finally make them prosperous. The folks anticipated that the corruption would be totally eradicated. All the previous corrupt bureaucrats and even ministers would be brought to justice, and they would find their way to jail.


Then, what happened? Senior citizens did not receive any increments not to mention NPR 5,000 they had anticipated from the communist government. Then, under the heavy pressure of the members of the parliament belonging to both his party NCP and the opposition party, the finance minister increased the allowance to the senior citizen to NRP 3,000 in the second year of the communist rule. The finance minister believed that paying allowance to the senior citizens was unproductive. He did not like to believe that such an allowance would alleviate the poverty and contribute to the economic growth fuelling the market of the national products to some extent no matter how small it might be.


Nepalis had been well off with NPR 37 per day, their annual per capita income had been higher by NPR 13,303 reaching the income per capita of NPR 117,455 in the fiscal year 2018 (2075) in comparison to the income per capita of NPR 1,04,152 in the fiscal year 2017 (2074), according to the annual financial report for the fiscal year 2075 (2018) the Nepal Rastra Bank: Central Bank of Nepal had published, the news on the front page of “Artha Bazaar” supplement to “gorkhapatra” published on September 2, 2019 stated.


Probably, the increased income per capita of NPR 37 could buy one cup of milk tea. So, Nepalis could drink one extra cup of tea every day keeping everything it had been as they were. In fact, NPR 37 is only US $ 0.3230 in other words 32.30 cents computed based on the selling price of one US dollar at NPR 114.55 the rate the Nepal Rastra Bank published in “gorkhapatra” on September 2, 2019.


The annual income per capita increment of NPR 13,303 is only US $ 116.13 whereas the annual income per capita of NPR 117,455 in US dollars is only US $ 1,025.36 based on the rate the Nepal Rastra Bank published in “gorkhapatra” on September 2, 2019. However, this per capita income is higher by 12.77 percent for the fiscal year 2018 (2075) in comparison to the income per capita of NPR 1,04,152 in the previous fiscal year. How such a growth could be if the economic growth in the fiscal year 2018 (2075) were only 7.1 percent as stated in the economic survey done for the fiscal year 2017 (2074)?


The finance minister instead of increasing the GDP had succeeded to cut the GDP growth from 7.9 percent in 2016 to 6.3 percent in 2017, and to 7.1 per cent (It increased adopting a new method of computing the GDP) in 2018. Such a growth of GPD would never lead the Nepalis to have per capita in come of $ 5,000 even in the life time of the new third generation which was just born and growing not to mention in five years as stated in the manifesto of the two communist parties merged together to be a NCP of today. Even the economy growing at the seven percent per year would take ten years to double the GDP if it keeps growing at that rate every year.


Who had benefited and become prosperous and even rich over night from the two-thirds majority? All the elected officials hurriedly bought motorcycles at the lowest level, then vehicles at the higher levels, and new large vehicles for the ministers and for the chairmen of the federal parliamentary committees, surely for the provincial chiefs, and ministers and even for the lawmakers. Some of the provincial lawmakers enacted a law fantastically increasing their emoluments. Of course, then the large companies owned by the rich people became rich by hundreds of millions of rupees because of the capital gain tax cut.


Putting the communists in power, thus, voters had brought the prosperity to the elected communist officials, and the rich folks. Probably, they had several hundred times high incomes than used to be thanks to the voters voting for them overwhelmingly whereas poor voters became even poorer than used to be because common folks were squeezed to death because of the tax hikes on everything they needed to consume. They had to pay higher tax than used to be on everything they would buy and use. The threatening tax hike on their property had been hanging over their heads ever since the communist finance minister took office. Similarly, the local and provincial governments had increased tax indiscriminately. The three layers of the communist governments had been trying everything possible to extract as much money as possible from the common folks.


The federal finance minister had allocated sufficient budget to build a colony of houses for residing the communist ministers squeezing the poor voters to the extent possible but not to the extent of what Lenin had done of course. The federal government is probably constructing a new majestic building for the federal parliament, and a colony of houses for the ministers in Kathmandu, and then a convention center.


If the finance minister were to correctly understand the micro economics of the nation he would never allow to build a parliamentary building and the colony of houses for the ministers rather he would allocate the money to new projects and the ongoing projects for the fast completion of the projects. He surely knew that running the federal parliament at the national convention hall at Naya-baneswore in Kathmandu was productive because the hall was making money from the rent the parliament had been paying. Once the government constructed a parliamentary building then this convention hall would lose the business of making money and become unproductive wasting the national resource. So, constructing the parliamentary building within the Sighadurbar compound would be the most unproductive.


The nation had been poorer and poorer because a few powerful folks and the mafia working in every sector of the economy had been pocketing the national resources delaying the completion of the development projects. The national resources had been heavily wasted on not completing the major projects the folks had been tired of mentioning such as the Melamchi and other road projects but the contractors and the decision makers had been plump probably taking the benefits out of these projects. Probably, the contractors in collusion with the concerned decision makers in the administration had been making huge profits out of never completing construction projects. On the one hand the common folks had been paying the heavy tax on the other hand they were denied the benefits from the projects they were supposed to receive because of the never-ending projects.


The never-done roads and highways had been menace to the folks. Rather than correcting such evils the Oli administration had been saying that soon the construction of the East-West Railroads would be launched, and the ships would sail. These probably massive projects would run in hundreds of billions if not thousands of billions of rupees; however, they might probably never be completed if the current tendency of the never completing the roads and other construction mega projects were to follow them, too. Probably, these new humongous projects might add a new heavy burden on the taxpayers making the common folks even poorer; and the loads of national debts these large projects would cause might be pass on to the one generation to another for many future generations to come. How could Nepal be prosperous and Nepalis be happy in such conditions? What had been happening in the administration had been very hard to comprehend for the common folks?


Voters did not anticipate when they voted for the communist candidates that they would need to pay more tax than used to be and doubled the tax if they were to miss paying the tax in time. However, then they had to live with the fear of the finance minister introducing the inheritance tax. The tendency had been that they might even need to pay inheritance tax, which would surely deny them to live in their ancestral home as they might need to sell it to pay the inheritance tax if the finance minister would do what he said he intended to do. So, common folks had been living in the tax terror and they did not know when they would need to pay new tax on what.


The communist manifesto had stated it would improve the State administration highly infested with corruption, and eradicate the corruption endemic in the politics, in the State administration, and the businesses, and of course alleviate the poverty. The prime minister had even several times said in the past he had the zero tolerance of corruption. However, he had probably seen that just the opposite of what he had been saying had been happening. Saying the zero tolerance of corruption had been so embarrassing to the prime minister, recently, he had dropped the idea of repeating the zero tolerance of corruption, which had been so widespread, and perceivable if not visible. The poverty alleviation had been surely only of the elected officials at all levels of the State administration.


The Public Procurement Act turned out to be the main culprit. Probably, decision makers at the higher level in fact at all levels must have used this tool to make money out of the development projects delaying them as much as possible; some of the projects had never ended because they had been the means of amassing huge money at the cost of the beneficiaries of the projects and at the cost of taxpayers’ money. The prime minister could have surely meet his commitment to the zero tolerance of corruption had he amended this notorious Public Procurement Act. Unfortunately, none of the ministers including the prime minister who had been in power thought of amending this harmful Act and eradicating the corruption to some extent.


Corruption had been the way of life for all the people in administration and in the public life. Is it not the corruption trying to introduce Guthi Bill that would benefit the land grabbers, and to introduce the media council bill that would surely muzzle the opposition voice and the sincere reporters and journalists and writers, who would need to risk their career to write frankly and openly if the media council bill were to be enacted?


The media council bill would make the State agencies to be the investigators of the alleged media crime, and then bringing the defaulters to justice. Even for an apparently a slightly speaking out or writing against the State polices and certainly of the ministers including the prime minister and the NCP would be a crime punishable by five or more years of imprisonment, the NC youth leader Gagan Thapa warned the public while speaking in the House of Representatives. Who would risk facing such punishment only to write something useful for the nation and for the common folks? Then, the opposition media would be dead. Is that what for, Nepalis had voted for the majority of the communist candidates?


Communists elsewhere in the world promised everything to the people, and then they received the mandate to rule. First thing, they did was to close the opposition media and run only the communist media to feed the people what the communists had done for the people whether they were true or not. Probably, they were for doing the same thing in Nepal. The communist party shut down the mouths of the dissidents as of the news published in “gorkhapatra” on August 27, 2019, which stated that members of the NCP would be punished if they were to talk against the NCP policies and its leader in public. And its government was trying to do the same to the people introducing the media council bill which would force all the private media houses to close down their businesses if the folks were not to rise up and protest against it and forced the concerned minister to retract it. Is Nepal for the communist dictatorship or democratic system with the rule of law as the common folks had fought for? Which way the country is heading remains to be seen.


The current communist government had to go for three or more years before the general elections. Would the Nepalese voters vote for the communists again overwhelmingly? The partisan voters would certainly vote for their respective party candidates, no matter what would happen to the nation. However, the so-called “swing voters” who are not partisan would surely would think twice before voting for the communists, and surely they also seriously think over what they could anticipate from the party and the candidate they were voting for. Unless and until some current ministers changed their attitude and worked for the welfares of the common folks and met the aspirations of the common folks for a better life and corruption free administration, the chances of the communists coming back to power through the ballot would be slim.


Voters had already realized that all the political parties and the politicians had been undoubtedly corrupted meant they did not do what they said they would and would do what they had not said. So, voters had no choice but to vote for the political parties based on their policies rather than the commitments made in their manifestoes.


For example, the economic liberalization and democratization policies of the then Nepali Congress party government had adopted in 1990s had been the main reasons for the fast socio-economic development reaching the current level of the national development. So many private businesses whether they were in education, transport, labor or what not, would not have come up without the liberalization policy of the Congress government. The media would not have prospered so much if the Press Council Act the Nepali Congress government had not enacted and were not in place. Every time the communists came to power they tried to reverse the gains the liberalization policy had made, and the recent development had been the latest one.


The Nepali Congress is the Democratic Party and for protecting the private, public and State property, and developing the private and the State capital. Its economic and political polices had fueled the socio-economic development. The press freedom had been the main mantra. The results had been hundreds of FM radios across Nepal, so many private TVs, and of course so many print media and social media. Without the freedom of development, the economic development would not be possible.


No matter which communist party came to power, the government was for reversing the gains the people had made following the Nepali Congress policies. The current government had been attempting to reverse the media freedom replacing the Press Council Act with the Media Council Bill. In the name of controlling the media anarchy, the very dangerous and fearful Media Council Bill was put forward to curb the freedom of expression.


The current communist government forcing the popular singer named Pashupati Sharma through the political cadres to withdraw his most popular song against the prevailing corruption from the “You Tube” killed two birds with one bullet. First, the government killed the rights of singer Sharma to sing freely depicting the prevailing situation in the administration. Second, the government had successfully prevented the singer from challenging the corrupt practices in the administration in other words it had successfully tried to cover up the dishonesty so endemic in the administration. However, it was almost next to impossible to cover up the bribery so widespread and so visible to the common folks.


Currently, the folks had been very alert what the communist government had done and what it was about to do. The communist government Dr Baburam Bhattarai had presided over had bulldozed the private property only to widen the roads without compensating the property owners. Current communist government Prime Minister Oli had been presiding over had almost enacted the Guthi Bill to legally loot the Guthi land and distribute it to the former Maoist cadres if the stakeholders were not to rise up profoundly against it and forced the minister to retract the Guthi Bill.


So, the voters had the choice which way to go? The liberalized and democratic path the Nepali Congress party had set or the opposite of it the communists had chosen in the next general elections. Surely, the prosperity of the country would be in the hands of voters whom they would vote for.


September 3, 2019

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