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No Option But To Vote For Nepali Congress (NC)?

Issue of July 22, 2020

No Option But To Vote For Nepali Congress (NC)?

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar


The next general elections are less than two-and-a-half years away; we need to be prepared for saying a final goodbye to the communists and the community party, as the performances of the communists and their government have been much to be desired if not the worst in the democratic history of Nepal. So, we have no alternative this time to voting for the NC, as the polices and programs of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) have been to bring back the dead but the most shady institution called the monarchy, and to impose the Hindu religion on the more than fifty percent of the non-Hindus claiming more than ninety percent of Nepalis are Hindus, and finally, the Madheshi political parties and their leaders have betrayed Nepal going to India for imposing sanctions on Nepal for forcing the Nepalese leaders to meet their demands for making the first people’s Constitution of Nepal to suit them the most.


Grandparents, parents, and sons and daughters that had been traditionally voting for the NC turned to the grand coalition of the Maoists and the UML (United Marxist and Leninist), and voted for them in the general elections held in 2017 to make them have the absolute majority to run the administration without the involvement of other political parties for the five years anticipating that the communists would do their best and put the socio-economic development of the country on the fast track, as almost all the previous governments except for the NC governments led by Girija Prasad Koirala  in 1991 and then Krishna Prasad Bhattarai in 1998 were either the coalition governments or the minority governments that could not function properly for the benefits of the people in general. The election results had been almost two-thirds majority to the grand coalition of the two large communist parties of Maoists and UML that later on became a single Nepal Communist Party of today.


Much to the relief of the voters the communists had almost the two-thirds majority so that its government could move at the lightning speed for the socio-economic development of the country. Senior citizens were happy hoping they would have soon five thousands rupees as the monthly allowances that would be the rise from two thousands the NC government had set in the past to more than the double. People in the Kathmandu Valley thought that finally the Melamchi Drinking Water Project would be completed within a few months and they would have sufficient water. The corruption endemic in the administration and in the political leaders in power would be uprooted forever, as Prime Minister Oli repeatedly solemnly promised to do so. Oli even committed to hook every Nepalese kitchen with the cooking gas pipeline, and he also committed the waterways, railways, and the beautiful and prosperous Nepal in other words “Prosperous Nepal and Happy Nepali”, as the slogan went.


After two-and-a-half years of the general elections, the communist Oli administration broke any records of possible irregularities in any sector of the service delivery not meeting any commitments the communists had made in the election campaigns. Most of the ministers in the communist government had been almost acting as the commission agents that always had probably been looking for taking commission on any contracts on development projects they awarded. The ministers had been for putting the muzzle on the independent media, restricting the fundamental human rights, and putting the folks in jail for expressing their views and opinions in the social media under the cyber law the communist government had enacted.


Recently, a media report has it that Prime Minister Oli has fifty-five million dollars in the Swiss Bank. The office of the prime minister simply sent the message of denial through the Radio Nepal morning news on July 16, 2020 of any account and money Prime Minister Oli has been holding in the Swiss Bank. Fair enough, if the prime minister has no money in any foreign bank as the news message passed on to the common folks through the Radio Nepal but it left room for the folks to believe that the prime minister in fact must have such a foreign bank account and then the money, as his advisors, ministers, and the prime minister himself did not bothered to take legal and administrative actions against the media that had possibly falsely reported even though the communist cadres and the prime minister himself had been smart enough to force the popular singer Pashupati Sharma to remove his hit song called “loot kancha loot” from the social media and youtube. So, the prime minister not taking actions against the media and the reporter that had made public the prime minister having foreign bank account and the money deposited, gave rise to the suspicions of probably the foreign commission agents must have deposited the Nepalese money in foreign currencies as the commission given on the contracts the communist government had awarded.


Prime Minister Oli had been putting high pressure on his party lawmakers to get the American corporate agency called MCC (Millennium Challenge Corporation) through the parliament even though most of his party colleagues also the top leaders of his party had been vigorously opposing it stating passing of the MCC by the parliament would be suicidal to the country as MCC means selling the sovereignty of Nepal to Americans because of the legal provisions made in it for sending the American troops to safeguard the American interest in the country, and it would follow only the American legal provisions thus scraping away the people’s Constitution of Nepal. However, the current president of NC also the opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba and Prime Minister Oli had been for passing the MCC as soon as possible. Nobody needs to understand what motives they have in their minds but the people in general need to rise up and punish the guys fanning the passing of the MCC by the parliament.


The Oli administration had been for shutting up the private and the state-owned media in case of publicity that did not suit the interest of the administration and the communist rulers. The minister for communication and information technology crafted a bill on communication and information technology going against the provision made in the Constitution for the freedom of expression provoking the strong opposition from the media people, the freedom of expression lovers, and the opposition party NC in the parliament. Consequently, the communication and information technology minister could not dare to submit the bill to the parliament but the Oli administration had not left the hope of bringing back the bill. Recently, the Oli administration had asked the CEO of the Radio Nepal: Suresh Kumar Karki the explanations for airing the interview with Dr. Baburam Bhattarai (one time communist leader but now a leader without any serious portfolio) because it contained the sharp criticism of Mr. Oli. The Oli administration also forced CEO Karki to remove the interview of Dr. Bhattarai from the record immediately, ultimately fired him, and also forced him to terminate the program on the summary of the private newspapers aired after the six o’clock morning news, but later on the new CEO reinstated it.


The minister for land reform boldly crafted the bill on private, public, and state Guthi land that was obviously for legally looting the Guthi (Trust) land destroying the cultural heritages of the Nepalis, and she submitted it to the National Assembly. The most sensitive to sustaining the cultural heritages also the highly culture-minded Nevahs rose up against such a bill and forced the Oli administration to retract the bill. Again the most unscrupulous minister and the Oli administration had not lost the hope of bringing back the bill. If the bill were to get passed in the parliament, all the Guthi land would be expropriated and then probably be distributed to the communist cadres. As a result, the country would lose the continuity of the cultural heritages so valuable to the Nepalis, and even to the world, as some of them are on the world cultural heritage list.


Recently, the folks in Khona faced the armed police force the Oli administration had sent while transplanting the rice seedlings in their farmland. The Oli administration had attempted to expropriate the most productive farmland dirt-cheap paying one tenth of the market price as the compensation for the land to build a fast track highway linking Kathmandu with the terai, the petroleum depot and so on encroaching on the cultural town and the surrounding farmland. The Khona folks had been saying that building such a fast track passing through the culturally important ancestral land, and other structures nearby the ancient towns would destroy the most valuable cultural heritages of Nepalis, and the folks would lose their livelihood as the compensation the Oli administration would pay would be no where near for paying to buy anything like the farmland they would lose. The struggle of the Khona people has continued against the communist government that has intended to grab the land of the poor farmers at any cost.


I have near heard of the leakage of the information on the tax changes before the finance minister delivered the budget speech in the parliament during the tenure of any finance ministers in the past. Unfortunately, it happened so before the finance minister read out his budget for the FY 2020 (2077/78) in the parliament causing the huge revenue loss to the nation but letting some companies or individuals reaping the harvest of financial gains as they paid less custom tax on the imported electrical vehicles clearing them off from the custom office a few days before the budget speech in the parliament, and they could sell those vehicles at the higher prices adding the custom tax other folks importing such vehicles needed to pay after the budget speech, as the import tax on such vehicles was increased from ten percent to eighty percent the finance minister had proposed and then the parliament passed it. Any finance minister having the sense of being accountable to his portfolio would have immediately resigned from office on the moral ground as only the finance minister knows such a tax increase or decrease but the current finance minister brushed off the reporters query of the finance ministry might have possibly leaked out the information on the tax increase in the electric vehicle saying no possibility of his ministry giving away any such information.


One of the reasons for voters opting to vote for the grand coalition of two large communist parties in the general elections held in 2017 was the then NC government did not seriously manage the relief work and the distribution of the relief packages to the victims of the devastating earthquakes in April 2015, and then the NC ministers mismanaged the purchases of relief materials and made massive irregularities in the purchase deal. The Oli administration not only tried to learn from the mistakes of the then NC government in 2015 but also had probably overblown the coronavirus-pandemic expenses overwhelmingly, as the Oli administration declared the expenditure of ten billion rupees without giving any accounts. The Oli administration sent the police force and water cannon vehicles to disperse the protestors taking the issue to the streets. The Oli administration had not only tried to cover up the hot issue of the expenditure of the public money but also denied the folks to protest peacefully demanding the transparency of the expenditures. The democratically elected government is accountable to protect the fundamental human rights to demanding the accounts of the public money.


Folks had voted for the grand coalition of the two large communist parties hoping the government they would form would rerun the idle state-owned industries the then NC government put on hold following the policies on economic liberalization, and opening up of the economy to the private sector and selling off the state-owned industries but the Oli administration did not give a fig for them. The communists never tired of saying the NC government had sold out the state-owned industries dirt-cheap to the private sector did even think of rehabilitating none of industries that would have created thousands of jobs, and substituted the imports of billions of rupees worth of paper, vehicle tires, textile, agricultural tools, and many more. But the Oli administration had the goal of following the socialist economy. Rather the then industry minister of the NC government: Nabindra Raj Joshi had rehabilitated the pharmaceutical factory and even tried to revive the Hetauda textile factory but he had to leave the office before he could finish his mission on restarting the closed state-owned factories.


Whatever the current development the country has achieved today has been entirely due to the economic liberalization and privatization policies the then NC government had adopted in 1990s. After the NC government opened up the economy to the private sector, then the private sector has made billions of rupees worth of investment in opening up medical colleges, private nursing schools, and private technical colleges, billions if not thousands of billions of rupees worth of private investment in the public transport creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of rupees worth of tax revenue to the state, then billions of rupees worth of investment in the private television and the FM radios companies currently making available more than one hundred private TV channels, and more than seven hundred FN radio stations that also created sizable number of jobs not to mention a huge investment made in the industries particularly the cement industry making the supply of cement almost self sufficient, and in the hydropower stations that would soon produce more power than the country would consume.


The then NC government opened up the floodgate for the foreign employments to the Nepalese youths the then communist opposition leaders had strongly opposed stating the NC government was selling the Nepalese youths abroad. Sending youths to abroad for the jobs was needed at that time to uplift the hundreds of thousands of the families from the poverty: the relics of the monarchical rule for over two-and-a-half centuries. The immediate solution was to send them to foreign countries for employment, as the immediate creation of the job opportunities in the country was impossible. The current finance minister said that he would encourage the Nepalese youths to opt for the foreign jobs to increase the remittances going against the requirement for creating a large number of jobs in the country for utilizing the valuable human assets for the development of the country rather than selling them to the foreign countries.


Even the credit for miraculously rather expertly the CEO of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA): Kulman Ghising had ended the long-standing power outage for several hours a day, and then he successfully made the power available for twenty four hours a day would not go to the Oli administration because former Energy Minister Janardan Sharma of the past government had appointed Ghising to the CEO of the NEA and pushed him to end the power outage and make the perennial power supply throughout a day every day. The smooth supply of power making available for twenty four hours a day alone had expedited the socio-economic development in the country to some extent, and stopped the billions of rupees worth of the imports of the inverters and batteries used for storing power to use whenever the power is not available from the main supply line, and other billions of rupees spent on importing power from India. The Oli administration could appoint such a competent CEO as Ghising to other State-run agencies, too but the attention of Mr. Oli had not drawn to such good actions, yet.


The merits of providing the folks in the Kathmandu Valley with the drinking water from the Melamchi River would have gone to the Oli administration after repeatedly postponing it for every coming Dashain festival if it had not blown up one of the sixteen gates while passing the water through the tunnel for the test run in the third week of July 2020 making uncertain for the supply of water and opening a floodgate of making money for the water companies, and the decision makers involved in this multi-billion project that is being done with the generous financial assistance of the Asian Development Bank. Nobody knows whether Prime Minister Oli would survive as the prime minister to see the water flowing from the Melamchi River to the thirsty Kathmandu Valley people, as it has become uncertain whether the project would be completed during his five year term of office or not. Some folks doubted whether the water would really flow from the Melamchi River to Kathmandu as most of the decision makers in the project had been the folks having the serious interest in the private water companies producing and supplying water in Kathmandu Valley with the profit of billions of rupees a year.


What an option the voters have if they would not vote for the NC in the next general election, as the serious rival the communist party has gone so low that voters would simply see it as a worthless to vote for it. It seems they have no alternative at all to voting for the NC, as RPP: the political party founded by the former Pancha politicians of the discredited Panchayat system, had the policies and programs of reinstating the awful and dead monarchy that had sold out the Limpiyadhura, Kalapani, and Lepu Lekh to India and removed those part of Nepal even from the map of Nepal in the mid 1970s. Former King Mahendra shared the northern portion of the Mt. Everest with China, which the then first popularly elected Nepalese Prime Minister BP Koirala absolutely refused to do so when Mao Zedong proposed it while BP was in China during his state visit. RPP also has the policy of re-imposing the Hindu religion on the fifty percent of the non-Hindu ethnic people falsely claiming ninety percent of Nepalis are of the Hindu faith again trying to make Nepal a country of one faith, one language, and one national dress disregarding the religion, culture and languages of the ethnic people. The Madheshi leaders and their political parties had once sold out their political souls to India claiming the credit for the embargo India imposed on Nepal believing that India could force the Nepalese political leaders to meet the demands of the Madheshi leaders before promulgating the people’s Constitution in September 2015. So, they are also not the candidates for the Nepalese voters to vote for.


Ultimately, voters might need to vote for the NC in the next general elections to protect and preserve the fundamental human rights to the freedom of expression, to the protection of the private property that the communists had been trying to grab from the common people, and to safeguard the Constitution and the democracy from the communist predators, as the president that had taken the oath of defending the Constitution of Nepal had issued two ordinances Prime Minister Oli had recommend without checking them whether they would violate the Constitution or not. Nepalis had paid so high prices in terms of human lives lost for reinstating democracy again and again and finally ending the monarchy that had been hard wall for the smooth functioning of democracy in the country, and for the policy on putting the socio-economic development on the fast track through the involvement of the private sector in the development. So, Nepalis could not afford to lose all those political gains made paying the high prices of the huge sacrifices of human lives and property mistakenly voting for the communists and other political parties to power again.


July 22, 2020

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