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Sixty-ninth Anniversary Of Democracy Day

Issue February 2019

Sixty-ninth Anniversary Of Democracy Day

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


The Oli administration marked the 69th anniversary of the democracy Day on February 19, 2019 (Falgun 7, 2075). The day is actually the day of transferring the power from one monarch to another. So, so much power and energy and lives the folks had spent on ending the tyrannical Rana rule was wasted, and Nepalis needed to fight against one king after another for almost 70 years to complete the people’s movement to end the monarchy. Today, we have democracy but we need to make a full-fledged one.


Actually, the day 69 years ago was the day of transferring the power from the Rana prime minister to the then King Tribhuvan his grandfather Surendra Shah forcibly transferred to Jung Bahadur the brave and notoriously ruthless person who could have easily end the Shah monarchy at that time but he did not because his interest had been met and why he needed to take more risk. So, the Shah monarchy remained intact despite it became so weak that it was almost in the verge of collapse, actually collapsed because Surendra surrendered all power to Jung Bahadur. Is it right to call this day the democracy day when BP Koirala simply replaced Mohan Shumsher with Tribhuvan?


Thanks to BP Koirala: the leader of the Nepali Congress (NC) without political visions, Tribhuvan got back the power his grandfather Surendra lost to Jung Bahadur a century ago, and then the Rana prime ministers became so atrocious that it was really a surprise that they could survive 104 years. During that period they kept the people so repressed that their life expectancy was only 24 years, and they lived in dare poverty.


Folks anticipated that the monarch that took power from Mohan Shumsher would work for the welfare of the common folks. However, Tribhuvan worried about nothing but about losing the power to the NC leaders as his grandfather did to Jung Bahadur. So, Tribhuvan was so scared of the NC leaders, and he considered them as foes rather than partners in running the administration, as the phobia of NC leaders taking over power from him remained deep in his mind. He spent most of the time manipulating the young inexperienced NC leaders and making them fight among themselves weakening them considerably.


After untimely death of Tribhuvan his son Mahendra became the king and he did not want to share the power with NC leaders despite the fact that the NC leaders particularly BP Koirala transferred the power from the Rana prime minister to his father. However, under the people’s pressure, Mahendra gave his own constitution, and then held the general elections in which folks overwhelmingly voted the NC to power.


The sad story had been that BP Koirala: the first elected prime minister instead of institutionalizing the democratic institutions and making the constitution people-oriented even having the sufficient votes to do so rather engaged in letting his political cadres interfere in the local administration, and letting them to indulge in undesirable corrupt practices, which made the NC party the most unpopular within a year, and after eighteen month the NC collapsed and went to hibernation for 30 years. Could anybody imagine that only 18 months ago folks had voted for the party had been disappeared without any visible remains? It had been because BP Koirala could not or did not stop the corruption so rampant among his political cadres.


Today, Mr. KP Oli needed to learn the lessons from the mistakes of BP Koirala, and stop the prevailing corruption that had been happening because the Oli administration not taking the actions against the contractors not completing the development projects or not punishing those ministers who had claimed that the wide-body planes were purchased even though the experts had already proved that they were taken on lease or purchasing the bulletproof car and a helicopter for the president at the expense of billions of rupees of the taxpayers’ money just to mention only a few.


Then after taking over from the elected Prime Minister Koirala, Mahendra who thought to be the smartest king imposed his system called Panchayat after massacring the nascent democracy and dissolving the democratically elected government, and then killing one political leader and cadre after another who opposed him and challenged him in any possible means.


Common folks had thought that at least Mahendra would do something for the wellbeing of them after the BP Koirala whom they had voted to power did not do anything consequently they wrote him off. However, Mahendra instead of making smart decisions to make the people prosperous he deliberately designed a political system to keep the common folks under his thumb and revived the despotic rule, and engaged in corruption directly or indirectly, directly selling the palace to the government but not transferring the palace to the State, indirectly his folks collecting millions of rupees from the businesspersons. Mahendra passed away peacefully in early 1972.


His son Birendra inherited the shady and repressive Panchayat system. Birendra despite being educated at Eton or where not instead of improving the system for making it corruption free let it enhance without control, and Birendra amassed a huge fortune probably unfairly. He owned thousands of hectares of land, hundreds of thousands of shares in the private banks, and not to mention the jewelry and so on, the Nepal Trust setup after the end of the monarchy to ascertain the assets of Birendra and his family so tragically killed in the palace massacre on the early night of June 1, 2001 found.


Mahendra and even Birendra did not learn the lessons from the mistakes of BP Koirala that the corruption was the main killer of the politicians. They did not understand that if BP Koirala were to be sincere to the voters who had voted him to power, Mahendra would not be able to remove Koirala from power even if Mahendra could, folks would stand up against Mahendra and put Koirala back to power. The massive corruption during the short period of the Koirala administration had been the main cause of the political misfortune of BP Koirala.


The Panchayat Mahendra introduced and Birendra simply continued with vigorous corrupt practices became the synonymous with corruption. The Panchayat fell down with its own heavy weight of corruption the folks involved including Birendra had committed within so short time to amass such a huge fortune, and Birendra surrendered the power to the joint front of the NC and the communists.


Again those NC and communist leaders did not try to look back and see the corruption that had been the cause of the demise of one regime after another. They simply thought that it was their turn to make money no matter what would happen to the political system and to the common folks. Again the common folks became the victims of the endless political, social and economical corruption the politicians had indulged in.


The senseless palace massacre gave birth to another ambitious king called Gyanendra, who probably thought that he was the political incarnation of his father Mahendra. He wanted to do in 2000s what his father did in 1960s. He even reappointed the persons his father had made the prime ministers, and after taking over the power tricking the then elected prime minister to dissolve the parliament, and then calling the popularly elected prime minister incompetent and firing him unceremoniously to run the administration whimsically.


The result had been the massive corruption, which ended not only his administration but also the monarchy forever. Would Mr. Oli learn the lessons from the mistakes committed not only by BP Koirala but also by Mahendra, Birendra, and ultimately Gyanendra letting the massive corruption and causing the end of their administration and the system and the regime they had created? If yes, Oli would live on if not he would face the destinies of his predecessors in question.


However, the current trend of the Oli administration has clearly indicated that Mr. Oli has been simply following the footprints of the corrupt and failed leaders in the past. Those leaders had killed democracy not once but several times. People had repeatedly reestablished it. However, even today the democracy has been in question.


Democracy by the definition of American Former President Abraham Lincoln is the government by the people for the people and to the people.


Government by the people means voters elect their representatives, and the elected representatives elect a prime minister who in turn forms a government and through this government people make the government by the people. The Oli administration in that sense has passed this test and it is the government by the people, no doubt about that.


Now, the question is whether the Oli administration is the government for the people or not.


For example, Prime Minister Oli and his President Bidhya Bhandari went to garland the statue of Prithvi Narayan Shah on the anniversary of Prithvi on January 11, 2019; then Mr. Oli sent his army to stop the Kirtipurians from spitting in the scar of the smallpox stone over which Prithvi tripped when his army and he assaulted Kirtipur in the 18th century; and then Mr. Oli laid the foundation stone for the dry port at Chovar, and for a view tower at Sundhara in Kathmandu despite the opposition of the local folks. Is the Oli administration the government for the people? Any rational folks would probably say, no.


The third thing President Abraham Lincoln had said about democracy is the government to the people.


What the Oli administration has been giving to the people; practically nothing would be the correct answer. Hundreds if not thousands of development projects that would have been beneficial to the common folks after the completion had remained incomplete so far. Almost all of those development projects have been running for years; however, Mr. Oli even after one year in office had done nothing to bring the contractors that had defaulted on completing the projects to book so far.


So, democracy in Nepal has been at the initial stage of electing the representatives to form the people’s elected government. Unfortunately, thus the elected Oli government has turned his back on the folks who had elected their representatives who in turn elected Oli to the office of prime minister.


Mr. Oli would survive in the political turmoil if he were to learn lessons his predecessors had committed indulging in corruption and ultimately becoming disgraced figures. The Oli administration has been tending to be a dishonored one because of the widespread public dissatisfaction with the disgusting performances of the ministers including the prime minister.


The marking of the democracy day does not make sense if everything goes against democracy.


Shame on the prime minister for opening up the statue of Kalu Pandey on February 21, 2019, who came to occupy Kirtipur in the 18th century but Kirtipurians killed him before he could do so. Mr. Oli had shown that he was not the prime minister that could run the government for the people otherwise he would not revere the occupant insulting the Nepalis in general and Kirtipurians in particular revering the colonist Kalu Pandey. Who knows this prime minister probably might be the secret agent of the Shah kings? Probably, Nepalis would not wait for the next general elections to unseat him.


February 20, 2019

Updated February 21, 2019

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