NOV 13 - With nation states as dominant political entities, the vast majority of people in the world still tie their personal prestige to the prestige of their nation. That being the state of affairs, it is infuriating for Nepalis to witness how our political class, instead of building a strong Nepal we can all be proud of, is engaged in a suicidal fight to divide, disunite and weaken the state. On the political, economic and cultural fronts, our system has shown a remarkable capacity to make the worst of any opportunity that come disguised as a crisis. National politics, once again, resembles the prisoner’s dilemma, where the parties are doing their best at making the best of the current gamble, conveniently forgetting that politics is not a single game played only once, where the victor takes all and the loser none. This obviously leads to positions that are dangerously short-sighted.
One such myopic position is that regarding the budget. As this newspaper has repeatedly said, the national budget is an important driver of the national economy and, therefore, should not be held hostage to political wrangling. Leaders from the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML, we are sure, understand very well the importance of a timely budget. But the pursuit for power has come in between national and partisan interests. Thus, the opposition has gone to the extent of writing to the president to not endorse the budget forwarded by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai until consensus on a package deal is arrived at, by which, in effect, they mean Bhattarai’s resignation. The positions taken by the government and the opposition are bound to lead to a confrontation between the two remaining positions of power-held by the two most prominent men in Nepal today—that of the prime minister and the president. There should be no doubt that confrontation between the two institutions is going to lead to a further erosion of democracy, its institutions, constitutionalism, the economy and civil rights.
It increasingly seems as though the leaders of the country, through their actions, are engaged in a distasteful game of weakening the enemy by weakening the capacities of the government to fulfill its responsibilities. The refusal of the parties to come to a consensus on the budget, everyone agrees, is going to severely cripple the economy, not to mention the administrative affairs of the country. Unfortunately it is the people who suffer most because of a paralysed economy, not the political class engaged in a vicious fight to force their opponents to their knees. As the celebration of the festival of lights continues in the next few days, the political class must reflect on the consequences of their infighting on the economy and the people.
Posted on: 2012-11-14 09:19