Nepali Times Asian Paints
My Take
Election hangover


The Republican Party has already taken steps to lose the 2012 election. Fresh from an election victory they have wrested the US House of Representatives back from their Democratic rivals and strengthened their presence in the US Senate party leaders are already talking arrogantly. The incoming House Speaker, Republican leader John Boehner, has summed up the next two years.

"We're going to do everything and I mean everything we can do to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can," Boehner said on Tuesday as election results started pouring in. Arrogant? Yes. Effect? Disastrous.

The election results are a strong rebuke for Obama, who is now seen as someone who made a lot of promises during his election campaign but failed to deliver on them. It is a harsh assessment of the president, who was initially perceived by a large number of Americans and people around the world as transformative.

The reality is the Obama Administration has achieved in two years what President Bill Clinton could not in his two terms over eight years: giving the United States revolutionary healthcare reform. Besides delivering on his signature campaign issue, President Obama brought in a stimulus package for the collapsing financial sector and propped up an ailing US automobile industry.

There are some lessons here for politicians in the United States and elsewhere, including Nepal.

It might be easy for some Democrats and their apologists to blame it all on the global economic recession that began manifesting itself in 2008, and the unemployment in the US. What they might not admit publicly is the strong disconnect with the people, especially their own base, which wasn't motivated enough to go to the nearest election booths. Boehner could face the same fate if he does not mend his ways.

Nepal and India furnish very good examples of this phenomenon. Rajiv Gandhi of India rode on a sympathy wave after his mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was assassinated in 1984. But the Gandhi-led Congress (I) party lost the 1989 elections. Don't just blame the Bofors scandal. Arrogant Congress leaders and their disconnect with the voters did the party in.

The former Maoist rebels won the largest number of seats in the Constituent Assembly elections in 2008, though they fell far short of a majority. That result was a rebuke to the Nepali Congress and UML, who had lost their grassroots support. However, this did not prevent the Maoists from acting so cocksure they refused to abide by written agreements. They made one ill-conceived move after another: forcibly removing the head priest (of Indian origin) at the holiest Hindu temple in Nepal, Pashupatinath; sacking the army chief on the pretext of upholding civilian supremacy; and enforcing an indefinite general strike. The high-flying Maoists, who acted as if they had the mandate to do as they pleased, were grounded in the aftermath of all three episodes, none more dramatically than in the public response to the strike this May.

Now Chairman Dahal is leaving no stone unturned to get back the prime ministership he himself threw away. One hopes his time in the wilderness, and lessons from America, will render him more reasonable and statesmanlike, for the good of his party and his country.

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1. Arthur
"The Republican Party has already taken steps to lose the 2012 election. Fresh from an election victory... � party leaders are already talking arrogantly."

This could be an insightful comment. But the application to Nepal is backwards. Whatever the author thinks of their policies, the Maoists did not leave government as a result of losing popular support in an election.

The parties that arrogantly put themselves in office to do nothing despite losing the election have already taken steps to lose the next election by an even bigger margin.

Fortunately they are so stupid, they are incapable of understanding this even if the author had tried to explain it to them.

2. B

You are absolutely right.

3. Nirmal

If I were a rightist, I would be sneaking into Surya Bdr Thapa & Co�s whisky party, my ideas would be triumphant Damakant. If I were a leftist, I would run like a lost soul, wondering who can sell me an illusion justifiably: actually we(leftists) have a season where or we�re kicked out or our lives are made impossible. Look at the United States of America: they have devoured Obama in two years and made him a prisoner of the Republicans, THE TEA PARTY WORKED. Turn the binoculars to Europe; there�s hardly any socialist party in any government, who are threatened by polls, the far right enters into the European Parliament not even a single communist party. Look at our own so called (without any intention to offend any innocent soul)transexual communist leaders like Madhav Nepal, KP Oli and many UML bandwagons, they are around the power but we do not even know if they will be resubmitted after any future elections , yes they have their four votes secured that people do not want. And Halt in Terai; there will be no UML after any future elections. Not only in Nepal the left is being reduced and the right advances toward the total control of the power. This has been a sacred truth of current political scenario of global politics, like it or not.

It's like a plot of circumstances adverse to social democracy, like khana man lagyo bhannuko satta bhok lagyo bhannu, they�ve confused the hunger with appetite. The bad luck has matched the economic disaster with many governments of left who have failed to offer solutions or, if offered, were sterile. Consequently, they are rejected. Not that the right has been started to be loved as a great salvation. It is because that the left has lost neccessary support to govern and de-sketched their own imagination  ie coherence in politics. Most probably the Maoists are not going to suffer any huge electoral loss If the elections are held tomorrow, but day after tomorrow�? I can�t say the same. I mean the Maoists although being �the most dynamic and well organised party�(let�s place it between commas) equally poses threat, due to its ideological imbalance, their unability to understand that no political party can turn Democracy into connivance.

The Maoist leaders not only have governed badly during their nine months tenure and have failed to communicate to society properly, but also its ideology has fallen short for new challenges after the declaration of Republic together with the rightists of Nepal. The Maoist sponsored public conflicts on the crisis prevailed are over conservative solutions. Just an example: New social movements, such as Madhes uprising, Limbuwaan-Khumbuwaan morcha, Tharuwaan and the peace rally belong to the Right side in strict political language but why this play down the Maoists' importance of being the left?  So in Nepal, still there is much to make the real left space in politics apart from those tikatalo and fulmaala shows offered in name of unity. No left party who have achieved representation in recent years are inspired by that motto which, normally we(leftists) have it screened on our brain:in politics you should care both the core of the matter as well as the way to accomplish it. The left in Nepal are a sort of disenchanted leakage of socialism, as is the case of Maobadi, emale, majdoor kissan party etc. On the left there is just a barren land, with the old stands of old and, I regret to say, with a speech that has changed little since Lenin, Stalin era but pretends to give volume of fumes with the terminology New Nepal.


That is my view and certainly the political sign of our times. The politicians who are leading right-wing groups are now at the right time and right place. If the crisis is resolved during their tenure, it�ll be a blow for social democracy which will take long to recover.

   If I were the rightist Damakant, I�d say, be happy we have had a good sait and our daurasuruwaal shines in absence of the real left, pity that the rightists in Nepal are as always inefficient people! Too busy on their own pompous daily lives and overly enchanted within their own circle. But, if I am from the left side, first of all I�d look at this trend and would better try for a bunzy jump somewhere in Nepal and only know to tell the winners: "At least, Do not abuse ladies and gentlemen", If I've to suggest anything before jumping.

4. Suresh Thapa
"The Republican Party has already taken steps to lose the 2012 election". Shouldn't it be "The Republican Party has already taken steps to WIN the 2012 election" ?

5. PT

Mr. Damakant, write- a strong disconnection from the people instead of the strong disconnect with the people...

Ed Support

6. TP
actually, Damakant Jayshi doesn't need your editorial support - 'strong disconnect' is a perfectly common and correct idiom these days, whereas 'strong disconnection' never was.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)