With a week to go for another constitution anticlimax, speculation is rife not about whether or if the constitution will be completed (it won't) but what comes after. There is bristling resentment among Nepalis about the performance of the CA after the last extension a year ago.
In last year's Himalmedia poll, 43 per cent of the respondents called for one year extension of the CA, but this year almost 49 per cent have voted against the extension. Even among those that have called for more time, 81 per cent are in favour of extension by only six months. The people understand well that time was never an issue as far as drafting the statute is concerned.
Asked what they thought was the reason constitution wouldn't be drafted, 32 per cent pinpointed the ideological differences between the Maoists and the NC. An equal proportion thought it was disagreement over the peace process and federalism. The bottomline is that the people know it is the polarisation between the Maoists and NC that is holding back an agreement.
Many respondents took the opportunity of their interviews with Himal's enumerators to send word to the leaders in Kathmandu to shed ideological rigidity on contentious issues like federalism, governance and elections to come up with a framework that is acceptable to all.
Among those that were against the extension, 48 per cent wanted a fresh election, 21.7 per cent wanted the constitution-drafting job handed over to the experts and 10.4 per cent want the country to revert back to 1990 constitution. These are not auspicious tidings for the new republic.
However, the results are most worrying for the Maoists whose popularity appears to have sharply declined this year. The party's decision to abandon the line of 'people's revolt' seems to have come too late as only 20 per cent trust the Maoists to lead country to peace, prosperity and democracy. What is interesting here is that 21.8 per cent put their trust on NC, but 32 per cent remain undecided on the question.
As far as the Jhal Nath Khanal government is concerned, 65 per cent feel that it can neither complete the peace process nor deliver the constitution. People blame the 601 law makers collectively for the failure to draft the constitution. This may be unfair to some of the hard working and honest members in the assembly, but it is the general perception fuelled by series of scandals which has maligned the image of the entire house.
A public opinion survey, even one carried out among 4,000 respondents carefully selected according to scientific random sampling, has its limitation. But it is as good an indicator as any to gauge the general mood of the people in the social, economic and political milieu at any given time.
This year's Himalmedia survey gives a clear message to the political parties and their leaders that people are thoroughly fed up with their activities, or lack thereof. Even the response against extending the tenure of the CA is an expression of this anger.
The people have been very mature and reasonable in their analysis that inspite of politics, the country has made great strides which need to be protected. If the parties commit themselves to the peace process and constitution drafting with renewed vigour, people may be willing to give them one more chance.
"No", J B PUN MAGAR
१४ जेठपछि के गर्ने? म्याद नथप्ने, चुनावमा जाने, KIRAN NEPAL, Himal Khabarpatrika