Nepali Times Asian Paints
BIJEN JONCHHE
Nepalipan
Lest we forget


BIJEN JONCHHE


At a time when there is a lot of talk about the restoration of democracy and handing back leadership to the seven party alliance, let us remind ourselves what they were up to when they were in power. How can we forget:

1. We had 15 governments in 15 years.
2. Genuine statesmen were relegated to the sidelines as party bosses clawed their way to the top.
3. For these honchos, self-aggrandisement came first, the interest of the party second and national interest last.
4. Parliament was used as an arena to push personal interests not to fulfil electoral promises.
5. As soon as they came to power, party bosses started distributing posts and jobs as rewards of loyalty and not on merit.
6. They interfered with the administrative structure and politicised it so much that it became a haven for the corrupt and mediocre.
7. They paid lip service to democracy and abandoned nationalism.
8. 'Democracy' became an end in itself, not linked to development.
9. Education was cynically abused through their student wings to further party interests.
10. Governance was characterised by lack of transparency and accountability.
11. State secrets were compromised- interest groups knew about cabinet decisions even before the state media announced them.
12. Nepotism, favouritism and corruption governed appointment of officials to key posts.
13. National assets were sold off at throwaway prices in the name of privatisation.
14. And how can we forget the foreign trips for medical treatment financed by the state and used for political horse-trading?
15. Parties colluded to use parliament sessions to sanction huge benefits to themselves paid by taxpayers.
16. Misleading citizens was developed into an art form. After having secretly signed the Tanakpur Treaty, it was ratified through parliament by calling it an 'agreement'.
17. Inconsistent utterances by the so-called democratic leaders have lent little credibility to party manifestos.
18. Parliament was abrogated time and again, with boycotts, walkouts and unruliness being the rule.
19. Despite talk of decentralisation, politics became even more capital centric, distancing elected leaders even further from the people.
20. Movement on social reform was so slow as to be imperceptible.
21. The proportion of higher castes in the civil service actually grew.
22. Frequent government change brought wild swings in policy and lack of continuity discouraging investors and partners.
23. Although corruption was democratised, top leaders were up to their necks in scandals: Dhamija, Lauda, Chase Air, China Southwest, Melamchi, Bakra Irrigation, teacher appointments.
24. Charge sheeted colleagues were given protection from the CIAA by political leaders in power.
25. When corruption became an issue it was turned into political vendetta and a witch hunt.
26. Democratic parties lacked internal democracy and sycophancy thrived. Dissenters were cast out into the wilderness.
27. Leaders even announced mid-term elections at the hint of opposition within the party, in the hope of garnering absolute majority.
28. Misusing state machinery to influence election results became the order of the day.
29. The police was politicised for electoral gain and political vengeance.
30. The use of criminal gangs for political activities elevated common thugs to the status of political figures.
31. Protests and bandas were the order of the day and were conducted with scant regard to inconvenience to the general public, the national economy and development.
32. The culture of political protests deteriorated into paralysing the education system, punishing the people to get back at political opponents in government.
33. Leaders who wantonly violated human rights, press freedom and civil liberties with impunity while in power talked of 'grand desig&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#̵'216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;', 'regression' when out of it.
34. While in power they called the Maoists 'terrorists' and tried to subdue them with force, but the moment they were out of power the same leaders didn't hesitate to travel to India to meet senior Maoists.
35. When crackdowns were carried out, they were brutal and counterproductive, eg: Operation Kilo Sierra 2.
36. Political leaders are now trying to return to power on the back of foreign powers and donors rather than popular support. One has even gone to New Delhi to ask donors to stop aid to Nepal.
37. If that doesn't work, they want to spark off a street unrest.
38. If that doesn't work they are willing to come to power through the grace of His Majesty.
39. Every action of King Gyanendra's is being labelled unconstitutional even though their demand of revival of parliament is even more unconstitutional.
40. After all this, the parties can only come up with a ragtag agreement promising peace and good governance in vague generalities. And still they wonder why there is no popular support for their anti-king agitation.

Bijen Jonchhe describes himself as an ever optimistic entrepreneur.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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