The final days of the extended Constituent Assembly is fast approaching once more, and the smell of street protests is in the air again. The tents have returned to their familiar spots in New Baneswor, and bitter political power struggle is slowly giving way to nervous signs of cooperation before the deadline expires on 31 August. We are approaching yet another anti-climax.
But something is different this time. The hint of guilt and remorse that we saw in the run up to 28 May have vanished, as the leaders audaciously claim "we may be losers, but you've got no choice". Forget about the peace and the constitution, in the last three months, the leaders could not even agree to work together on kick-starting governance. We've been witness to bizarre scenes where fellow members have collected signature to unseat their own leaders in the party and in the CA.
Every major political actor in Nepali politics today is a victim of what the Game Theorists call 'prisoner's dilemma', where individuals look to maximise their own payoff with utter disregard of that of the other, thereby leading to Mutually Assured Destruction. The failure of Madhav Nepal government, 17 rounds of elections and the humiliating attack on the Jhalanath government from his own party are a proof that Nepali politics is a zero sum game where one party has gains at the collective loss of all others. No one has learnt the lesson, we are on the verge of yet another majoritarian government.
Fear of the NC and the larger-than-life ego of the Maoist chairman is leading the nation down a spiral. Although the UML might have lost interest in cashing in on their divide this time, the Madhesi front is looking to score brownie points by entering into a deal with NC. Even the school kids who sat in front of the CA building for weeks with their hands tied to one another in a futile attempt to drive in sense of cooperation among the leaders know that so long as we follow a majoritarian culture in a bitterly divided nation, we are all losers.
This time, the power deadlock has stopped baffling, enraging, angering, provoking and even amusing us anymore. Ours is a generation that has grown up in the shadow of violence. The decade long violence and half a decade of painful transition is clearly taking its toll on Nepali society. The lack of physical and social security has led to growing desperation among the youth who are losing faith in the state. They do not fear this weak transitional justice system. We are experiencing what happens when the future of the nation manifests itself as a violent present.
The unseemly political cock-fight for power is leading this nation towards not just political and economic crisis, but social upheaval. Perhaps the power clogged brains of our rulers can't understand that the anarchy and impunity that prevails in the streets today will come to their doorsteps tomorrow.
The public's faith in politics is now largely eroded. Nothing can be more dangerous than a society that loses faith in politics, because what reigns then is uncertainty. In a dire attempt to keep hopeless hope alive, let us hope that sanity prevails and the institution of politics saves itself for the day. It does not require a herculean effort, just a bit of common sense and more assertiveness from a younger generation of leaders in all major political parties with a cross-partisan approach to nation-building.