June 6, 2012,
GOVIND RAJ JOSHI
The Constituent Assembly (CA) was dissolved at midnight on May 27. The dissolution of the CA meant that the hopes and aspirations of the Nepalese people have been dashed to the ground, and a situation desperation is evident in the air. They are now asking their representatives why the constitution has not been given to them. Who is responsible for dissolving the Constituent Assembly? Why was the election of the CA declared again? Will the new CA be able to draft the new constitution? What is the guarantee? There are countless unanswered questions, and the people are trying to find the answers.
The Constituent Assembly was formed for the purpose of drafting a democratic constitution, with the participation of the people .The Interim Constitution had a provision of two years for drafting the new constitution. Being unable to make the new constitution in two years, it had been amended against the mandate of the people, though the CA had no right to change the mandate of the people. People tolerated it because of their hope of getting a new constitution. Repeatedly the Constituent Assembly amended the constitution, and extended its term.
People were very annoyed as there was no hope of
getting the new constitution. By this time a writ
petition was filed in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court gave its verdict that the Constituent Assembly tenure could not be extended beyond the May 27 deadline.
The leaders of the major political parties did not give any attention to the verdict of the Supreme Court thinking that they were supreme and could extend the time according to their will.
At the end of the tenure of the Constituent Assembly, they again tried to extend the term but were
unsuccessful and the result was the its dissolution, which ended the aspiration of the Nepalese people for a new consitution for themoment.
With the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, many questions have been raised in Nepalese politics. Why was the Constituent Assembly dissolved ? . Who is responsible for the
dissolution?Ifthe Constituent Assembly failed to draft the constitution, what is the use of holding
a new election for a new Constituent Assembly again? If the political parties failed in fulfilling the
people’s mandate, how can the people of Nepal believe that they will deliver the new constitution again by the election of a new Constituent Assembly? What is the guarantee that the political parties will draft the constitution after the new election of the CA.
Again the question of federalism on the basis of caste and ethnicity, the question of secularism, and many more issues have not been resolved by the political parties. Now the question is, do the leaders of the political parties have the right to decide on these issues? If it is so, why is it necessary to hold the election of the Constituent Assembly? They do not have that right as the Constituent Assembly has already been unsuccessful in making decisions on these issues.
So, what is the process for resolving these issues? Consensus should be made on the process of decision-making. If not, why not hold a referendum to make decisions on these issues? Before making the decision of the procedure, the government has declared the CA election again. This declaration has again created a deadlock in Nepalese politics.
Even when we say consensus is the only alternative for the political parties for a political solution, it has not succeeded in doing so because of the fact that all political parties are surrounded by their vested interests, that is to grab power. They have sidelined the the national interest. Even if the term of the Constituent Assembly had been extended, the situation would have remained the same. That is why the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly has saved the country.
If it had been extended, the conflict among the ethnic communities, Brahmins and Chhetris might have occurred. Because the three main parties and government has already signed a controversial agreement with the Janajatis, Brahmins and Chhetri Samaj and Dalits, Muslims and Tharus.
Even now the major political parties are not clear on their destination . Unless they unanimously fix the destination, the election is impossible. First, they have to convince the people why the election of the Constituent Assembly should be held again? Why not the election of parliament? What is the process of deciding the issues which were not yet decided? If the consensus is reached among the political parties to decide the issues of the political system, secularism and federalism on the basis of caste and ethnicity by a referendum, then only the election can be held.
In conclusion, we must say that there should be no compromise in democratic norms and values of the political system. It is high time that the leaders of major political parties
have to convince the people that their destination is to give the political solution for the country, which is a democratic constitution and for a free and fair election. Otherwise, their slogan will be just like pouring water on sand. Nobody will believe them.
(Joshi is a NC leader)
published in The Himalayan Times on 6 jun 2012