The government and ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) have sent deeply troubling messages in the past few days. First, there was leaked audio of infamous scandal of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s key confidante Gokul Baskota, who served as the minister of information communication technology, demanding bribes amounting to 700 million rupees in the security press procurement process. This sent shockwaves across the country. The Prime Minister, who claimed not to spare a single corrupt person in his administration, it seemed, was protecting allegedly the most corrupt person in his cabinet. There have also been suspicions of PM’s hand in this case. Then came Prime Minister’s birthday celebration on Sunday. His 69th birthday was marked with such fanfare and extravaganza in his home town of Tehrathum that people have scoffed at him, instead of expressing good wishes on his birthday. How do you justify chartering a helicopter to transport the birthday cake? Why this extravaganza? Apparently, all this was funded by a dubious business group close to the PM.
As if this was not enough, Nepal’s map was used on the birthday cake, which the PM cut into slices. PM’s supporters may cite examples from elsewhere to justify this act but this has sent a very bad message. It looked like the PM was treating the country like a cake, which can be cut into pieces and fed. This particular act has earned him widespread condemnation. Worse still, all other leaders who were sitting by the PM do not even seem to feel uncomfortable while cake cutting ceremony is going. We wonder why the PM did not even use the common sense. He could simply have refrained from cutting the cake on which whole of Nepal was emblazoned. The third troubling development of this week has been the news regarding NCP’s plan to amend the constitution to pave the way for Bamdev Gautam to become not only the member of National Assembly, the upper house of the parliament, but also the PM in the future. All these developments have made us wonder if the PM and other top leaders of the ruling NCP are in right frame of their mind.
Amending the constitution to elevate a leader (who has been rejected by the people during the election) to a higher post is surely going to open the Pandora’s Box. Already there have been calls for constitution amendment by various sections of the society on various other sensitive issues such as citizenship and boundaries of the existing provinces. Amending the constitution on one issue will lead to the demand for amendments on others. We are afraid we will be back to this never-ending game of the amendment and the constitution implementation, which is still a work in progress, could take a backseat. It goes without saying that ruling NCP and the PM have become extremely unpopular particularly after one after another unfolding scams—Baluwatar land scam, Yeti Holdings scam and security press purchase scam. The need of the hour is to initiate fair investigations on all the suspected actors and bring the guilty to the book. The government seems least bothered about this. Instead, the government head is getting dragged into scandals which are making mockery of the republican system. We fear that the ruling NCP is increasingly losing sense. The PM and the ruling party do not seem to care what the people think about them. It is getting late for both the PM and the ruling party to see sense and be rational in whatever they do in terms of policies, decisions and actions.