Save for some road accidents and the tragic deaths they resulted in, Dashain—the longest festival celebrations in Nepal—has passed largely peacefully. A total of 17 road accidents took place in Chitwan district in the last one week according to District Traffic Police Office of Chitwan, in which 10 people lost their lives and 56 were injured. Other 32 people were injured in another incident in Tanahu. Government, as well as private offices, have resumed and newspapers have resumed their print editions as well. People who had gone to celebrate the occasion with their families in far-flung villages are returning to the cities and towns. In other words, festival time is over. Now is the time for all to work with renewed enthusiasm and complete all pending works. It is more so for the government and the ruling Nepal Communist Party.
As is the case, the country is yet to amend around 315 laws which contradict with the spirit and provisions of the new constitution. This has not been possible due to indifference shown by various ministries to study the contradicting provisions in those laws. More troublingly, such amendments have to be completed before the March 4, 2019 deadline, which is less than five months away. This is urgent because the Article 304 of the constitution states that all laws contradicting the statute will be invalid after a year of the first meeting of the federal parliament, which was held on March 5. Besides, the government has not been able to get to the bottom of rape and murder case of Nirmala Panta despite nationwide protest for justice for Nirmala. It is already nearly three months since that gruesome incident took place and stirred national consciousness against violence against women and children.
Apart from that, the government of K P Sharma Oli has not been able to do much to control crime and corruption, which is why its popularity is waning by the day. The government ministers are largely seen as fulfilling their petty interests, while doing nothing to ensure timely delivery of basic services. It should no longer be the case in the days to come. Dashain also provides a time for soul-searching for political leaders to reflect on their mistakes and find ways to rectify them. In the coming few days, political parties—those in the government and opposition—may host tea receptions. Political leaders should utilize this occasion to reflect on their mistakes and come with renewed commitment to serve the people. Reportedly, the prime minister is also mulling reshuffling the cabinet. If that is the case, he should not just be focused on replacing one set of leaders with another. He should be inducting the leaders with proven competence in the cabinet so that they enhance government’s performance. Here is a hope that post-festival break, the government and public officials will work in a way that leaves no room for the general public to complain against them.