KATHMANDU, Dec 7: Senior Nepali Congress (NC) leader Ram Chandra Paudel has said that the arbitrary privatization of various state-owned enterprises (SOEs) had prevented the party from achieving socialism as envisioned by the party’s founding leader BP Koirala.
Paudel said that since privatization made education and health largely inaccessible to the ordinary people, NC failed to achieve the lofty goal set by its founding leader. “Our education system is creating two groups of people. While one group is getting access to quality education, the other is denied of the same. The commitment to provide quality education to all is one of the prerequisites of socialism,” he said.
Addressing the inaugural session of a round-table discussion titled “Re-imagining a Social Welfare Model in Nepal: Agenda Setting’, the former deputy prime minister and the party’s vice president Paudel said that the situation of the people’s access to health facilities is the same. “The vision of BP Koirala’s socialism was to ensure justice to the helpless and income to the poor,” he said, lamenting the government’s decision in the past to privatize even “essential public entities”. The people have suffered a lot because of this, he added.
Paudel also said that the current KP Oli government was not moving toward socialism despite its pledge for the same. “This government is instead working to create a new group in society. It is the responsibility of NC to bridge the divides created on various grounds and lead the country toward democratic socialism in its true spirit,” he further said.
The round-table was organized jointly by Nepali Congress, SOCDEM Asia and Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Denmark. Speaking on the occasion, former ambassador Dr Dinesh Bhattarai said since democracy had fallen in crisis, it’s high time that NC worked for finding an alternative to populism and various other strategies that the ruling parties in Nepal have been employing to “weaken the democratic values”.
Also speaking on the occasion, Program Manager of SDP Iben Merrild lauded NC for its role in the socio-political transformation of Nepal. The working session of the program dwelt on social democracy and social welfare: experience and lessons from Denmark and Nepal. Former Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, former minister and lawmaker Narayan Khadka and member of Copenhagen Regional Council, Lars Gaardhoj were among those speaking at the session.