Political leaders often defend their respective parties’ stance on issues and tend to justify the unjustifiable, no matter how illogical those may seem at times. Whether they are in the opposition or in the government, they tend to hide their shortcomings. The address to the parliament by a senior Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Madhav Kumar Nepal on Thursday, however, was a pleasant exception. In an eloquent speech, Nepal spoke minds of general public by expressing serious grievances against the working style of the government led by his party chief K P Sharma Oli. Nepal raised the concerns which are slowly eroding the credibility of the incumbent government. He drew the attention of the government toward its failure to control increasing incidence of murder, rape, acid attack, violence against women and rising corruption. He rightly pointed out that people want good governance, development, speedy delivery of services and an end to sub-standard work. “Our heads bow down in shame if a person known to the public as corrupt is rewarded,” he made a stunning admission.
Former Prime Minister Nepal’s remarks reflect the general perception on the NCP government. As a matter of fact, more than six months in power now, the two-thirds majority government of K P Sharma Oli has not been able to do the bare minimum to ensure good governance and the rule of law. Apart from failing to book rapist and murderer of Nirmala Panta, it has failed to take action against the transport cartels and syndicates. Notoriously corrupt contractor like Pappu Construction is landing one after another billion rupees contract. And yet instead of blacklisting this company, the government is apparently providing it political protection. The government has not been able to make the contractors complete maintenance and repair of Chabahil- Sankhu road section. Nepal was spot on when he said, “Contractors don’t face any government action or penalty nor do they get blacklisted. Instead, they are rewarded.” He has also raised serious question about the working of Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa.
As is the case, transport syndicates are back to business as usual. Even some of the best decisions the government had made in the initial days—such as ending transport syndicate and cartel for good and punishing the underperforming contractors—have gone completely unimplemented. If the government goes ahead with business as usual attitude, more and more dissenting voices will be heard in the days to come. Additionally, the NCP has been mired in internal factionalism and gutbandi. There are complaints that party chair and Prime Minister Oli has sidelined, even prohibited, the dissenting voices within the party. This is not how the party organization is run in a democratic system. It should be noted that opposition to government’s nonperformance has started to be raised from within the ruling party itself. All this while, prime minister has been blaming the opposition party for creating hurdles and even media for portraying his government in negative light. Madhav Nepal’s remarks show something is seriously wrong within the party and the way the government is functioning. The first step of Prime Minister Oli, when he returns from UNGA, should to be to heed the call for mending the ways of his government and make his administration truly accountable to the people. Pointing finger to others does not work. It’s time for the ruling Nepal Communist Party to do serious soul-searching and revive the hope the public had reposed on it. Nothing else will save the reputation of the two-thirds majority government.