Monday, April 14, 2008

Price of overconfidence and selfishness!!

One usually gets more benefits as they get more experience in their field. This usually and in most cases rightly is based on the assumption that more experience allows one to see a bigger picture in current and future context. One matures as they learn from their mistakes and is less likely to make similar mistakes. This does not apply to politicians specially if they happen to be Nepali politicians.

The constituent assembly election in Nepal which got postponed twice and finally was held on April 10 had such a denouement that outcome not only stunned the people who lost but also the people who won. Majority of so called experts had predicted the stalwarts from Congress and UML would hold their forte with Maoists grabbing some seats in remote areas. These experts just got big slaps in their face because Maoists are certainly heading towards a simple majority at the expense of the stalwarts. Is this a fluke? Here is a an effort in sensible rationalization of the outcome with top five reasons in ascending order.

1. Postponement of Elections: I believe that elections got postponed twice not because it was not feasible but because Maoists were not ready. They knew that they only had influence in remote areas. If elections were to be held, they would mostly win in those remote areas which could easily be blamed on fear and coercion. So they bid their time, gathered enough momentum in rest of the countries and once they were assured of some support in non remote areas of the country, they agreed for poll.

2. Fear: Just before the poll, Maoist chieftain made an statement that if poll results were not in their favor, they would go back to uprising. People were already tired of killing of thousand of innocent people, daily strikes and uncertainty. Fear of going through the grind worked made people vote for them. Add to top of this the fact that some candidates could not even go to their constituencies for prepoll activities. See my previous blog.

3. Overconfidence: The stalwarts believed what election experts had to say. They stayed at their cozy homes in Kathmandu when they should have been spending time in their constituencies understanding the ground realities and common people's aspiration. They assumed that people would not want Maoists who simply were portrayed as bunch of goons.

4. Selfishness: This primarily applies to parties from Madhesh. Mahanth Thakur formed TMDP after being a member of Congress throughout his life. He came to realize that Congress was not doing enough for Madheshi people. This came too late (few months before the election) which shows lack of foresight on his part but there is a saying, "It's never too late." MJF came to limelight because they fought for Madheshi's right. I think what they have done for Madheshi people in last one year is more than what Congress/UML/Sadbhawna have collectively done in past 15 years. MJF and TMDP did have wisdom to think about forging an alliance for the election but effort failed because they could not agree on how many seats each should get. To me it's very simple if you put Terai and Madhesh' interest before your party. But they all wanted a bigger share of the pies which ultimately resulted into none of them getting enough share of pie to be called a force from Terai. I find more fault with Mr. Thakur.

5. Need for Change: People gave a clear majority to Congress in the first election that was held when King Birendra yielded to democracy. Congress squandered this majority and instead of focusing on people, the leaders focussed on themselves and split their party. Same thing happened to UML. People witnessed many permutations of Koiralas, Nepals, Deubas, Thapas and Kings during these years. None of them showed will to stand for people and hence the need for change. Maoists talked about bringing a change in very simple terms which common people could understand and results are there for all to see.

I always see the proverbial glass as half full instead of half empty. I believe that everybody should get a chance. Where it's a fluke or hard labor, Maoist have been given a mandate to bring a CHANGE in Nepal. They should grab this opportuny with both hands and show the whole world that they can walk the talk. I will certainly be hoping for that.


Anonymous said...

You should have written this article before the poll.
How many percentage of people do you think are influenced by the Maoist threat??

isthatso said...

The blog is an effort to see what went wrong and right during const. election. Moreover, my political acumen is not that good enough to predict the election result. :-)

Compound Maoist's new threat with their background and YCL, I would say the threat would have affected 30% of people who voted for non-maoist candidates.

Anonymous said...

Good post.. But what are the changes you expect from the maoist?

Do you support abolition of monarchy?

Your opinions on Nepal being declared a Secular state?

Jhakkash said...


Let me answer easy questions first:
Yes, I support the abolition of monarchy in Nepal. Not because I don't like monarchy but because what has been left of it.

I think in long run, Nepal as a secular state is good. Being a poor country, it is heavily dependent on foreign aids and it officially being a Hindu country did not help in that regard.

My expectations from Maoists are not that high. For one, they have not done anything significant since they have been in government and second, most of their cadres are very used to bullying and extortion and it will take a while to get rid of that mentality. In next five years if Maoist can create an environment where common people can live without fear of their cadres then it will be a win from my perspective.