KATHMANDU: When the ruling Nepal Communist Party is still muffled in the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) debate, the government is about to complete its two years on Saturday.
Amidst speculations that the long-sought political stability has still not been able to work as per the people’s aspirations, Khabarhub had had an interview with Dr. Amresh Kumar Singh, one of the young and influencing leaders of Nepali Congress. Here are the excerpts of the talk with Dr. Singh, an MP in the Federal Parliament, centered on the issues related with the MCC dispute, evaluation of the nearly two-third majority government’s two years, and the review of main opposition party’s role:
A rare incident in the history of Nepal, when the ruling party seems divided on the MCC issue, the main opposition Nepali Congress is pressing the government to table it. What is the crux of the issue?
The crux of the issue is the communist government itself. It is an ideological debate. When the same money is taken from China under the BRI project, no communist leader protests. The communist schooling is no money should be taken from democratic countries like India or the USA.
This tendency has a strong grip in both small and larger communist parties. Secondly, the sycophant nature of the aforementioned parties towards some nations claiming to hold communist belief. Protesting against the MCC, they want to show China that they are pro-Chinese. The communists here are competing to prove themselves pro-Chinese. Hence, MCC has become the victim of such competition.
What will be the fate of MCC then? Will it be ratified?
Surely, it has to be and it will be ratified. It has to be passed because the Compact is in the best interest of Nepal. We are seeking some landmarks for development, and MCC can be remarkable foundation especially in the energy trade or power export to third country. The proposed transmission line can contribute to the long awaited leap Nepal can make in the energy sector.
There is the scarcity of infrastructure everywhere, even the tourism sector is affected adversely due to lack of deemed infrastructure. The road here is not tourism friendly.
The road network and road condition is poor. Nepal is one of the countries where death by road accidents is very high. The road accidents are not due to the negligence of the drivers alone. The condition of the road is too poor, no indicators, no safety. Nature has showered its beauty but we as human beings have abused everything.
Kathmandu has turned into a concrete jungle. The real, natural beauty is shadowed by the messy structures.
We should not discriminate the donations from the donors. We should take donation from anyone willing to help us; we should take it from anyone whether it’s from India, USA, Japan or China. We should be alert about the loans however. They say ‘loan or debt trap is death trap’ so we should be careful not to accept everyone’s debt though.
How to utilize the donation is all up-to the government. So, government should not shiver to decide it. MCC, as it is presented now, has become a shield to cover up the in-activeness and failure of the government. With MCC at the forefront, the NCP seems calling for polarization. Such acts never benefit Nepal.
Don’t you think that different interests of countries like the US, India, China in Nepal will lead to a kind of proxy war?
China has been inviting various international agencies and companies to come to China. It didn’t turn China an arena. China has welcomed foreigners and foreign loans, India has done so, why not Nepal? If any grant comes to Nepal and it can be best utilized in Nepal’s best interest, we should welcome it.
We should not take or discard the grants on ideological ground.
We are backward due to financial weakness. Had we let Arun III project when World Bank was ready to help us, we could have made an economic leap. It’s remarkable that the project was terminated due to the protests from the left, the communists.
Now in the case of MCC, we find the rift of the erstwhile Maoists and the UML divided on the issue. Be it in the Speaker’s case, or the MCC or the Venezuela case, etc. the internal rift between then existing parties has manifested again. What has Venezuela given the nation and why are we putting our name, fame and pride at stake supporting the undemocratic government lying so far from us?
As a student of international relations, what do you think will be the impacts of polarization that you hint about? Where will it take to the ruling party?
This polarization impact not only the ruling party. It will hinder the government and development activities. Ultimately, it will have adverse impact in the existing political system itself. When the political parties get polarized and that also for power alone, it will stake the system.
What is politics for now?
It’s for power and with the help of power to accumulate wealth. Now, it seems, none wants to work for the people or nation. The leaders are concerned for powers and the profits they can get monetarily. The state power and economic powers come at a point and that also for personal benefit, the nation suffers. The state power and economic power should be lying separately, they should be in check and balance situation. The reason for the increase in the instances of corruption be it at local, provincial or federal levels is this lack of balance between these two powers.
Now, even in a small instance of corruption at Lalita Niwas, small in the sense that it is one of many such cases, there is discrimination even while making allegations. Both the decision makers and the ones who authenticated are exempted, the one who tabled the proposal as it had come from down is alleged! The allegations are also made against the non-leftists. It seems waving red-flag can grow one law-immune. The corrupt, the rapists, the criminals all get amnesty provided they have the communist flag. This is likely to make people more rebellious.
The government is going to complete its two years on Saturday. How do you evaluate two years of the government?
I have found the government more focused on centralizing power but making big promises, but least concerned about executing any of the promises it made during election or later after formation of the government. People are upset from such ‘impotent’ two-third majority government. People’s expectation that the government would have its ‘Arjun’s eye’ (focused) set on development, elimination of corruption, ensure equity and justice to all.
Why didn’t the government act as per people’s aspirations?
Internal conflict inside the party, and weak and ineffective role of main opposition party. I, as a member of parliament, have not got chance to know what made Nepali Congress obstruct the parliament and what made it resume again. I wonder on what grounds my party makes such decisions.
Honestly speaking, such decisions weaken the party stance and confuse the supporters as well. More than heeding at the concerns of the people or general supporters, our leaders seem worried on how to strengthen their personal groups or sects. Both the government and the opposition are functioning under same principles in this regard.
Whoever is involved in corruption, deserves legal action. Provided investigations are made to explore what factors prevented the government from booking the corrupts of wide-body scam, what hindered the investigation of Nirmala Panta’s murderer, how NCell got amnesty in tax evasion, what factors compel the government in handing over all property under Nepal Trust to Yeti Holdings alone, why does the opposition also keep mumming in it etc. we have grounds to be skeptic about the leaders and speculate that there are some common points bringing the leaders together.
I fear one day the government will hand over Narayanhiti, Singhdurbar and Tundikhel also to Yeti Holdings.
There is no transparency and none protests against such deeds; even Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority(CIAA) keeps quiet.
The business group is upset, FDI is declining, people are frustrated, and everywhere there is corruption. The governments’ failure has put the democratic system at stake.
The system is under control of money, muscle and mafia power now. People’s expectations are shattered by this vision-less corrupt government.
Despite political stability, the development budget is still frozen. The Finance Minister has no idea of political economy, has no idea about people’s grievance. The Education Minister has made the educational institutions as the cadre recruitment center.
Is it that your party’s President is involved in power-sharing?
Why should we be involved in power sharing? If we go, we will have the fate of Congress I in Delhi election. We should think of it in time and act now. Nepali Congress should refrain itself from the wrong deeds of the government and address the agenda of the people.
Due to inefficient leadership of Nepali Congress, we may get dire consequences in the next election. Unfortunately, those who win election do not have control over organization, even in the party the ones with muscle and money get better space.
The government has given us so many agenda to protest, we have got the opportunity to shake off the ‘communist’ veil of the government as it’s totally corrupt. We have Yeti Holdings, Wide-body, Ncell and numerous instances of corruption and ill-governance to protest against. The government has been making laws against the spirit of the constitution. There are so many things to reject the government.
The government is involved in corruption and disloyalty. The main opposition has failed to rein the government. Don’t you realize the leadership has to take accountability as well?
It’s the weakness of our leadership. We lost the election, the leadership did not take the ownership of it. Now the role of NC is not effective in the parliament, the leadership has failed both to identify the issues to protest and take to the public and also handle it safely. We raise the issues, but drop them before they reach to the conclusion. This trend is suicidal for the party.
What do you say about the corruption allegation against your Vice President Bijaya Kumar Gachchhedar? Your party obstructed the parliament and again dropped it. Doesn’t it show that there could be some sort of bargaining with the government?
Nepali Congress should have said that we want all the corrupt should be booked in the CIAA record and sued to the court. The ones who are corrupt should not get amnesty irrespective of their political background.
As I mentioned earlier I have some reservations on the way our party reacted in the issue; yet, one can smell foul when the decision makers, executors and the ones who were involved in the case are offered amnesty and only the person who forwarded the proposal is booked as alleged. This unfair move of CIAA has stained the image of CIAA as institution.
There is the dominance of Mafia and brokers both in the parties and the government.
When people voted for their representatives after the promulgation of the constitution, they expected the political stability to work for prosperity. Have parties failed to work in that directions?
Stability alone can’t instigate development and lead the country to prosperity. There was a sort of stability during Panchayat era but the country was backward. Unless the stability is back-boned by honesty, sincerity and taken ahead by visionary leadership, development is not possible; prosperity is not possible. Unfortunately, the leaders of ruling party are enjoying special privilege over security agencies, judiciary and constitutional bodies. The fourth pillar of the state, media has also become the puppet in the hands of the politicians. Few tycoons are manipulating everything.
Where are we heading now?
Currently, the people who could protest are sent abroad for foreign employment. Nearly, one third of the youths are sent abroad for employment, we are selling the youths. Our youths should get chance to shed their blood, toils and tears for the betterment of the country. The government has failed to address it. If it’s not addressed now, the people shall take to the street, which may sweep everything away.