Light of democracy will continue to shine with politics of integrity and ideals: Former President Yadav « Khabarhub
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Light of democracy will continue to shine with politics of integrity and ideals: Former President Yadav

18 September 2022  

Time taken to read : 11 Minute

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KATHMANDU: The first President of the federal democratic republic of Nepal, Dr Ram Baran Yadav, got the golden opportunity to promulgate the Constitution of Nepal.

This is a historic and an inclusive constitution of the nation. This constitution is written by the Constituent Assembly, formed as a result of the long and arduous struggle and sacrifices of the Nepali people.

The moment when the first President of the country unveiled the Constitution on September 20, 2015 by touching it with his head in reverence will go down in the history of Nepal as one of the rarest of rare and epoch-making moments in the life of a nation.

This was a historic in that all the constitutions before this were issued by the monarch.

The long cherished dream of the Nepali people to draft a constitution by their representatives was realized with the formation of the Constituent Assembly on the back of the historic second People’s Movement of 2006/07.

Yadav was elected the first President of Republic Nepal on July 21, 2008. The National News Agency interviewed the first President of the country in the context of the Eighth Constitution Day.

Following are the excerpts of the interview taken by Krishna Adhikari, Chief of RSS Feature News Section, and Narayan Neupane, Deputy Chief Reporter:

The nation got the republican constitution as an outcome of the big struggle and sacrifice of the Nepali people. How do you take the present practices and implementation?

It has been seven decades since we waged struggle in an institutionalized way for securing our rights and democracy.

We have been moving forward by formulating a democratic constitution from the Constituent Assembly formed through the sacrifices and struggles of the people, including in 2007 BS, 2046 BS and 2062/63 BS.

The three tiers of government constituted after the promulgation of the Constitution conducted the governance and administration for five years in keeping with the democratic system.

We are at the threshold of holding a general election for the second term of these governments, which is pleasing.

There should be periodic elections in a democracy and the people should be alert at this moment whether or not good works have been carried out for the country and society, and to elect the right party and leaders. That time has arrived now.

Apart from the elections, what other works needed to be done in society do you think have been carried out?

Although it was said that the laws in conflict with the Constitution would be made in consonance with it from the parliament within one year from the promulgation of the constitution, there could not be good progress in this aspect.

On the contrary, the government that was formed during this period itself dissolved the House of Representatives (HoR) two times.

The HoR was reinstated by the judiciary, but the rest of the constitutional, legal and developmental programmes could not progress as expected.

The province and local levels could not function as expected as the federal parliament could not formulate the required laws in time.

Cent per cent works should have been carried out during that time, but it is confined to 50 percent only.

This created a lot of ‘complications’. It was delayed.

There is public complaint that there is delay in carrying out works including development and construction, what do you say?

In fact, democracy is a slow process if we look at its history. In this governance system, you need to go to the people, take the people into confidence and form a government and carry out works as per their aspiration.

There is the principle that we should move ahead by understanding our geographical situation and social fabric and through consultations with other bodies.

It is difficult to reach the resources to the mountainous and hilly region due to the difficult terrain.

Where I see the most risk is that we should have learnt from the history of past episodes, but we have not been learning from this.

There is weakness in this sphere. Only the nation that moves ahead learning from history can progress.

The nation neglecting its history cannot do anything.

Do you mean a study of the episodes in political history that took place in the country in the past?

The people’s leader BP Koirala had established an image of a socialist leader not only in Asia but also internationally.

The party should have carried out a study and research on the speeches and statement he made in the party’s general convention and in places including Burma, Sydney, America as to how socialism should be moved ahead.

But we do not find that this has been done. A study and research of his books like ‘The Jail Journal’, ‘Aatma Britanta’ and literary writings should be conducted.

BP was a person who was known about the entire nation. King Mahendra on December 15, 1960 dissolved the government led by BP, the government which was enjoying a two-thirds support.

This step of the late king pushed back the country 30 years in terms of its democratic transformation and development.

The nation had to endure the ‘army and police rule’ during that time.

The political change of 1991 came about after a long struggle jointly waged by the Nepali Congress and the communists.

Also, in less than five years of this change there was crisis in democracy due to the anomalies within the parties, the palace’s machinations and the geo-political influences.

This was the outcome of the destiny of not learning from the past episodes and not studying the history.

What are your suggestions to learn from such incidents?

The major powers of the country should have come together at one place and worked for nation building.

The country slid back into instability due to the discord between the palace (monarchy) and the parties in the past and a situation came when the Nepalis were engaged in killing each other due to the ‘politics of weapons’; the country went haywire; and the resources available in the country were not utilized properly.

In between, there was regression once again in 2059 BS. The seven political parties and the Maoists had to change the form of the movement and struggle for restoration of democracy.

After the success of the past movements, we had concluded that the road to democracy has been cleared of hurdles, but it could not be.

All the political powers at that time should have made the correct analysis after intensively studying the history.

The political movement of 2007 BS had been successful due to the able-leadership of BP, that of 2046 BS due to the same kind of leadership of Ganesh Man Singh and that of 2062/63 under the leadership of then Nepali Congress president Girija Prasad Koirala by taking the Maoist rebels into confidence.

The latest people’s movement had become successful with the uniting of all political forces of the nation by Girija Prasad due to his ‘towering personality’. He ended the armed politics.

The onus of important works like the management of the Maoist combatants, establishment of peace and acceptance of republic goes to him.

We were successful in establishing federalism, secularism and democracy through the understanding of all the political forces in the country.

The present constitution which was promulgated by the Constituent Assembly as an achievement of the second people’s movement has become inclusive, encompassing all the castes and ethnicities, communities and classes.

There is public disenchantment that we have not been able to achieve the desired results as we have not been able to steer the republic and the political achievements brought through such sacrifice and struggle?

We had to go through not only one but two Constituent Assembly at the then difficult time and situation; a son of a commoner was elected the President in a period in history.

The time was difficult back then, there were two armies, how to manage this, a situation arose when the election for a second Constituent Assembly had to be organized as the first one could not deliver a constitution.

Moreover, every side had to be appeased. The constitution issued at such times might not be the best one, but it contains the vital elements of democracy.

We should move ahead this system and the political leadership should develop the capacity to steer it in the right way.

The political leaders are not able to do so as per the people’s aspiration. We should look at the world’s history.

The democracy exercise is long and interrupted with unwanted situations and episodes as we can see in the history of Great Britain, considered the mother of democracy. Every system is prone to aberrations but the main thing is to preserve and promote the basic principles of democracy.

Do you have anything to say to the people when the country is now on the threshold of the election to the House of Representatives and province assembly elections?

There are public complaints that the leaders are promoting nepotism, favouritism and money-minded attitude, which have given rise to discrepancies in the body politics and society.

On the other hand, the conservative pro-monarchy power has not embraced the latest political change and system.

There are these kinds of elements in all the parties. The judiciary has defined well the attack on the parliament and the constitution.

The good aspects should be brought into practice and made timely. Fitting laws should be formulated and moved ahead the positive practices.

The people’s support and participation in the second People’s Movement was unprecedented.

Nobody should misjudge and neglect this level of people’s contribution.

All should work towards making the Constitution complete as this constitution is made on the basis of making a review of and internalizing this people’s movement.

Publish Date : 18 September 2022 14:12 PM

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