KATHMANDU: In the recently-concluded local elections, independent candidates have won in 13 municipalities including one metropolis and three sub-metropolises.
Encouraged by these victories, the announcement of the formation of a Rastriya Swotantra Party (RSP) under the leadership of Rabi Lamichhane, a media personality, for the upcoming state and federal elections, has started debates on alternative political forces.
The debate on alternative politics has come to the fore after the declaration of an independent party led by Lamichhane with the aim of establishing itself as a new force.
However, there are instances of many political parties, which emerged as alternative forces, that have often failed.
History has shown that neither former Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai nor former journalist Rabindra Mishra succeeded in establishing their political parties.
Political analyst Mumaram Khanal expresses his views with Khabarhub’s Dhiraj Basnet about the future of alternative political parties. Excerpts:
How do you feel about the way Rabi Lamichhane formed a new party dubbing it an alternative force?
In politics, debates of alternative political parties are understood as a system of adopting stability.
However, if the already established alternative parties have failed, the concern is why are other “alternative parties” emerging?
Compared to yesterday, yes, there is stiff competition due to the emergence of alternative parties or independent candidates.
However, such efforts lack concerted effort. This means that alternative politics is not organized in the context of Nepal, it is appropriate to say that it has moved forward in its own way in a disorganized way.
Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and Rabindra Mishra, too, established “alternative political forces”, which, too, did not seem to be very successful. Why did that happen?
In fact, even though they failed in establishing their respective political parties, Rabi Lamichhane has jumped into the arena.
Even Ramesh Kharel has established his own party. Even others are joining the bandwagon.
Reason: Major political parties have not been able to deliver. Therefore, an alternative force is a coercive effort to get them on the right track.
Overall, Nepal’s politics, economic policy, cultural issues, institutional policy Nepal should adopt, and what kind of party it should be after the end of the 250-year-old monarchy have not been discussed in depth.
In fact, such discussions require a variety of visionary movements. The life span of a party that has emerged out of the dissatisfaction of Kathmanduites, and not through the movement will not last long.
If anyone says so, it would be nothing but an illusion.
How do you analyze the party recently announced by Rabi Lamichhane?
The characters, or the independent ones, have their respective backgrounds.
Some have established the party by revolting from an established political party and some are popular figures having a social image.
Rabi Lamichhane is one among them. We do not know the structure and nature of his party. Therefore, it would not be justifiable to comment without any information.
Let us say that the word “independent” has gained popularity in Nepal.
However, one needs to have a strong foundation of trust to be a good party.
There is a level of leadership, a level of thought, and a structure, which reflects the character of Nepali society.
Independent candidates won some seats in the recently-concluded local-level election. Is the latest trend a reflection of the local elections?
This is a wave, which does not have political significance and gravity. Had the political party leaders worked as per the people’s aspirations, then the day would not have come for a young and inexperienced individual like Raboi to challenge those experienced leaders.
One of the grounds for that is that if Nepal’s politics loses its leadership ability, others will replace them.
Politics is a respectable profession. Political parties have failed to reach out to the people. As a result, independent candidates are encouraged.
Is Rabi’s party an outcome of the people’s frustration with the political parties?
The state of Nepal’s market and the country’s economic situation is frustrating.
The political parties have not been able to protect the dignity of the people in the way they have treated our politics.
It is fine for anybody who promises better work for the people.
There are several problems in politics that need to be addressed. If they can do well in politics, that is a good thing for the country. It is good for capable youth to come into politics.
It is that the Nepali society is looking for an alternative political force?
What has to be understood is that the political parties have been established after a long struggle.
Yes, Rabi Lamichhane has done a good job. He has helped many victims. He may know that there is a possibility of getting justice in Nepal based on one’s access.
But, that alone is not enough. It also looks at the ground on which you stand for social justice and political legitimacy.
People evaluate on the basis of terrain. From that point of view, no such party has come to that part of Nepali society only because of the access to the internet.
For Kathmandu, it is normal for anyone to vote. So the people who make the team have to go around the whole country.