As Nepali politicians are keen on learning governance from their counterparts of the neighboring countries, Nepal has always been comfortable being a ‘tiny yam between two boulders’. Nepali leaders try to trail powerful world leaders, contextual or not, which puts Nepali citizens at the receiving end.
First, a look at our neighbors
Being a one-party state, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China holds ultimate power and authority over state and government. Hence, Chinese premier Xi Jinping faces no opposition for his decisions.
Meanwhile, India is the largest democracy in the world. The Hindu nationalist government led by BJP’s Narendra Modi has been resisting dissent or any opposing forces by labeling them “anti-national”.
India’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, has been nothing but a mute spectator as the incumbent government is blatantly and gradually ignoring the country’s secular stance in the name of nationalism and Hindutwa.
However in the absence of a voice by the opposition Congress party, students, women, and youngsters in India are relentlessly leading country-wide protests against the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which critics say violates India’s secular constitution and is anti-Muslim, as well as the National Registration of Citizens (NRC).
Now, let’s talk about Nepali politics
After the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) won the 2017 elections with a whopping majority, the government led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has been taking controversial decisions and introducing legislation that threaten civil liberties, freedom of expression and press freedom.
On top of making divisive decisions, the NCP government led by nationalist Prime Minister Oli has left no room for criticism, be it from party members or the general public.
The role of an opposition party is to oppose contentious issues. Though the Oli-led government has long been embroiled in controversies and facing criticisms for its failure to deliver on its promises, Nepali Congress has rarely spoken out. Nepali Congress seems to have given up its role under the pretext of NCP’s two-third majority in the parliament.
While the ruling NCP is inclined towards China’s communist governance style, opposition Nepali Congress looks like it is imitating the Indian National Congress and coping up with its 2017 elections defeat through deafening silence.
Similarly the youth wing of the main opposition Nepali Congress — National Student Union (NSU) — that spills into the streets at the drop of a hat has been eerily silent about the government bulldozing controversial bills through the parliament. Neither has NSU protested such bills nor has it launched any awareness campaigns to educate the public about the bills.
At the age of misinformation, fend for yourself
So, what can citizens do during such a situation? One can always read, discuss, educate, and actively participate in relevant discourses. Authenticate your information, find a credible source, read the laws instead of the news, and follow political data instead of celebrities.