The Constituent Assembly (CA) of Nepal has finally been dissolved after four years in continuation and a next elections date has been proposed for the new election. There is great public frustration that the political process that started with the coming together of the Maoist party and non-Maoist parties in 2062 BS in New Delhi failed to deliver on its mandate. There are number of areas that will require concentration.
When the constituent assembly elections held in Nepal there was no limitation of happiness with Nepali people. After awaited around 50 years of period, the happiness was possible for Nepali people at the end of 2064 BS. Before the elections of the CA, the experts had already opined that for the constitution of the country, the constituent assembly will be highly costly and challenging and the country like Nepal it will be even more risky and challenging. However, decade long suppressed people of Nepal had got liberty from the feudal structure thus their choice for CA was seemed to be obvious. The Nepali people were united for people’s participatory and citizen ownership-owned constitution. At that time all Nepali people heads and chests were stood with pride towards the international communities …….”see the changes in Nepal, we are not the people with deprivation but we will make our constitution ourselves to end our deprivation”.
When constitution writing process was in process, day by day our prides slanted gradually. The state restructuring, the form of government and electoral system including some other disputed subject matters demolished Nepali people pathetically. At the end, other subject matters were conquered but we were defeated by the subject matter of state restructuring and its bases for federal states establishment. The enthusiasm that Nepali had on Jestha 14, 2069 collapsed into treacherous melancholy when the CA dissolved without promulgating the constitution on the date. The dispute between single-ethnic-based identity and multi-ethnic- based identity in the federal states could not come into the consensus resulted the fall down of 4-year long hard work, around NRs 9,000,000,000 expended budget and the wholehearted ownership of the people towards the new constitution. At the end, the constituent assembly not only made Nepali people defeated but also created chaos and put fire on the ethnic harmony of Nepali people. In the backdrop of socially discriminated and exploited people, more than hundred caste and ethnicity and more than hundred languages in Nepal, the highly disputed issue of single-ethnic-based identity and multi-ethnic-based identity in federal states hit badly the enthusiasm of all Nepali. The record shows that the total expenditure for CA elections was NRs 3,000,000,000; same amount of expenditures for peace fund; first fiscal year (2065-66 BS) allocated budget of NRs 720,000,000; second fiscal year (2066-67 BS) allocated budget of NRs 710,000,000; third year allocated budget of NRs 800,000,000 ; and final year allocated budget of NRs 1,000,000,000. These costs were the costs expended only by the government of Nepal however other NGOs/INGOs costs were not accumulated here. If we ask ourselves about the outputs of these expenditures then we got some level of awareness, practice of proportional inclusive participatory culture and the pressure to state on its responsibilities and obligations towards marginalized and deprived section of people to some extent. Similarly, if we assume about our losses, we are in the process of losing our ethnic harmony, national integrity and the feeling of national unity and the trust and confidence towards the political leaders.
In Nepal, the demand for CA was started before the movements against Rana Regime in 2007 BS. Late King Tribhuvan declared that the constitution of the country would be made by the people’s representatives through their mandate in 2007BS which became the first initiative for making the constitution through people’s mandate. Later on in 2014 BS, the King declared the General Elections instead of Constituent Assembly Election posing the need of parliament election. Fulfilling the demands of royalists and elites, the so-called constitution was issued at that time. The people’s demanded constitution again became failure when late King Mahendra dissolved the people’s mandate parliament and took over the power. The elected people’s representatives were jailed at that time. Through the elevated height of 2062-63 BS people’s movements, the elections for CA was possible in 2064 BS. The Nepali people and the political parties of Nepal decided to go for CA elections for making the new constitution of Nepal by institutionalizing the outcomes of people’s movements 2062-63 and declaring the country as Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. For the establishment of CA, a long term dispute was happened among the political parties for deciding the number of CA members. Finally, the consensus was made for 601 members in the CA. The political parties agreed to make consensus on the basis of need based principle rather certain ideologies and principles of the political parties. The political consensus and inclusion issues got primary attention. Even though the CA was costly and large, Nepali people gave shelter to the CA for 4 years by cutting their own meals thinking that CA has embraced the diversity and inclusion enthusiastically. By making our CA so large was not out from the criticism either as a lot of best practices were there in the big countries with small-size CA and its effective results and roles for making the constitution. The total amount of around NRS 9,000,000,000 invested in the name of CA in Nepal is duly because of the reason of its size rather than its consumed time period.
When we revealed out the record of CA, it is for sure that putting the fire in the ethnic harmony is unpardonable. Whosoever has mobilized to destroy ethnic harmony in Nepal, it has given sense that the Arya-Khash has made backward the Janajati and Madhesi and other deprived caste and ethnicity in Nepal. Without addressing this issue, neither our sovereignty nor our integrity and nationality will be strengthened in coming days.
Lastly, it is apparent that our transition is set to carry on for much longer than anticipated. It will have all of the tribulations seen during the past few years. The only thing that can be expected in this chaos of is that things do not get much shoddier. In order to put off the negative circumstances summarized above, all political parties necessitate to introspect and review about their own roles that last few years. If it is a great deal for them to ask to be flexible, they should at least be mindful of the peril that lie at the forefront and be able to come mutually to ease them.
By, Kiran Chalise