An untainted youth politician, Nain Singh Mahar, has spoke to sopannews about a number of issues including the NC’s upcoming National Convention, party’s leadership and many others. Mahar, who truly believes in democratic principles and aspirations, has revealed some inner realities of the NC politics besides making harsh criticism on the party’s leaders too. Excerpts of the conversation with the NC youth leader Mahar;
The 13th National Convention of the Nepali Congress (NC) is round the corner. As a youth leader in the party, how do you review the tenure of the Sushil Koirala-led team?
Mahar: The12th National Convention of NC was the first of its kind after the merger of two parties—Nepali Congress and Nepali Congress (Democratic). We had planned to emerge the NC as the country’s largest political party with new thoughts, new mentality and new perception. Though NC emerged as the single largest political party in the second Constituent Assembly (CA) elections, it failed to spread the rays of hope among the folks. We failed to disseminate the message of positivism in society; one that has become the victim of hopelessness. Despite NC getting opportunity to lead the government, it failed to deliver the best to the people due to coalition government.
On the other hand, there are some issues regarding the commitments made in the past by party President Sushil Koirala and other leaders to make the party dynamic and to run the party in an institutional manner by making more progressive and lead the country’s overall changes like that NC is doing since 2007 BS. We have heard about the poor democratic exercises in the party and we have also become the victim of the same. The general conventions of the party’s sister wings are not conducted even after dissolving the elected bodies. The nurseries of the NC are made dysfunctional by not holding the general conventions for almost eight years.
The party leadership sabotaged some sister organizations from running them on their own tunes. The plants of the NC nurseries are uprooted and the exercise of internal democracy in the party is collapsed, formation of party’s departments and organizational decisions and 98 per cent of the NC statute is not implemented these days though the current leadership had pledged for institutional decision.
I am not trading charge against the party President but the entire central working committee of the NC and the leaders are to blame for this chaotic order. So, the tenure of this leadership in the NC didn’t prove to be encouraging.
Then, how the NC is preparing for the upcoming 13th General Convention?
Mahar: Some issues are still pending due to inefficiency of the leadership. Even the distribution of the active membership of the party was dragged into controversy. But, it’s for sure that traditional leadership cannot drive the NC on ad hoc basis. Novel plans and novel courage is needed to spread the message of hope to all Nepalis living at home and abroad who are closely watching the modus operandi of the NC. Preparations are not as it would have been made.
Who is to blame for such chaos in the party?
Mahar: The leadingfactioninthe party is to blame for such because of it’s devour to remain at the helm of party’s key positions. Even in the past, NC’s 16 district committees were illegally dissolved by the then leadership during Pokhara General Convention in 2057 BS. This time too attempts are being made for the same result in a different ways.
Earlier you told that the General Conventions of party sister organizations were postponed for several times. Is the party’s General Convention too going to face the same fate?
Mahar: NC’s existing leadership, the leaders in the central working committee are not behind this democratic exercise because they think that the new generation is going to leave them behind through the due process i.e democratic exercise. They have feared their displacement.
Even the general conventions of Tarun Dal, Women’s Association and Nepal Student’s Union (NSU) are not held for long. We could get three chairpersons of the each organization had we conducted the conventions in time.
So, to make the NC dynamic, the 13th General Convention would be established a strong and serious forum in itself.
If so, how would the youth leaders in the NC would fight against such wrongdoings? And, what would be your role for the same?
Mahar: For being involved in student politics, I lay emphasis more on education. Our generation should make it clear that what type of democracy we want. We lack moral education. Morality has crumbled. We have to link morality to the good governance, speedy and efficient service delivery. But, that’s too rare. We are mostly driven by the economic motives. We are working to make an individualistic society. Personal needs and ambitions have topped everything everywhere not only in politics. Education on moral ground and humanitarian education is needed to reduce this. I have been advocating humanitarian education and leading this as a movement since long back. Bringing everything on league is the major challenge. Equally important for this is to respect the labor.
What programs the party’s upcoming jamboree will unveil to address the burning issues of the current situation including instilling hope among youngsters, to generate respect to agriculture and stop the flux of Nepali migrants to the gulf nations?
Mahar: It should do something. The NC should disseminate the message to its cadres for giving respect to labor from the 13th General Convention. The Kathmandu-centric settlements of the leaders and cadres should be subverted. They should internalize that politics is also serving the nation. Politics should be taken for development and service delivery too. NC should utilize its capacity for the cause of people.
They (NC activists) should offer services as the volunteers, as the cadres, as the local residents based on their skills and expertise whether the party is in the government or in the opposition bench. Every NC cadre should start the practice of living a self-reliant life. This would help reduce corruption in the politics.
On the other hand, the party cadres should dare to ask what the income source of their leaders’ is. This would be my agenda in the party’s forthcoming General Convention. How a NSU leader can live a lavish life without making incomes? A student leader rides a motorcycle, pays almost Rs 15,000 rent per month and lives a decent life in the capital city but is not officially involved anywhere for generating income. How such situation developed in the party and sister organizations? What is the income source of the leaders who enjoy the lavish lifestyle?
If we failed to make the cadres self-dependent from the very early steps of their political phase, they would be engaged in financial irregularities and corruption in the long run to recover their entire costs. Identification of income sources should be systematically managed in all sectors including trade, business and service sector and this would help curb corruption in the long run. More importantly, the income source of the politicians should be reviewed from the starting of his/her political career.
Now, let’s shift our conversation to the NC’s upcoming leadership. So far, former prime minister and NC’s senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, party General Secretary Prakashman Singh and some leaders from the Koirala family have publicly announced their claim for the party president. Likewise, Vice-President Ram Chandra Poudel too seems one of the aspirants for the post. Who you think could lead the NC successfully to implement the vision you have dreamt?
Mahar: Vision of the NC leadership is not clear so far. We are in need of a strong leadership in the NC that offers a clear roadmap for making a ‘New Nepal’ and strengthens the party. Comparatively fresh generation has also come up with new vision and contributions. Everyone has aspirations and the leaders have made sacrifices for the party. Sushil Da remained at the top of the party leadership for more than five years and everyone has seen and evaluated his term. Now, he should take a leave from the leadership and it should be handed over to Sher Bahadur Deuba. Giving some other opportunities for Ram Chandra Poudel and paving way for Deuba for the party leadership and keeping the party intact from the unity of three leaders would be the best for the NC.
Do you mean that Sher Bahadur Deuba is the best figure to lead the NC from the 13th General Convention?
Mahar: The nation welcomed him as the prime minister for many times and he has a long history of struggles. So, his experiences as the head of the government and his contributions to the democracy should be tested even for trial for the organizational development of the NC.
Will you think that Deuba would be a better figure to infuse something positive in the youth generation and for the transformation of the Nepali society?
Mahar: Based on his better relations with different countries, Deuba is far better compared to existing other figures in the party. Secondly, his academic degree that he earned from a developed nation would be better to drive the society ahead in a systematic fashion. Likewise, he is also remembered for some serious reforms in the country in the recent history. He is widely praised for his efforts for the formation of Women’s Commission, Dalit Commission and institutions for indigenous communities’ promotion.
The number of Nepali migrants toiling their daily wages amid hardships and Non-Resident Nepalis (NRNs) is almost 5 million. They have been closely watching the activities of Nepalis politicians albeit they lack time for direct engagement with such activities. What you have to say to that community regarding the NC’s 13th General Convention?
Mahar: We all Nepalis are together wherever we reside. We tend to live in different geography owing to different contexts and obligations, and even for better facilities and opportunities. But, our country always remained a platform for experiments since the Ranarchy, hindering the country’s prosperity. So, I request all Nepalis to keep the nation first and only their political parties from the respective places wherever they are dwelling. The large number of population living aboard that is academically and physically stronger needs to keep the nation at the first priority.
The NC’s forthcoming General Convention should give the messages of possibilities at home including in social security, employment opportunities, peace and security, development sector, economic growth rate and other sectors to that community.
We should keep in mind that the country would not develop just from the party’s slogans. So, NC’s General Convention will try its best to instill a sense of hope to those Nepalis living abroad in different capacities. This will strengthen the nation, democracy and, obviously, the NC as well.
You have lobbying for the establishment of youth leadership in the party. Some NC leaders have also anticipated your candidacy in the party’s central committee. What are you thinking about your candidacy in the General Convention?
Mahar: It’s true that many of my colleagues have kept me in the front of the youth leadership to join the party’s central committee from the upcoming 13th General Convention. I have also expressed my willingness to make contributions for the country, democracy and party if my friends so wish.