As it is preparing for its 12th general convention next week, the Nepali Congress is witnessing intense competition among its leaders who want to lead it. Several factions have come up and no one knows who is on which side. Also unclear is who among the three contenders for the post of president commands a majority. Seems like a messy democracy in action in the oldest party of Nepal.
The oldest party of India, on the other side of the border, selected its leader last week without any signs of acrimony. Sonia Gandhi, the incumbent, was reelected president for a record fourth time. No one challenged her. Instead, there was competition among her supporters to propose her name for the post on the last day of filing nominations on Thursday. All in all 55 nomination papers were filed on her behalf.
Rival Bharatiya Janata Party was quick to point out the ‘lack of democracy’ and ‘family domination’ in the Congress organisation. The BJP earlier this year unanimously elected Nitin Gadkari its leader. That election wasn’t without criticism. It was said that the BJP didn’t elect Gadkari but he was imposed upon the party by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a cultural and religious organisation. The RSS is considered the head of a family of Hindu nationalist organisations of which the BJP is a member.
Two of the largest political parties of the largest democracy in the world may not be entirely democratic when it comes to selecting their top leadership. The domination of the Gandhi family and inheritance of leadership from one member of the family to another has been the tradition of the Congress for long. Similarly the influence of the RSS in the affairs of the BJP is no secret. But vibrant discussions do take place in their organisations and opposing views get enough space to create healthy internal debates. The most impressive part of Indian democracy can be witnessed at the moments of crisis when opposing political parties come together, thrash out differences, and move the nation forward. It is because they have realised that democracy is the biggest asset and weapon that India has to face its grave challenges. For example, in the recently concluded summer session of the parliament the government worked closely with the main opposition party, the BJP, to pass some key bills. Continue reading India: Congress Election and an Angry Yogi in Tirupati→
UWB doesn’t agree with some of the ideas put forward by the writer of this comment, Dirgha Raj Prasai, which originally appeared here as a response to a UWB commentator. But we like to hear all kinds of opinions.
Dear Basti jee !
Why would there be a need of a King if Nepal can survive without it? But Nepal should not be compared to other nations. Monarch is Nepal’s alternate power. Nepal does not demand an autocratic royal institution but a pro-people institution. The institution of monarchy is such a force that fights off imperialist force to create a greater Nepal. The King of Nepal never sold the nation, pleaded before foreigners nor killed the people and will never do so. I wouldn’t have said so if I was a citizen of Japan or any other nation, I would have said that the nation will survive without the monarchy, but I am in Nepal. The geographical and class reality of Nepal is such, that the absence of monarchy would mean there will be no Nepal. Continue reading Nepal Needs to be Hindu Nation with Monarchy→
Dinesh Wagle Wagle Street Journal
[This article originally appeared on the Op-Ed page of the Kathmandu Post today. See it here as it appeared on the paper.]
Indian Hindu Rightwing Fundamentalists Demonstrate In Agra, India Against Nepal Government Decision To Apointment Nepali Priest in Pashupatinath Temmple
The other day I came across a Reuters video on an AOL web site that showed some angry men on the street burning effigies of the government of Nepal, shouting slogans against the Nepali Maoists and demanding the restoration of the Indian priest at the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu. The visuals were not from Gaushala or Chahabil or any other places in the Nepali capital.
They were from Agra, India. The people in the video were not immigrant Nepalis who are in their millions in India but the members and leaders of a radical Indian Hindu outfit called Bajrang Dal. I don’t recall when I first heard about Bajrang Dal but whenever I come across this name, the images of angry men with swords in their hands willing to kill people from other faiths come to my mind. I am always proud of the fact that we don’t have such a squad like Bajrang Dal that frequently promotes religious disharmony in society in the name of defending Hindutva in Nepal. It was widely reported by Indian media last October that members of this group were involved in raping a Christian nun in Orissa. That is why the Agra video frightened and shocked me. Continue reading Burning Effigies [in the Name of Lord Shiva]→