The highest expression of the popular mandate is the constitution. But the 2015 constitution has led to unrest in the Tarai [southern plains], which has now has shifted to the hills. An amendment has been introduced and one side calls it treason, the other says it’s essential. With all this, there is no sign that we will be able to deliver on the change we had promised the people. No restructuring, no progressive reforms in the interests of the poor and the marginalised, no democratisation of the state. If there is any way to respect all the sacrifice people had to bear because of the Maoist conflict, it is in pushing that agenda. When that agenda was agreed upon, everyone signed up. Now, no one wants to own it, even though that was the promise made to the people.
No one in any of the parties, not even Prachanda, is prepared to implement this constitution in the sense that they are not ready to take on the ones who are opposed to these changes. For instance, the bureaucracy, the army, the police are all controlled by the same Khas Arya clique. These strong interest groups or institutions of the state are more influential than the people’s representatives. No one can intervene forcefully in these established interests. And, even if the leaders have internalised these changes, they cannot stand firm. All our political leaders can do is issue directives but there is no way to ensure that those directives are followed.
There are indications that no one in the state agencies, the bureaucracy, the army, the police, academia, even the media, has whole-heartedly accepted the salient features of the constitution such as federalism and secularism. In an open society, everyone has the right to voice their opinion. But, in our context, is that freedom or anarchy? For instance, someone who is against federalism is made Deputy Prime Minister under a new constitution that has federalised the state.