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Synopsis of Seminar Proceeding

Central Department of Political Science, Tribhuvan University organized one-day seminar on Contemporary Political Issues of Nepal and its Way Out (Bartaman Nepal ko Rajnitik Samashya Ra Samadhanko Bato) on February 21st, 2017. Keeping in view the prolonging political transition and controversies in course of implementation of the new constitution, the seminar was organized to provide the best possible intellectual discourse in bringing unity in diversity on the issue.

The seminar began with the welcome speech of Head of Department, Prof. Dr. Meena Vaidya Malla. Highlighting on the objective of the seminar, she said that the political situation of the country demanded immediate solution of the impending political confusion and controversies that emerged out of prolonged political instability and constitutional uncertainties. Instead of diversified views and voices in the country’s most serious issues, she suggested that the leaders should come up with unified voice and policies that enlight the citizens and enhance national interest. She argued that continuation of the situation make the constitution, parliament, and government suffer from legitimacy crisis with a no-win situation in the nation.

Two discussion papers were presented by two Professors of Political Science, Krishna Pokhrel and Krishna Hachhethu. Prof. Pokhrel in his presentation, put forth the idea of paradigm shift that Nepal has undergone in political governance i.e., from monarchy to republic, Hinduism to secularism and unitary to federalism. Although radical changes have been introduced, but due to leaders' personal interest, laden diverse stands, the transitional period prolonged without any destination and direction. The major national issues remained unaddressed. He emphatically cautioned that the external forces would get chance to take benefit out of that hazy situation created due to the continued political standoffs of the leaderships on the issue of federal restructuring. Prof. Dr. Hachhethu presented paper on Contemporary Nepal: Political Crisis and Way Out; Inclusive Democracy versus Territorial/ Administrative Federalism. He mentioned that due to political leaders' rejection to amend the constitution, its implementation became paradoxical. He also opined that due to lack of honesty in taking ownership of the decisions made by the first CA as they committed led the present constitution to incorporate previous exclusionary characters basically to minimise the demands of federal restructuring based on ethnic identity. In this connection he specifically mentioned that the Constitution denied the issues of Pahichan (identity), Pahuch (access to state resources) and Pratinidhitwa (due representation at political structures) as demanded.

Hon’ble, Laxmanlal Karna, Co-President of NSP, in his keynote remarked on the ongoing political problems. He pointed out that the issue of promulgation of new Constitution was done by discarding to respect previous agreements with the Madhesh based parties and decisions made by the first CA. The Madheshi people through their movement recalled the leaders of NC, CPN UML and the UCPN (M) whom they elected in the last election (CA). Hon’ble. Narayankaji

Shrestha, Vice-Chairman of the CPN-MC, in his keynote suggested in understanding the composition and dimensions of Nepali society while dealing with the issues of federal restructuring of state. He also suggested resolving the problems relating to it with an open mind and accepting, whatever had been achieved so far, so that rest could be made possible while entering into the process. Hon’ble Dr. Minenedra Rijal, Central Member of the NC, argued that the issue of ethnic identity based federal restructuring decided by the first CA could not be called all out appropriate because one should admit the fact that Nepal is a country of ethnic minority. So in his opinion the demand of ethnic identity based federalism should not be made the central issue. Hon’ble Bhim Rawal, Vice- Chairman of the CPN UML, put forth the idea that the leaders must rely on resolving the country's problem internally; not to expect others to involve in internal matters. To him, ethnic issue in the new Constitution has been incorporated carefully in such a way that the democratic system of the country would not suffer with the notion of ethnic hatred.

Numbers of questions were raised by the participants on the matters presented by the two paper presenters and the points put forth by the political parties' leaders. Prof. Dr. Lok Raj Baral, chair of the session in his concluding remarks noted that, fact and figures only may not work and resolve the problems in politics. He suggested for understanding the issues in right and practical perspectives. It is imperative to know why the constitution supported by 90 percent is not being implemented. He also shared his knowledge on the nature of Nepali politics, which to him is progressing these days with jump theory, not being incremental for achieving gradual growth.

Closing the programme with vote of thanks, Prof. Kapil Shrestha made a brief remark on country's current political confusions pointing out the hurdles the country is facing in implementing the new constitution since its promulgation.