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Putting an end to the reckless rhetoric of politicians – myRepublica

A recent social media post by Mayor Balendra Shah has sparked a significant debate regarding the conduct expected from individuals in positions of responsibility. Mayor Shah’s response to an incident where his official vehicle, with his wife on board, was stopped by traffic police during a routine security check during a public holiday on a Saturday evening can only be described as immature. It appears that the acquisition of power has cultivated arrogance rather than fostering humility and a sense of responsibility in the Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

Mayor Shah’s consistent actions and statements have strongly suggested that he believes himself to be above the law, immune to any criticism of his behavior. To add to the misery, his unwavering supporters and his administrative staff are staunchly defending even his most questionable actions. Unfortunately, the concerned authorities responsible for upholding law and order have remained conspicuously tightlipped on controversial matters concerning Mayor Shah.

It seems that expecting appropriate actions to maintain law and order from both past and present governments of Nepal may be impractical. Mayor Shah is just one of the many individuals who appear to be intoxicated with power, frequently exhibiting reckless behavior. Verbal spats, inflammatory remarks, and derogatory comments from the political leaders are all too often splashed across headlines and social media, diverting attention from critical issues facing the nation. Even the Prime Minister himself has recently declared his intention to mobilize over two hundred thousand people in the streets to advocate for his leadership in the government after the monsoon season, a troubling approach that seemingly promotes vandalism in the name of upholding law and order.

The Mayor of Dharan Sub-metropolitan City is also not exempt from delivering controversial statements. His recent social media post in support of inciting communal riots is highly condemnable. The list of such incidents is lengthy, the recent examples being the illogical justifications by the leader of the main opposition, KP Sharma Oli, regarding the construction of view towers, the embarrassing arguments put forth by Member of Parliament Aarzu Rana Deuba on various issues, and the heated press conference held by the chairman of Rastriya Swatantra Party, Rabi Lamichhane. In each of these incidents, the arrogance of power is clearly evident.

There is a prevailing sentiment among ardent government supporters that such behaviors of their leaders fall under the banner of freedom of expression, with the argument that politicians have made great sacrifices to establish the contemporary political system. However, it is essential for these proponents of free speech to understand that, even in a democracy, not all rights are absolute. In exercising one’s democratic rights, individuals must be mindful of their responsibility to uphold the constitution and respect the privacy of others.

In this issue, a pivotal ruling by the Supreme Court of India in 1973 can be taken as a reference. The verdict known as ‘Kesavananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala’ that serves as a guiding reference for law students and citizens alike emphasizes the necessity of aligning constitutional provisions with democratic principles and underscores the obligation to strictly adhere to constitutional provisions while enjoying one’s inherent rights. The verdict firmly pronounced that the basic structure of the Constitution must not be abrogated even through a constitutional amendment. This landmark decision is still standing as a beacon of wisdom in global democratic society.

Our leadership, both political and executive, has regrettably witnessed a decline in credibility and integrity on the international stage due to their immature and thoughtless expressions. In the past, the world had seen the respect and esteem that our heads of state once commanded during their state visits to foreign nations and at the United Nations conferences, as recorded in numerous media archives. However, the luster of our glorious past has been tarnished by the immaturity displayed by our current leadership.

Unless our politicians assume a more responsible stance, there is a dire risk of further deterioration in our country’s reputation and the credibility of our political system. It is imperative that our leaders recognize the gravity of their actions and their impact on our standing in the global community.

The recent irresponsible tweet by Mayor Shah underscores the urgency for the relevant authorities to take responsible action in curbing such behavior, not only among politicians but also within the broader public. For that, strict codes of conduct should be defined for politicians, high-ranking executives, and the general public. These codes should outline expected behavior, consequences for breaches, and a commitment to respectful discourse.

In addition, as the media plays a crucial role in shaping public opinion, it should act as a responsible watchdog by fact-checking and providing a platform for informed and balanced debates. Sensationalizing or amplifying reckless remarks should be avoided. Public awareness campaigns that emphasize the importance of responsible discourse can also help change the culture of political communication. These campaigns can target politicians, political parties, and the general public.

The civil society organizations, including NGOs and think tanks, should actively engage with politicians to encourage responsible behavior. They can provide training, workshops, and resources to help politicians communicate effectively and responsibly. Furthermore, the general public can also play a significant role in demanding accountability from their elected representatives. By voicing their displeasure at reckless expressions and voting based on candidates’ behavior, constituents can send a powerful message to politicians. However, the main point is that the political parties should lead by example. Party leaders themselves should set the standard for responsible communication and hold their members accountable for their words and actions.

To sum up, addressing the issue of reckless expressions by politicians in Nepal is not only a matter of restoring trust and credibility but also vital for the country’s progress and global image. It requires a concerted effort from politicians, media, civil society, and citizens alike. By fostering responsible discourse, Nepal can move towards a more inclusive, respectful, and constructive political environment that serves the best interests of its people and the nation as a whole.

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