The practice of non-party flag bearer at the local level

Photo by binaya_photography on Unsplash

The Constitution of Nepal 2015, defines the role of local government widely known as local level. The local level plays a crucial role in governing, service delivery, planning and development and managing the overall affairs of the local government.

Despite having all the authority, it seems that the chief representatives of the local government failed to deliver their duties as per citizens’ concerns. The reason is working under the pressure of their own party pressure along with the leader’s and followers’ interest, as a result, the service delivery is not seen as satisfactory.

Nepal’s constitution has given the right to local government to make 22 laws and 15 common rights as needed. To illustrate further, to work under their own area; the constitution has given administrative, executive and some judicial rights. But chief representatives are not able to make and implement this type of law, it can be assumed that they are helpless due to their party’s interest.

However, an independent candidate is seen as more free and flexible as they do not have the blessing hands of any political party. As a result, they can perform work freely without any political pressure. Kathmandu’s Mayor Balendra Shah and Dharan’s Mayor Harka Sampang Rai are living examples.

Need to strengthen the pillar of democracy

Balen Shah. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale local level
Balen Shah. Photo: Chandra Bahadur Ale

It is said that the local level or local government is the pillar of democracy, and the overall development of the nation depends on local government activities. In particular, the local government has the power to take decisions that suit local needs and conditions, and it has the right to plan and coordinate service delivery in its area.

To institutionalise and strengthen democracy, the greatest potential is seen at the local level. If representatives are directly concerned with the citizen’s issues and are accountable, improvements can be made at the time of service delivery and governance.

However, due to political fluctuation, it has not been done accordingly.

In the current scenario, people are more fascinated towards independent representatives. Examining the people’s psychology, an independent representative can work freely in metropolitan cities, sub-metropolitan cities, and rural municipalities as well as ward levels.

If we can practice a non-party flag bearer representative at the local levels, the overall development will gear up and there will be no party interruption. As a consequence, the development will be sustainable and the representatives can do their duties freely.

Comparatively independent candidates can engage more with communities to seek their input and involve them at the time of decision-making. This has been seen through Kathmandu metropolitan city’s Mayor who takes decisions on any matter quickly and productively.

Whether it comes to not picking up the waste materials from the Sighadurbar to destroying the illegal construction of high-profile people. He is able to do them because he does relate to any party and does not have to work under follower interest, party pressure and many more. Likewise, if a flag bearer candidate was elected they need to think and need the party’s approval before executing any of their plans.

Similarly, Dharan sub-metropolitan city’s Mayor is also popular for his work and has great support from the people. His remarkable work is bringing drinking water with public support. There are a lot of examples which show that an independent candidate can work freely with public sympathy in any matter.

The way ahead

A demonstration staged by Nepali Congress against the Nepal Communist Party-led government, in Kathmandu, on Monday, December 14, 2020. Photo: Bikas Shrestha.

Political history shows that local level representative related to political parties could not meet their manifesto, which they distributed during the election period for public assurance. Comparatively, it seems that independent candidates work as per the public’s sentiment.

In the democratic countries of the world such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada and even in India, there is a practice of choosing independent candidates at the local levels.
As a result, they get sustainable development and citizens’ rights that are well preserved.

The local government has given more results and the real definition of democracy is well utilised. This may be one of the major factors these nations have gone through drastic development in a short period of time.

If Nepal can implement this practice, it will be far better than the ongoing system, as there will be no political deadlock. Then there will be equal budget allocation. Moreover, there will be no influence of sister organisations, which ultimately leads to the development process, and till now the vote of the general public is more decisive than the party practice.

So keeping all these things in mind, if political parties would not nominate their candidates in the local elections then general people can elect their leaders freely without the party’s concern.

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