Where Do You Stand?
By Shyam D. Karki
Second Convention of Nepali Jana Samparka Samiti at Dallas is the news event of the week. It may be the news event of the year or even the decade, depending upon what comes out of it. With more than 500 delegates attending the event, It is undoubtedly one of the most important conventions of the Nepali Americans.
Three Candidates (right to left) Dr. Arjun Banjade, Bishnu Subedi and Anand (Gorakh) Bist
Photo designed by Prashan Alung Rai, presschautari.com
Although very partisan in nature (It's a sister organization of the Nepali Congress), the fact that it's attended by more than 500 delegates who are active in the Nepali American community is very significant.
The atmosphere has been very charged with the scheduled Election of its Executive body with 1 President, 1 Senior Vice President, 3 Vice Presidents, 1 General Secretary, 2 Secretaries 1 Treasurer and many other members (I am puzzled by the absence of the Communications/Media Secretary in this age of communications). The election campaign is in full swing; in the Facebook, telephone, Nepali American media and in person.
There has been some talk of mutual agreement and a consensus on the formation of the Executive Committee. A high powered delegation from the Nepali Congress representing both factions is also attending the Convention and there is speculation that it may impose a consensus in the name of unity.
I hope it won't come to that. Election provides opportunity to its members to elect its leaders and decide whom they can trust to lead the organization. It's the responsibility of any democrat to ensure that it happens in an atmosphere free of intimidation and coercion. What happens after the elections; factionalism, fragmentation of the party or reconciliation and coming together of all groups is the test of commitment to democratic values.
It's a good thing that so many people are still very interested in Nepali affairs and have spent time and resources in attending the Convention. These people must be very sincere and well intentioned in their attachment to Nepal, Nepali politics and the Nepali Congress. I hope the US based sisterly organizations of other political parties will also organize such conventions, have open discussions and elect their leadership.
I feel that it is very important to discuss and come to a conclusion of what are the primary objectives of this and similar other organizations and I feel that the following issues need to be discussed, clarified and decided.
1. Is Nepali Jana Samparka Samiti an independent organization of people who share the aims and objectives of the Nepali Congress or is it a subsidiary organization of the Nepali Congress taking instructions and directions from the Nepali Congress?
2. Will it be involved in Nepali politics directly by supporting the Nepali Congress candidates in the the elections by raising funds and other resources?
3. Will it encourage and support some of its members in contesting the elections? (Many of its members are permanent residents and Nepali citizens)
4. Will it try to advocate adoption of US democratic practices like primary elections, disbarment of members who have been convicted of corruption, and other criminal offences from contesting the election, transparency about fund raising etc by the Nepali Congress?
5. Does it support the concept of dual citizenship for Nepali Americans including the right to be involved in Nepali politics and contest the elections? If yes, can it get adopted by the Nepali Congress?
6. Will it work in ensuring that US based Nepali citizens get to vote at the elections? If yes, does it have a plan and can it get it adopted by the Nepali Congress.
7. Does it work in advocating the cause of Nepali democracy and economic in the US mainstream (US congress)? Does it have a plan and track record?
8. Does it support and encourage the involvement of Nepali Americans in the US mainstream including contesting the elections at different levels of government? If it does, how: provide funds and other resources? (Note that two of the candidates who tried in the 2014 elections could have been invited and honored at the Convention}
9. Does it support the nonpartisan character of the NRNA? Or does it try to support the NRNA or capture the NRNA by getting its members elected in the NRNA leadership.
10. How does it intend to comply with its 501 (C) 3 registration of its organization
like many other members of the Nepali community, I am interested in knowing what are the responses to the above questions. The same will apply to sisterly organizations of other political parties also.
So I hope this convention will spend more time in discussing the above issues and decide what directions it will take. This will be more important to us than who or which faction of the Nepali Congress wins the elections. Resolving these issues and depending upon which direction.
It will decide how much support it will receive from the general Nepali Community members and the future of this organization. I sincerely hope that the convention delegates will have the courage to face these issues and tackle them. If not it will be a great missed opportunity and a gathering of people for fun and ego trip. My best wishes for a very successful convention.
(Editor's Note: Mr. Shyam D. Karki is a socail activist and entrepreneur who has been residing in US since last three decates. He has contributed Nepali American community in many ways and he a strong advocates of bipartisan politics and social changes in many social forefronts)