Populism again: CPN-UML unveils its manifesto for local polls, promises rails and waterways 

While many of the pledges made in the last election's menifesto remain either unaddressed or in limbo, the communist party has come up with yet another deeply ambitious plans for the upcoming local polls.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Big promises again. No assurance of implementation. No revision of the promises made in the last elections. 

The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) unveiled an ambitious election manifesto ahead of local polls scheduled to be held on May 16.

Coinciding the event with the establishment day of the Communist Party in Nepal, UML announced the manifesto full of promises with no mention of resources required for the implementation.  

Ishwar Pokhrel, senior Vice President of the party, who is also the coordinator of the election manifesto drafting committee, said that the manifesto also serves as the commitment letter of CPN-UML  for all of the 753 local units across the country.  “This is the commitment letter that shows the roadmap of UML in the days to come,” he said, while unveiling the manifesto in the capital on Friday.

While extolling the government led by UML for around three and half years as ‘the most dynamic, achievement-oriented and successful’ in the whole history of the nation, the manifesto heavily criticizes the conduct of the government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba and blames the government, which it calls the paramadeshi Sarkar, for the economic crisis the country is facing at the moment.

The UML has listed ‘a leap’ in infrastructure development, qualitative achievement in social, health and education sector, increase in social justice and social security, job creation and expansion of information technology and services as major achievements of the local governments over the last five years. 

Rather than presenting a proper plan for the development of the local bodies, the CPN-UML, this time too, has included plans to construct railways. “The local government would establish a Public Transportation Authority. In the big cities, railways and rapid transit systems would be developed, while in big rivers water transportation would be developed,” the manifesto mentions.

Even in the previous elections, the CPN-UML had promised to develop rails in big cities. However, the local bodies led by CPN-UML failed to ensure smooth public transportation services in a number of places.

Likewise, the CPN-UML has made another ambitious statement to supply drinking water to every household through ‘One House, One Tap’ campaign within two years.

In what is another implausible program, the party has also promised to connect rural settlements–where road connection is difficult–and the centers with cable cars.  

At a time when the already-established Special Economic Zones are failing to attract investors, the party has promised to set up Industrial Estate in every province. Likewise, it has also promised to set up Industrial Gram in every pailka [municipality/rural municipality].

It promises lifecycle social security—since childhood to the old age—to senior citizens, children, persons with disabilities and incapacitated people, while also promising free health checkups for them at their own households. 

The manifesto also makes some lofty claims: That the representatives elected from the UML will serve as the servants of the people rather than the rulers, that they will campaign for development and social awakening, that the palikas with UML’s local governments will be exemplary in terms of good governance, that they will never be involved in corruption and will always work for corruption control and they will play a leading role to book those who are involved in corruption and anomalies and so on.