Contrary to popular belief, the main purpose of creating a "broader democratic front" is not to topple the Maoist led government. The idea of establishing a broader democratic front is to prevent a situation that will push the country towards an eventual political confrontation. It is, therefore, important to comprehend the situation under which various leaders have been demanding the early amalgamation of democratic forces and it is equally important to understand the underlying factors and the political compulsions of creating a Broader Democratic Alliance. First, the Maoist party is the largest party in the Constituent Assembly and; the Maoists together with other leftist parties are a majority in the Constituent Assembly. Second, the Maoist party belongs to an extreme revolutionary group who do not believe in the existence of a liberal democratic polity. And lastly, the Maoist party leads a government with arms to defend the subsistence of their extreme communist ideology. It is in this perspective that the idea of a Broader Democratic Front becomes essential if we are to envision the long term survival of a plural, liberal democracy in Nepal.
Other democratic parties, primarily the Nepali Congress do not posses weapons. Organizationally too, the democratic parties stand as weak opponents to the Maoists. Maoist unions, the bellicose and boisterous YCL outfits have succeeded in stalling industrial progress. The YCL continue to intimidate bureaucrats throughout Nepal to work towards their party's interest. Today, all governmental institutions and even the private sector stand as hostage to the institutionalized bullying, terror tactics and to the extreme ideology of the Maoist unions. However, what is most alarming is the fact that almost all government machineries besides the Nepal Army have been rendered non-functional. But more fundamentally, the constitutional, legal, judicial, and the democratic process have begun to crumble under sustained Maoist pressure. In such a situation, all parties that believe in the existence of a plural, liberal democratic order should have engaged in genuine political maneuvers to check mate the Maoists. Unfortunately; that did not happen.
The Idea of a BDA
If the Democratic Front had taken shape and been effective; the Nepali political discourse would present a politically balanced picture. However, the reality today is vastly different; the democratic forces are weak and divided, they lack cohesion organizationally and are a minority in the Constituent Assembly. On the other hand, Nepali Congress, the largest democratic party is weak organizationally and the persistence internal wrangling has further weakened the party. The other democratic parties such as the Madesh based parties and the former RPP's too are scattered and divided across the political spectrum. The weak presentation of the democratic forces is having a negative impact on the transitional politics of New Nepal. A sense of hopelessness and dejection is slowly taking over the minds of the people who have been subjugated to continued Maoist brutality. The long term absence of a tolerant liberal democratic alternative will create disenchantment with the democratic parties in the long run.
Therefore, in this critical stage, it is necessary for the democratic parties to forge an alliance. In fact, the recent attacks on Himal media and the free press reveal these two political certainties. It is important to understand that time is indeed running out as there is no real sustainable alternative to the democratic front. However, the Maoists are making concerted efforts to foil the creation of a democratic front. Individuals within the Nepali Congress such as Ramchandra Poudel, who is reportedly close to the Maoists, is being used by the Maoists, to thwart the creation of a democratic front. Other than Poudel there are other leaders within the Nepali Congress ranks who are opportunists and are more eager to join the Maoist led government than to oppose the Maoist on principle political issues. For such opportunist leaders, the existence of a democratic front is irrelevant as they are neither loyal to the Nepali Congress, nor do they have strong conviction to envision a truly democratic Nepal.
On a more hopeful note the existence of a democratic front will create positive political equilibrium as it will give people the courage to resist the Maoist's totalitarian views. But more importantly, the existence of a democratic front will be crucial to politically balance the Maoists and to contain them within a democratic paradigm.
The growing Chinese influence in Nepal will only work towards the benefit of leftist forces. Indian foreign policy vis a vis Nepal seems to have been guided by two objectives: the removal of the institution of monarchy and the creation of strong democratic base in the Madesh to secure their borders fearing possible nexus between the Maoists in Nepal and India. However, the Indian experiment in the Madesh has failed. The recent revelation that some Mumbai attackers were in Nepal and that the Chinese had sent in miscellaneous funds for the Maoist party to use as military funds should be a worrying sign for the Indian establishment. Increasing Chinese activity and the ISI's recent exercises in Nepal all indicate that Nepali territory is being used against India. China's active presence in Nepal coinciding with a Maoist led government in Nepal will have a long term impact on India's national security. India's opposition to Islamic terrorism but her silence towards political terrorism can in no way help her deal with her security qualms – Maoist insurgency is political terrorism. The Maoist menace in South Asia today stands as the biggest challenge to India's national security. The continuance of Maoist dominance in the Nepali polity arena has augured well for facilitating increased Chinese and ISI activity in Nepal against India.
It is important to note that within the India political context, the experiment of both NDA and UPA has worked well in politically balancing two opposing ideological camps within the democratic framework. The Indian experiment has proved that such alliances have long term impacts on the political structure of a country and that it is sustainable too if the alliance is constructed on a consistent ideological platform. The formation of a democratic alliance in Nepal will help India neutralize anti-Indian elements that are a threat to both India and Nepal's long term security concerns. The formation of a democratic alliance will be most effective in repulsing increasing Chinese and ISI activity in Nepal.
The mere indulgence in speeches, nauseating use of rhetoric, issuing of statements, cannot be viewed as an effective strategy in confronting the Maoists. Democratic institutions and organizations need to be strengthened in response to the challenge meted out by the Maoists
All parties that envision the survival of a democratic polity must come together putting aside their prejudices of the past against each other. This is the only hope and the real alternative that the democratic parties can wield to counter the Maoists, their ideology and their domestic and international backers. The Nepali Congress must understand that they alone cannot counter the Maoists. The BDA needs the support of other democratic parties too. The survival of democracy in Nepal will be determined by the ability of the Nepali Congress and the other democratic parties to work together against the Maoist, other authoritarian forces and anti-nationalistic fronts. Only the unity and the collaboration amongst the democratic parties can help Nepal overcome the challenges posed by the Maoists who are keen on establishing a non-democratic communist state in Nepal. If the Nepali democratic parties embark on this endeavor and unite, they will provide the Nepali population a credible alternative to the Maoists and hopefully democracy and the nation can be saved. In such an event both national and international players will undoubtedly come out openly in favor of the Broader Democratic Alliance.