Boycott politicians past their shelf life: Nepal’s gay MP (Lead)

May 9th, 2010 - 3:36 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, May 9 (IANS) With a constitutional crisis less than three weeks away and Nepal’s political parties still squabbling among themselves, the nation’s only openly gay MP and founder of the gay rights movement has called for a boycott of all “senile politicians”.

“The political culture in Nepal is the reason behind our problems,” said an enraged Sunil Babu Pant, who had been pinning his hope on the new constitution to promote equal rights for Nepal’s homosexual, lesbian and transgender communities.

“Autocratic and self-centred leaders are controlling and corrupting the state system and minds of millions of Nepalis,” Pant said Saturday. “They use people - especially young ones - for their political gains but never give opportunities and space to the new generations. These leaders have already done enough damage to the country. This must change!”

Pant, who has pioneered the sexual minorities’ entry into professions and transformed sex workers into successful careerists, is asking for young people from villages, businesses, the media, health, education, tourism, IT and sports to be given space in politics and the Constituent Assembly.

“Young politicians can truly make a positive impact and lead the current crisis into peaceful solutions if we are given the opportunity,” said Pant, who is in his 30s.

Nepal’s biggest ruling party, the Nepali Congress, is dominated by leaders who are over 60, and not in the best of health.

Its past chief Girija Prasad Koirala refused to relinquish the reins even when he was over 80 and functioned from sick bed surrounded by doctors.

The Maoists have been the only party to promote young blood. Its chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who led an armed war for 10 years during which he was known to have roamed on horseback in the countryside, was the youngest prime minister at 53.

“The country must not tolerate these senile, self-centred politicians as they cannot deliver anything better for the country, neither peace nor security nor development,” Pant said as it became increasingly clear that a new constitution would not be ready by May 28.

“Rather they will cause more instability, insecurity and make the country poorer.”

The gay MP is seeking a total boycott of the elderly political leaders. This includes the media blacking them out, bureaucracy ignoring them, organisations stopping invitations to cut ribbons at opening ceremonies and diplomatic missions overlooking them.

He is even asking for the politicians’ own families not to cook for them or wash their laundry.

Pant is instead asking for the young generation, women and marginalised communities to start discussing the matters that need urgent attention and open dialogue.

His anger is directed mostly towards the three major parties: the ruling Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist and the opposition Maoists.

“Let’s stop these senile politicians from the three parties from destroying our present and future,” he said in a statement. “We can stop them peacefully by boycotting them: they are well past their shelf life!!”

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