Ideology and Party Structure
BibekSheel Nepali claim that instead of focusing on rigid ideological standpoints, they are interested in ‘issue based politics‘ and position themselves in the centre of Nepali political spectrum. They also claim that on some issues their stance leans to the left and on some issues leans to the right. Bibeksheel Nepali’s political document argues that they follow an ideology of ‘pragmatic reforms’ and their goal is to ‘build a peaceful and prosperous Nepal’ within their own life-time.
Bibeksheel Nepali party’s party structure follows the model of a democratic nation state and constitute legislative, executive and judiciary chiefs within the party. The party’s steering committee include the three chiefs and a chairperson whose job is to oversee the continuos development of the party.
On occasions, Bibeksheel Nepali has been accused of lacking clear idealogical base as opposed to traditional political parties in Nepal which are mostly either leftists or rightists.
Bibeksheel Nepali is popular among urban, educated, English-speaking young Nepali people and non-resident Nepalis (NRNs). A very active user of social media, the party has probably the most active social media presence amongst Nepali political parties.
Bibeksheel Nepali Party’s four candidates gave candidacy for the 2013 Constituent Assembly (CA) elections from four constituencies in Kathmandu. They were engaged in an active social media driven election campaign and their presence in Nepali political sphere was often reported as a rising alternative force. However, the party couldn’t secure any seats and the party’s Chairperson secured 1163 votes and came 5th out of 28 contestants in Kathmandu-5.
Even after the election defeat, Bibeksheel Nepali continued its active political engagement specially focusing the youths that are increasingly frustrated with Nepal’s traditional political forces.
Since Nepal’s second Constituent Assembly (CA) failed to deliver a consensual constitution within the promised period of a year, the Bibeksheel Nepali party drafted a sample constitution and promulgated on 22 Jan 2015. Writing an article afterwards in Nepal’s English newspaper My Republica, the party’s chairperson Ujwal Thapa argued:
Enough is enough! We must build an alternative. This is why BibekSheel Nepalis got united to build and publish a new constitution on Jan 22, 2015. We did not spend a single paisa of Nepali taxpayer money and delivered a working constitution for the Nepali people.
In the wake of Nepal’s devastating April 25 earthquake, the party swiftly mobilized its volunteers and actively worked in fundraising, relief and rehabilitation activities. Unlike bigger political parties with extensive political networks, Bibeksheel Nepali party once again used social networking sites and ICT tools to coordinate their action and communication. They quickly introduced Bibeksheel Earthquake Relief Centre with a 24-hours hotline help desk for earthquake victims and volunteers.
Due to their active and continuous engagement in earthquake relief work, some media outlets in Nepal published stories of earthquake victims who had trusted Bibeksheel Nepali volunteers more than the government. Writing an op-ed piece on Nepali Times, journalist Tsering Dolker Gurung advised Nepali political leaders to learn from Bibeksheel Nepali.
“Seasoned leaders of political parties would do well to learn a thing or two from young political force Bibeksheel Nepali whose members have been proactive and working at grassroots, filling the space left by major political forces and earning appreciation and possible votes of a disgruntled public.”