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Oppositional Politics in Nepal by Lok Raj Baral 2006, pp vii+297 ISBN 99933 43 75 7
In this important study of politics and political culture during Nepal’s Panchayat era (1960-90), Lok Raj Baral challenges the notion that overt opposition disappears in states that do not have a party system of government. The author demonstrates convincingly that conflict is a natural and inevitable part of any political system and that the ostensibly partyless Panchayat System in Nepal could not prevent opposition from taking root. It was not the basic contradictions of the system alone that gave rise to the steady growth of dissent. Political expediency and immaturity among key individuals and groups led them to choose strategies that deviated from the supposedly all-embracive ideology of the system. It was these intra-systemic differences that ultimately provided sustenance to oppositionists not reconciled to the ‘partyless’ character of the system.
Oppositional Politics in Nepal has long been recognised as a classic on Panchayat-era politics. This edition has a new chapter in which Prof Baral revisits the subject and examines how political opposition manifested during Nepal’s recent experience with pluralist democracy and the subsequent assaults from the Right and the Left.
Lok Raj Baral is Professor and Chairman of the Nepal Centre for Contemporary Studies (NCCS), Kathmandu, and a former Professor of Political Science at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu. Author of many books, edited volumes, chapters of books, yearbooks and research papers, Professor Baral has worked in various universities of the world as visiting professor and fellow. He also served as Nepal’s ambassador to India in 1996-97.