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Who is lying?

In a democracy, elected officials are accountable to the people.

We have institutions in place to perform the function of checks and balances. Media is one such institution that makes accountability possible.

But going by the recent development, it appears that everyone, except the out-going government, is lying.

Other political parties are lying and the media, it believes, is reluctant to believe the out-going government’s claims. This was said at the party convention and reiterated when the out-going cabinet ministers held its last meet the press session.

Reporting on its pledges, it believes, is unfair. It certainly did more and the government does deserve credit for initiating works outside the plan and the manifesto. But more often than not a politician is known by the promises he/she keeps. And it is for the people to decide what the government has done or not.

It is for the people to decide who is lying, or rather, who is lying better.

To berate the press for doing its job, in a dying industry should not offer any political party any consolation. Where there should be concern, there appears to be almost a sense of gratification to the deteriorating state of the media.

With election mood picking pace, we already sense a growing apprehension among institutions of being affiliated to political parties. The audit authority is reluctant to release its reports on some of the major works initiated by the government because it is concerned that other parties would use the findings against the government. The ACC did not re-investigate the REDCL case in Tsirang when the Opposition requested and in its attempt to be fair, it did not take up the fiscal incentive issue the prime minister asked the office to investigate.

This is the state of the media and public institutions that have the mandate to maintain accountability and check and balance as the country prepares to launch into the third parliamentary elections. The government has achieved what it could in five years. How has this enhanced democracy, however? What does it mean for democracy when we are starting our speeches, campaigns and elections with accusations and fear?

But amid all the anxiety and fear and accusations, there still appears to be a sense of optimism and excitement among the people on the third round of elections.  The parties, the election commission, the media and the people appear more prepared today than they were a decade ago. May be even more prepared to witness the spectacle of lies.

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