Nepal's #SmashChairChallenge Pressures the Constituent Assembly to Draft the Constitution

Screenshot from Twitter.

Screenshot from Twitter.

The Nepali Twitter-sphere is filled with images of people throwing chairs. Thanks to the infamous incident in the Nepal’s Constituent Assembly where Maoist lawmakers threw chairs, the Twitter users in Nepal have started #SmashChairChallenge, an online satire to press the Constituent Assembly members to draft the constitution on time.

Nepal is governed under the Interim Constitution of Nepal, which was promulgated in January 2007. The new constitution was to be formally declared by May 2010, but the Constituent Assembly changed the deadline several times because of many points of disagreement between the political parties.

In May 2012, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai dissolved the elected Constituent Assembly after it failed to finish the constitution, ending four years of constitution drafting and leaving the country in a legal vacuum. Elections to a second Constituent Assembly were held on November 19, 2013 and political leaders have pledged to draft a new constitution within a year. The latest deadline was on January 22 – but on January 20, 2015, a fight broke out in the Nepali Assembly, where Maoist and Madhesi lawmakers scuffled with ruling party politicians.

The Nepali Twitter users had seen enough of the brawl and decided to do something about it. Brazesh Khanal, an author, columnist and screenplay writer tweeted:

There’s a plan to upload photos from 10:45 AM with hashtag #SmashChairChallenge. All are requested to participate, get your photo ready.

He challenged his followers to do the same, after he uploaded a picture of himself throwing a chair.

People have been accepting the challenge, to the point where it has become viral on Twitter.

Navin Khatiwada, a journalist with the English daily Republica, tweeted:

Narayan Wagle, a noted author and journalist, showed solidarity with the social media campaign. Journalist Girish Giri tweeted:

Narayan Wagle’s solidarity to #SmashChairChallenge

While social media followers have been busy posting pictures of themselves throwing chairs, some think it’s the leaders who should be smashed, rather than smashing the chairs symbolically.

Umesh Upadhayaya, a software developer, tweeted:

Some, like Rudra Pangeni, a journalist with Republica, were even in favour of smashing people protesting on the roads:

The vandalism and attacks in the assembly smashing the furniture were highly publicised by both national and foreign media; netizens agreed that their behaviour caused the country great embarrassment.

Shankar Dahal tweeted:

Kinar Timilsina, a music enthusiast, tweeted:

The Constituent Assembly Secretariat has issued a press release stating the vandalism amounted to NRs three million (1 USD = NRs 98.46). While it is yet to be decided whether the assembly members will be suspended or made to pay for the damage, Nepali social media users are busy supporting the #SmashChairChallenge.

One social media follower tweeted:

Seems [I] won’t be included in the society until I lift a chair and post the photo with #SmashChairChallange


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