Nepali Times
Battle royal for republic


The current petroleum shortage is not going to go away because no one in government is willing to bell the cat.

Last week, energy experts came up with a workable plan to increase the price of av gas (rich people fly planes), petrol (yuppies drive motorcycles) and LPG (burned by middle class urban households and tempo riders) so that we can at least pay the Indians.

They managed to convince the supplies minister. He took it up with the finance minister, who said fine because he agrees with the Washington Consensus plus IOC that cutting fuel subsidies is the only way, and that people will ultimately be so frustrated with petrol queues they will welcome a price rise.

Next up the food chain was the peace minister who had to have a say because a fuel price increase would have an impact on law and order and breakdown thereof. But, surprisingly, even Poudel said do what you have to do.

Now, the only thing left to do was convince the Maoists. Info minister Mahara was not exactly gungho, but he didn't reject it outright either. But since the party operates under the oxymoronic system of 'democratic centralism' Maharaji said let's run this one past Comrade Awe-insipiring. So trundle off to Buddhanagar they did, and guess what the Fearsome One said? "The YCL will never agree to it." So that was that.


The Bollywood film Aag is getting the axe from the Maoist member of the Bored of Film Censors, who was so scandalised by the sight of pulsating pelvises and other anti-revolutionary movements that he warned that the 12-point agreement would be in jeopardy if the offending scenes were passed.

The comrades have been using this tactic quite a bit lately. Just the other day Comrade Lotus Flower (under medication now for hypertension) was speaking to over 1,000 followers at Danchhi near Kathmandu and once more did a TUAS (threat of use of armed struggle). The most interesting part of the speech was the Chairman's assertion that his party had the "strong backing of China". In classic triplespeak he went on: "Even if our 22 demands are met, we will not go for elections, we will put up a new demand, namely that we must be allowed to lead the government, since there is no chance of them agreeing to it we will begin our uprising."


Oblivious to all this are the kangresis who are busy doing what they are best at: stabbing each other in the back. We will believe there is NC unity when it happens, but in the meantime who is going to unite First Dotter Sujata with First Cousin Shekhar? The two are at loggerheads even when both know that Sitaula is pulling the rug from under both of them and probably secretly egging on the Maoists to put all his kangresi enemies on their list for janakarbai. Which proves what the Ass has been saying all along, forget Congress unity, unite the Koirala clan first.

With Girjau now inclined to get on the democratic federal republic bandwagon, why is his own daughter gunning for the monarchy at this late stage? Or is the Cunning Old Fox using one of his two-pronged strategies? There is a paradoxical convergence between the Maoist and monarchist positions: neither of these arch rivals wants an election in November. So Girjau's thinking must be: by removing the kingship before the election you automatically remove the only slogan the Maoists have. Smart.


Kingji and queenji, meanwhile, paid daily visits to Norvic to see their son Paras who has proven the dynasty's genetic proclivity to cardiovascular disease at an earlier-than-usual age. The Ass can't confirm reports that the first thing the uncrowned prince wanted after regaining consciousness in the CCU was a smoke, but it wouldn't be surprising if it was true. Anyway, the doctors have apparently told him no smoking, no booze, no bacon and no getting stoned. But what surprised many at Norvic was to see KingG mixing with other relatives of patients at the hospital and making small talk. One gets the feeling such gestures are five years too late.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)