Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Clear objectives

There is no strength in the argument that the country will witness far-reaching democratic reforms once parliament is restored. To solve the present crisis, what we need is a peaceful movement which means that the political forces need to work together and make their objectives clear.

But the chances of such an alliance among political forces is growing slimmer by the day even though it is clear that such unity is a precursor to resolving the Maoist crisis. The role of working unity among political parties becomes even more crucial when it concerns the insurgency because the king and the Maoists have divergent interests. The king wants to protect his traditional powers while the rebels are fighting to end it. The problem is to get the two to find a common agreement.

The political parties can work with the king only on the basis of people's power. As long as sovereignty is not restored to the people there is no possibility of forging a working relation with the king. As long as the monarchy believes that traditional rights are the basis of its power, democracy in Nepal will always remain ambiguous. Fifty years ago, King Tribhuban took over executive power citing what he claimed the rights of the monarch. Referring to the same rights, his son, King Mahendra prepared a constitution and held elections. One-and-a-half-year down the line, he used the same constitution as a stepping-stone to oust an elected government and to throttle the parliamentary system to death.

Without a logical end to this traditional power struggle between the king and parliamentary parties, the Maoist problem will not end. The vested interests of many quarters that are reaping benefits from the crisis will also prolong the insurgency. It is clear that the Maoist insurgency cannot be brought to an end militarily. It has been proven worldwide that insurgencies will only end through political means. The military can only be a force to exert pressure.

In Nepal's case the situation is more complicated. Besides the insurgency, no framework for democratic politics has been readied so far. Issues like the king's status, the state structure of the Maoists, and the meeting point between the rebels and parliamentary political parties are yet to be resolved. Of late, we have heard of yet another 'solution': elections. This is just a theoretical argument. Practically, elections are impossible for now because neither the Maoists nor the parties have agreed to it. The royal move of 4 October 2002 continues to be controversial. That is why the only meeting point of all the forces in the country is the reconstruction of the state. It is toward this end that all quarters must work together.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)