Nepali Times
Guest Column
The magic wand



The Nepali people's message to the political leadership of this country in the 2008 elections was clear: we want the Maoists to transform themselves into a legitimate political party and work with the other parties to write a new constitution. But the leaders forgot this mandate, and their priority was not the constitution but political power.

As the CA's term neared its expiry date, this newspaper carried out a public opinion poll in which an overwhelming number of the over 5,000 respondents from all over the country said that if the constitution couldn't be written on time, the CA's term should be extended and a national consensus government formed. Politics becomes cynical when public opinion ceases to matter to politicians.

The last minute deal last week didn't just save the CA, it also saved the country's two biggest communist parties (the Maoists and the UML) both from splitting right down the middle. The cracks had begun to appear last year, but on the morning of 28 May, a Maoist Standing Committee meeting was divided between the Baburam Bhattarai camp (which wanted a six-month extension of the CA) and the Baidya faction (which didn't want an extension). Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal cast his lot with the hardliners.

Similarly, by evening dissidents within the UML, led by Bam Dev Gautam, had started a signature campaign to get 62 members to call for the resignation of the prime minister, though he was from their own party. Meanwhile, the MJF and other Madhesi parties in government began to say that the prime minister should step down, the CA term should be extended and the Maoists should lead a new national government. For the Madhesi parties, this was a complete turnaround.

A week later, as the Maoists and the NC-UML coalition interpret the three-point resolution in their own way and the political rhetoric goes back to pointing fingers, it looks like nothing has changed. The parties have just bought time by extending the CA. When should the prime minister resign, if at all, and who should take his place?

The person most desperate to get back to Baluwatar is Chairman Dahal, but he has too many external and internal forces arrayed against him.

Baburam Bhattarai could be the compromise candidate for the other parties, but the paradox is that his own party leadership, especially Dahal, is against him.

Some within the NC are now saying it is their 'turn' and are promoting Ram Chandra Poudel for his leadership in striking the deal last week. Sher Bahadur Deuba's critics say he has been prime minister once too often and he may have to wait till the NC convention to lead his party.

Jhalnath Khanal has too many enemies within the UML who don't trust what they see as his duplicitous role in dealing with the Maoists. KP Oli has represented the right wing of his leftist party, but it was his last-minute turnaround on Thursday in a meeting with Dahal that allowed a deal to be struck. Still, he is hobbled with the same 'loser' label that has undermined Madhav Nepal's credibility.

The CA has been revived with a magic wand. The agreement itself is vague and there is no timeline. After the drama of last week, we are back to where we started: getting a power-sharing agreement on a national government so that the other peace and constitutional issues can fall into place.

Resurrection, deconstructed, Prashant Jha
Complicity journalism, CK Lal
Revisiting Crapmandu, Rabi Thapa
Professionalism and transparency, Artha Beed
Mťnage ŗ trois, Ass

1. bibek
Childish analysis, failed to say what he is actually focusing on. It's all clear so no need to spend the guest column anyway.

2. Anonymous
Insanity has been defined as "Trying to achieve something different using  the same old ways" . Ironically, one sees a great deal of similarity between the feudal king G. Shah and the current brand of political 'leaders' in Nepal. The former tried to repeat the strategy of 1960 and utterly failed (ultimately loosing his throne!) The politicians failed to understand the meaning and the value of Constituent Assembly. The conduct of the party leaders once again demonstrate that they are anachronistic, obsolete-minded, and  could sadly be labeled as a 'soft-headed bunch' of incompetent, insincere and rogue elements in our society. As a common citizen of this country, I  see fundamental deficit of honesty, moral character and principles in them. It is high time for them to peacefully retire, as did King GS; and give way to a younger, educated and professionally savvy generation. Nepali political landscape needs sweeping cultural change, if Nepal is to step out of the present stagnation and political quagmire.

3. PriyaS

The Maoists want a national government led by their Party based on consensus. The consensual candidate is Baburam Bhattarai. So the ONLY problem is limited to three words--Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Shame on this power hungry grime!!


4. Sunita Tiwari
"...we want the Maoists to transform themselves into a legitimate political party and work with the other parties to write a new constitution."

I am sick and tired of so called 'analysts' like Mr. Simkhada who 'thinks' that Nepali people voted for the Maoist so that they don't go back to the jungle. I suppose you don't want the Maoist to go back to the jungle. So did you vote for them? I'm yet to find a single person to say 'yes' and believe me, I've asked scores of them. 

Nepalese voted for the Maoist because they wanted change. And change not only for the elite class but for the majority of the Nepalese people. This was impossible from Kangress and Emaale. And hence the Maoist won. What people like Mr. Simkhada don't want to consider is that the Maoist actually won 120 seats out of 240 in the conventional tyranny-of-the-majority system. 

5. Gole
Is,t it high time that Comrade Mohan Baidhaya Pokharel  "Kiran',the Ultra-Left and his gang and ComradeBabu Ram Bhattarai 'Laldhoj" group form different parties. Comrade Puspa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' can join either. That will be the only solution for the impasse plagueing this unfortunate nation. Then other parties also can follow soon.It is better to divorce when there is no compatibility in the marriage.

6. jange
# 4

Nepalis voted for the Maoists because of intimidation and threats of violence. It is not possible to have free and fair elections when one of the contending parties is armed and allowed to use violence with impunity.

7. Tapan
Since the three point agreement is done with the intention to disagree,it is but natural to be vague.Let us disagree but not be disagreeable.We do,nt trust our bar association for interpritation of the document.  As unwritten prevails over written in these days in our polity,let us invoke the UN once again.A devil from outside is worth worshipping,our own saints are good for kicking in the rear.Call jurists from The International Court of Justice for mediation.

8. Prakash shrestha
The first sentence itself is so laughable and as somebody mentioned, childish. If a writer can twist something like this, why would our politicians miss to interpret things on their own? "People voted the Maoists for them to transform", what an analysis! Im unable to stop laughing.

9. Arthur
The article has to be as superficial as it is or it would not be able to conclude as usual that nothing has happened and nothing will happen.

It also has to be "symmetrical". Since the UMLs openly split with a majority of them opposing MKN it had to invent a Maoist split for which there is no evidence at all.

Since it cannot support the Maoists in demanding that the government that is actively opposed to and preventing implementation of the peace agreement be replaced with a national unity government led by the Maoists it has to say "The agreement itself is vague and there is no timeline".

Only that allows it to conclude that nothing has happened or will happen.

But actually something did happen. The three parties agreed that the MKN government is now a "lame duck". Before it was just completely useless without them actually admitting it. Now it is so near its end that its only remaining purpose is to remind its supporters that their leaders cannot be trusted to do anything apart from clinging to office and have no other function.

That cannot go on for long. So something will happen.

10. Electron

Columnist like Simkhada indeed should have been born in Greece before Plato. He is a Grand Master of corrupt and illogical logic. People voted the Maoists as a largest party so that the axis of loosers can enjoy the honeymoon in cabinet with the patting of thier  supreme leader- Rakesh Sood. Mr. Simkhada, does the list below contain your relatives ???


11. chasing_che
so childish and so self oriented..........what do u think...we voted maoists because of intimidation and threats because they have guns.....give me a break dude...may be u have voted them for fear..not us...not at least me...if u really have voted them for fear then u are the most coward journalist i had ever seen...stop writing this bull shit out of fear and migrate to america or some european countries,....we really don need who votes of fear being a journalist....shame on u......i voted them on my own....and of weapons.....i hd seen what congress and uml had done ain all those post 1991 years without least maoist had done nothing of that sort.........we want revolutions not reforms....had enough of those state looters congress and uml goons.....

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)