Nepali Times
My Take
Chance for redemption


In the Bollywood movie Hyderabad Blues, two pairs of brides and grooms are about to tie the knot. At the last moment, one of the brides ditches her groom to be with her true love, who himself is on the verge of marrying another woman.

Nepal's situation is not so different. The Maoists and UML have been in a relationship since the seven-point deal between their party chairmen, which paved the way for UML's Jhala Nath Khanal to become PM. Nepali Congress, for all its recent bungling, still has at least two aces up its sleeve. For a truly effective coalition would be one between the Maoists and Nepali Congress, with UML and the Madhesi parties playing a supporting role.

Ego, pigheadedness and the personal ambitions of their leaders, along with a heavy dose of suspicion about each other's intentions, have however pushed the Maoists and Nepali Congress further apart. Neither the peace process nor the constitution will see the light unless these two come together.

The reasons, if they needed any reinforcement, are obvious.

It has taken less than two months for the parties to realise Ė they are loath to admit it in public, though Ė what a mess they have created. Khanal's is already a non-functioning government, and not just for his failure to give full shape to his cabinet even two months since he took over as the top executive of the country.

This is an unnatural coalition, even though it is heavily communist in character, with the country's two leading communist parties and an ex-communist led Madhesi party being part of it. President Yadav has pointed out that decisions by the coalition (which as a two-thirds majority in the CA) will have no meaning if such decisions don't have the political backing of all the major political forces. More than the numerical two-thirds, President Yadav said, a political two-thirds majority is the need of the hour. One may accuse him of overstepping his constitutional brief, but beneath the planted news of a PM said to be 'unhappy' about the president's statement, there is a much-needed nudge to reverse the slide downhill.

The whole idea about acting as per the mandate of the people expressed through their ballots, and embracing the reality of post-conflict transition, was always pointing to one direction Ė a government led by the Maoist party and to be more specific, Pushpa Kamal Dahal. The chairman can say all he wants, shout himself hoarse over India's meddling in internal politics (not unjustified, as recent events corroborate his allegations), and issue threats. But he and his party cannot afford to ignore Nepali Congress. He needs to speak to those in the party with whom he first got in touch to effect the 12-point agreement, agree to implement the agreements on integration/rehabilitation of Maoist combatants, and agree on constitution-drafting. In return, Nepali Congress must unequivocally say it is the Maoist party that should lead the government.

Nepali Congress' sidelining in national politics notwithstanding, the Maoists would do well to take its threat seriously: that Nepali Congress will not allow the promulgation of the constitution unless the Maoists honour their commitment on ex-combatants. It is right in asserting that there cannot, and should not, be another election with the Maoist party still effectively commanding the reins of a private army. If Dahal-Khanal refuse to listen and try to go ahead as per their seven-point deal, it will lead to what no democrat in the country wants to see happen: the dismissal of the Khanal government by President Yadav around 28 May with the covert backing of Nepali Congress and other political parties, including a powerful faction of UML.

The Nepali Congress threat is not an empty one. They know that the president is ready to act out his role as protector of the constitution with the army standing firmly behind him.

May better sense prevail.

1. jange

It is right in asserting that there cannot, and should not, be another election with the Maoist party still effectively commanding the reins of a private army.

If it was OK to conduct the last election under these circumstances why is it not OK to conduct another one under the same conditions?

2. who cares
many individuals are giving many reasons like- mistrust, egos, motive, personal/group interest, foreign intervention etc etc for present deadlock or non progress on peace process and const. drafting process.

but, i only see "motive" as the sole (main reason) behind such hindrance. so could someone explain me clearly other reasons effecting the process (not minor). 

and regarding mistrusting maoist, its actually not mistrust, its rather belief. 

3. K. K. Sharma

hear ! hear ! for #1.

During the insurgency, the NC cadres and supporters were killed, looted, displaced from the districts. And NC was incapable of even protecting their cadres. So what can NC really do now against the Maoists and more with the alliance of UML and the Maoists, except make noise.
 What makes Damakant think that NC is powerful enough to over-ride the two-thired majority and effect its will .... [external masters of Nepal ?]

As for the army, does not Damakant know, it has no ammunitions, and requisite  logistics. and has lots of vacancies .. not sufficent manpower and that the sorry state of the army is reflected by the fact that their training camps are shut-down. Do they have the capabilities to do what Damakant thinks they can do.? 

Further, what would be the motivation for the army to support the incompetent party that was scared, and could not conduct the constitutionally prescribed election, had vilified them and cut-down their budget.? 

4. Soni

"It has taken less than two months for the parties to realise ‚Äď they are loath to admit it in public, though ‚Äď what a mess they have created."

2006, 2006, 2007, 2008, and so on...

The reason why all that has happened appears to be just two month old is because absolutely nothing has changed for the past 5 years.

By saying what you have said you seem to confirm doubts that Nepal's partisan media is simply hoping to irritate people to the extent that they become absolutely disinterested in the actions of the ruling Oligarchy.

Have a look again at the situation and then try and tell us what the problem really is.

All of Nepal's leading political parties are fighting for their existence and legitimacy. By linking the constitution making process with the idea that it is the government's responsibility and not the CA's, parties have created a trap for themselves.

Try and imagine if the UCPN and UML alliance ends up producing a constitution. It does not matter what type, they just have to say we got the constitution and hope for the best. The NC would be left completely out in the cold, the opposition forces within the UML would be obliterated, and fringe Madhesi's would be left alone.

This is not as far-fetched as you think. The Maoist tried to do that, issuing a constitution from the streets last year.

Sure, they will kick, scream, holler and do everything else, but they would have lost another battle, and the loss, to many of their ordinary supporters, would spell doom and irrelevance.

For NC to ensure its survival, all they are going to focus on is to be as obstructive as possible, the same was that JN Khanal and PKD were. 

Looking at the future is not possible, and a failure to do that is not criminal, but to not look back at the events of the past and use them as a guide to political parties future course of action is surely ignorant. Of course, you would also have the option of looking at history and then twisting it to use as a propaganda tool, but that would be dishonest.

The parties, displaying gigantic short-sightedness, made several errors moving in to the current arrangement. They have repeated their tendency to do that again. 

As far as I can tell, the party leadership has shown that they would stoop to any low to get to power, lies, propaganda, even treason. I have seen no evidence to prove that they would do otherwise when they are cornered once again.

It is notable that the media too helped the parties become so incompetent. Assured that their lies would be conveyed to the reading public as revealed truth, they simply focussed all their attention to short term trickery

5. B2B
Another aggiornamento! It is OK by me ‚ā¨@%!?!

6. naresh
What can you do? Write..
What can I do? Read..
What can I do? Wait and watch
What can you do? Wait and watch

Such  pathetic lives ours are..
Let the hex roll.

7. Paul Krugman
Nepal has had some terrible PMs, but Khanal is the champion of Les Terribles.

Really pathetic.

Why should NC help him out? He's a Maoist stooge. Better to let him die.


8. Arthur
The Nepali Congress threat is not an empty one. They know that the president is ready to act out his role as protector of the constitution with the army standing firmly behind him.

If Nepal Army wants another civil war instead of another election, having the Congress, Damakant Jayshi and every reader of Nepali Times onside would not be an advantage. At least with Gyanendra the army could boast that they had thrown out the Kangresis. Imagine trying to fight a civil war with Sushil Koirala standing firmly behind you. One might as well surrender at once!

The "threat" is so ridiculous that one wonders why the author bothers to make it.

Ok so you don't like losing elections. But you would enjoy another civil war even less. So why not try to get used to living in the 21st Century?

Checkout the middle east. The future for such threats does not look bright.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)