Nepali Times Asian Paints
Baburam Bhattarai Replies

I was quite amused to read in your esteemed paper (Nepali Times/ Poll, #91) last week that the largest number of email voters have chosen me as the prospective 'prime minister' if elections were held today. While expressing gratitude to the voters for their kind affection, I would reject the offer for its misleading political connotations and consequen-ces. It is impossible for our party and me personally to think of occupying any post, howsoever high and prestigious it may be, within the prevailing state dispensation. The ongoing Peoples' War and recent peace talks are aimed at a progressive, democratic change in the state system as a whole and not any cosmetic change in the government within the old state. Let there be no doubt, at least amongst the enlightened English-speaking urbanites, on this fundamental political question. There is just no chance of our sharing the spoils of power within the present autocratic monarchical system, whether through showcase 'elections' or no elections. I would once again reiterate that the bottom line for any political compromise at the moment is a roundtable conference, interim government and elections to a constituent assembly. And nothing more or nothing less. I hope I have not hurt the feelings of your enlightened email voters.

And more to the point, I would like to add something else to this short letter, which may be somewhat out of context. This concerns an earlier report in Nepali Times ('Class of 1970', #142) about my school days in Amar Jyoti High School, Luitel, Gorkha. While most of your reporting was quite objective, there were some serious, if not deliberate, omissions. While talking of people who made a great impact on my childhood and contributed to the rise of Amar Jyoti High School to national glory, one can never forget a great lady called Miss Eleanor Elkins. A devout Christian missionary from Scotland, now settled in New York, she was single-handedly instrumental for the excellent quality of education and discipline in our school for more than two decades. I can never forget her, even though your reporter conveniently omitted her while writing about Amar Jyoti. There can be no objective history of my school and my childhood days without that great soul, Miss Elkins. Let her 'god' bless her forever! At least thousands of her students will cherish fond memories of her throughout their lives. You also missed the name of Verghese Thomas from Kerala, who was actually the headmaster of our school when we passed out in 1970. Maybe you got 'Thomas Verghese' and 'Verghese Thomas' mixed up. As far as I remember names and dates correctly, Thomas Verghese, the earlier headmaster left the school in 1968 and Verghese Thomas took the mantle successfully till the mid-eighties. Hence it would be a gross injustice to omit Verghese Thomas' name, who was a good mathematics teacher as well.

Baburam Bhattarai,

. I was perplexed to see the results of your last two internet polls in which the RPP and the Maoists come out on top. Since these polls were done before you say you tightened your multiple-voting software I must say, could it be that we are seeing a Nani Maiya-effect here from your internet voters? Either that, or we look at the political parties and we don't see any faces in the leadership that we like.

Shambu Shakya,

. First, thank you for fixing the internet polling page to prevent multiple polling. Now, as you say, it takes a lot of free time (which is not worth it) to click in that second vote. I looked at the last two polls and thought that the trend was interesting, notwithstanding the editorial caveat about the accuracy of internet polling. It seems that between them, both the socialist/communists and the Maoists have the hearts and minds of the Nepalis. Combined, the UML and the Maoists received 43.79 percent of the votes. If you combine the individual leaders leading these two parties, the total is 48.89 percent. You don't have to be a statistics genius to see that there is a definite trend here. Another interesting observation is that the individual leaders fared a tiny bit better than their parties.

Deepak Neupane,

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)