Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Afraid of the royal shadow


On May Day at the Khula Manch, Prachanda delivered a fiery speech. In summary, he warned that if parliament didn't declare Nepal a republic his party would launch a typhoon of protests from the streets, parliament, and the cantonments. Then Matrika Yadav threatened not to allow cabinet meetings to go ahead. Strong words were received by strong applause from a sympathetic crowd.

The same day, Lena Sundh, representative of the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a statement in which she accused the Maoists of not living up to their commitment to allow internally displaced people to return to their homes and returning property seized during the conflict. That evening the UN secretary general's special representative Ian Martin warned the Maoists not to put conditions ahead of the second phase of the verification of the fighters in the cantonments. Since then there have been attacks on a police post in Banke, and abductions for ransom.

The question arises: why is Prachanda flogging the dead horse of monarchy? Shouldn't this country's priority be the establishment of true peace? What the Maoists couldn't win with 11 years of armed struggle was achieved through 19 days of street protests. This is proof that the people support non-violent struggle and that this path is more effective in fighting for democracy. Prachanda and his comrades should have understood that by now.

He must realise that most Nepalis are watching to see if the CPN-M behaves like a political party that it is supposed to be. After all, it is now part of the government and interim parliament. The people aren't so scared of the dead horse of the monarchy that they want to throw it into the river. There are some who think the monarchy has not been weakened, that it may get new energy and destabilise the state. But that shows a lack a self-confidence. Getting spooked by the ghost of a monarchy only proves how insecure we are. After all, the people brought down a king who had the entire strength of state security behind him.

So why, at a time when your own party cadre aren't listening to your guidelines, get into a frenzy when the king goes to pray at a temple? Prachandaji: the people are against all forms of totalitarianism. They will not digest one party trying to force its writ on all others. Your party is already in government. Together with the other parties, you are responsible for the rule of law through the police and the judiciary. To ignore that and allow the YCL to take the law into its own hands doesn't sound logical, comrade. The YCL's modus operandi is to beat up bus conductors who refuse to take damaged ten rupee notes. How often do you want to say sorry for this kind of behaviour?

The people are much more worried about the lack of development, sluggish economic growth, and the fact that the absence of war is not peace than about whether or not we throw away the corpse of monarchy. Just remember, the people are watching your performance and evaluating your every move.

Pushpa Pokhrel,

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)