Nepali Times
Offence is the best defence


The Ass is beginning to suspect that the public disagreement between the NC and the Maoists over the defence ministry portfolio was a bit of a red herring. Just a hunch: wasn't the real issue over the finance ministry?

After all, if finance turns the tap off, the army gets no moolah, right? But for some reason the army brass that had got all antsy about a Maoist president is also getting rattled about the prospect of a Maoist defence minister because of what it would mean for PLA-army integration.

The defence ministry post was always ceremonial anyway. It's the PM who can call the shots. Besides, under the interim constitution, army policy is supposed to be governed by the National Security Council of which the defence minister is only one of the members. So why were the kangresis pretending it was so important that they were willing to stay out of government for it? And if they stay out, they have even less say, no? And why were the Maoists so dead against the kangresis getting defence? That they considered CP Mainali as DefMin proves what little importance they attach to it.


Girjau's whole strategy has been to try to delay the Maoist government formation as long as possible by setting up one obstacle after another. The real issue here was that GPK just didn't want to allow PKD to become prime minister because PKD vetoed GPK as president. But in his quest for revenge, the Old Fox didn't realise that time had run out and he'd also run out of clever tricks. His personal quest has led to his party now being left out of the government with nothing to do but lick its wounds. But don't count out Girija 'Sour Grapes' Koirala yet, the man is still capable of pulling another joker out of the pack.


The UML is playing coy, and is happy enough to have the home ministry in return for voting with the Maoists on the prime minister. Jhol Nath got himself a good deal this time by using his brains for once.

But if there is such a grand alliance between the Maoists and the UML at the leadership level, why are their Armed Adolescents trying their best to break each others' skulls? The Youth Force and YCL have landed themselves in a mafia-style extermination battle over an extortion racket at Kathmandu's casinos. The stakes are high, and both are gambling on big long-term payoffs for whoever gets to keep the division of the spoils that the royals used to pocket.


The MJF for its part is sitting tight because it has been assured of the foreign ministry by the Maoists. A couple of its leaders have got used to jet-setting during their kangres ministerial days, and long to get back to junketeering. The irony of the situation is that the while the president gets to occupy Shitall Nibas, a madhesi foreign minister could occupy Naryanhiti. But if the Maoists suddenly change their minds (which the MJF thinks is a distinct possibility), then it is going to gun for hydropower. No one seems to want the supply ministry at the moment because it is such a thankless job despite there being huge opportunities there for hanky panky.


In all this wheeling and dealing, the Big Four totally forgot one thing: their much-publicised attempt to come up with a common version of their common minimum program. One kangresi task force delegate in an unguarded moment admitted that in the meetings set aside for CMP all they did was bargain over portfolios. So what else is new?


Is the fuel situation in Nepal so critical that the US Air Force had to fly in a KC-10 Extender midair refueling tanker aircraft to augment petrol supply? Why else would there be an emergency visit by an airborne tanker at Gauchar that didn't even have to pay landing and parking charges?


This week's New Name Contest winner is Alonzo Lucius Lyons with his renaming of the Nepali Congress as Nepali Regress and the Constituent Assembly as Constant Disassembly.

Runner-up is CK Shrestha with a new name for GPK: Gidda Prasad Koirala.


(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)