Nepali Times
Less revolting


The Himalmedia Poll a fortnight ago showed that the Nepali people are enormously concerned that the constitution will not be written in time, and that the country may lapse back into war.

With only two weeks to go, it is important to note that most Nepalis want the tenure of the CA to be extended to conclude constitution-writing and the peace process. This is a clear message to those on the extreme left and right who are hoping to benefit from the expected constitutional void after 28 May.

When asked for their opinion, or at election time, Nepalis usually show optimism and great wisdom, always preferring the moderate, non-violent and democratic path. In April, too, most of the 5,005 respondents polled evinced a firm belief that things will get better, the political parties will resolve their differences, and move ahead.

People want the Maoists to reform themselves by giving up threats, violence and weapons and joining peaceful politics. They blame them for obstructing constitution writing and the peace process, but they also showed support for a 'reformed' Maoist party. They reject the 'capture of state power through people revolt' and 'promulgating a constitution from the streets' and less than one per cent of respondents favoured a new Maoist rebellion. The people want to move on, and they have a fairly clear idea of the way ahead.

There is strong support for an inclusive political system and consensual politics. There is overwhelming support for the Maoists, NC and UML working together for peace and prosperity. They reject a revival of the 1990 constitution, dissolution of the CA and presidential rule post-28 May, and don't want to rescind the declaration of the republic.

The survey results blame CA members for the delay in writing the constitution, and take a dim view of the politicisation of the body. Nearly one third of the respondents, most of them educated, blamed the Maoists for the delay. They also found fault with the government for not doing enough, but displayed a lack of trust in the Maoists over the sacking of the army chief last year, the integration of combatants, or the disbanding of the YCL. They are however willing to strongly support the Maoists if they 'change'. Educated, older, Nepalis seem more suspicious about Maoist intentions.

While federalism is yet to be endorsed officially, public opinion is divided on the issue, with mostly educated people for federalism, and more people against ethnic demarcation of provinces. The reason for the scepticism seems to be worries about national integrity: more than three fourths said Nepali nationhood was under threat, and more people in the Tarai than the hills seemed to think so. A surprisingly high proportion of Janjatis, Newars and Madhesis were not supportive of ethnic federalism.

The Nepali people don't trust political leaders, and although respondents favoured Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal they were not ready to give sole responsibility for the new constitution and peace process to him. Baburam Bhattarai also scored well on this count, and this would point to a solid challenge to the 'Prachanda' brand within the Maoist party. The lesson for Dahal may be that the people could be more impressed with intellect and honesty than manipulation and deceit. The fact that all other leaders scored in single digits proves that NC and UML really need to get their act together and revamp the party leadership with fresh, young faces.

The Maoists score well because the psychology of 'we have seen the others, let's try the Maoists' is still at work. People want to see the Maoists join peaceful politics and for the immediate future, there was much more support for a Maoist-led coalition than for Madhav Nepal's coalition. Nepalis are fed up with government neglect, inflation and deteriorating law and order.

The main message from the Nepali people seems to be: we want the Maoists to have responsibility and we want them to act more responsibly. Work together, and no more threats of rebellions.

Proximate breakthrough
Edging closer: - By Dewan Rai
Relief and Despair- Publisher's Note
Letting go - By Prashant Jha
Wanted:leaders - By Krishna Khanal
Television politics - By CK Lal

1. Arthur
"Nearly one third of the respondents, most of them educated, blamed the Maoists for the delay."

Are one sixth of Nepalis educated?

This remark confirms the poll was not a random sample at all.

As usual the article concludes that "the people" want the Maoists to change in various ways.

One doesn't need a poll to know that few hope for anything much from the other parties.

2. Nepali Janta
The majority of the people in Nepal are not concerned about the constitution since they are more worried about how make ends meet. They are more concerned about the security, hopeless water and electricity supply prevailing in the country, jobs, and corruption, crime, commission, bandhs, threats to their lives, extortion and so on. As a layman I am also not very keen in the constitution since I fall in the same category of one who lives from hand to mouth.

3. Sargam
This factoid was meant for slumlords!

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)