Nepali Times
My Take
What is the NC waiting for?


Will the Nepali Congress squander the gains made so far regarding the peace process? Or will it come across as a poor copy of the UML by trying various means to prevent a Maoist-led government?

Though the possibility of a consensus government under the Maoists has not been completely ruled out until presstime Thursday noon, the roadblocks from the NC and UML remain. The Maoists have finally delivered on their commitment to bring its army under a government-led Special Committee. The risks of the party backtracking (thanks to its history over honouring commitments) and the vacating of cantonments by Maoist ex-combatants not happening are great. But this should not prevent the non-Maoist parties from taking reciprocal action.

The likes of Shekhar Koirala understand what is at stake. He is among those advocating a Maoist-led government provided it makes true its peace-related promises. But some of his own partymen (the so-called hardline faction espousing the no-Maoist-led-government-at-all line) are working behind scenes to not let this happen.

The NC has made all the right moves except making a big mistake over its choice of ministers to represent the party in the UML-led government, thus paralysing itself from day one. Apart from this, the NC stood behind Madhav Kumar Nepal as prime minister through thick and thin even when his own party chairman, Jhala Nath Khanal, did not support him. The Maoists and their apologists tried everything in their arsenal, blowing the trumpet of civilian supremacy over its failed attempt to dismiss the army chief, characterising the government as a bunch of losers (without mentioning Maoist choice for president, Ram Raja Prasad Singh and UML leader Bam Dev Gautam's election status), a disastrous five-day nation-wide strike, and disruptions of parliamentary proceedings including the passage of the annual government budget. It also called the Maoists' bluff on another extension for UNMIN despite pressure from some European embassies. The NC also refused to withdraw the candidacy of Ram Chandra Poudel unless the Maoists relented.

There's truth in Dahal's allegation that India does not want a Maoist-led government unless he and his party bowed to its diktats. The NC did a commendable job in not succumbing to pressure from doomsayers who said the sky would fall if UNMIN left now (we must thank US ambassador Scott H DeLisi for saying just the opposite). The party now needs to withstand pressure from India. It is in India's interests to thwart a Maoist-led government, not ours.

And now when the Maoists have delivered, in part, their side of the deal, the NC is unwilling to play its part. UML chief Khanal will do and say anything to prevent any government which does not have him as prime minister. But why does the NC have to compete with him in obduracy?

During the discussions at the Gokarna Resort on Tuesday, the Maoists objected to the NC and the UML trying to link government formation with the peace process, insisting the two are separate. They are not. The whole idea behind having a new, consensus, government is to complete the remaining tasks of the peace process and finalising the constitution. That was the argument of Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Khanal when they worked together to force PM Nepal's resignation as prime minister. Nepal commanded a majority in the parliament and still does. He had resigned to break the deadlock.

The deadline for consensus government is over, but its possibility has not ended. The NC and the UML can, and should, choose not to field any candidate in the election for prime minister in the parliament. Let Dahal lead the government, with important ministries like defence, finance and home going to non-Maoist parties, including Madhes-based ones.

Not making the maximum use of the latest Maoist step (coupled with the ex-combatants' desire to leave the cantonments to integrate into security forces or rehabilitate into society) will be a huge loss. And the NC will have to shoulder the most of the blame.

The slap that shook Nepal, ASHUTOSH TIWARI

1. K. K. Sharma

Attributing actions or inactions to NC, is like attributing actions or inactions to a puppet. Puppets are not the doers, the string pullers are.

2. Nirmal


 The NC has made all the right moves except making a big mistake over its choice of ministers to represent the party in the UML-led government, thus paralysing itself from day one.

 sounds somebody motivating his depressed child, Damakant's suggestion that the NC should do something beyond its existing capacity(paralyse) deserves a proper attention (as God prefers, with an approach slightly "non-mainstream"). As owing to this concrete dysfunctional performance of the NC the traditional centres of power of the Nation has been dismantled giving place to the situation clearly obsolete now. But in politics, Damakant, no one is imprescindible for long even less eternally. Not because I say this, it is because politics is like this. The politics changes so the actors though you don't see it or are not ready to see it. let's see how:

 1. There is a new central political space in Nepal. 2.Has been forged over the last three ZERO result years. 3. No one has occupied it yet. Previous statements deserve, by draft, some explanations. I�ll try to be brief and clear. Define the new political space, with the first statement which might be its greatest founding: "disenchanted but credible and clean faces of the Maoists, NC and the UML, between the Madhesi parties and Janjaati." May seem small, but it means a lot.

  Second claim: that space began to be forged from the day when CA elections took place. Most were enthusiastic about the prospects of social aspirations and this explains the non-Maoists electoral romp. Whereas, both fronts -the Maoists and non-maoists- have disappointed this authentic mainstream. Not because of this, this space is going to cease to exist, to be central and crucial.

  Up to here, in outline, the parameters of the new space. I�m on the third claim now, that this space is an orphan of any party. Neither the Maoists, the NC nor the UML may represent it without undergoing radical changes although maybe everyone of them would like to have it, and most of all, the Maoists whose desperation while making alliances is omnipresent. Because, it will not be done without changes on a scale that today, is not at their fingertips. Let's look at a detail.

  The Maoists can not, though it tried much to widen the centrality with their theme �Unite all progressist, Nationalist and Leftist�, since it can not meet the first condition. That is, for the Maoists, there is a choice of dilemma between the mother party and 21st century i.e. what polls say and what party interprets. Because what polls say is that it is far from majority, and if possible their adversary, playing the rules of the game will always make them be away from the majority. ONLY someone wanting to create confusion may argue that the space already belongs to the Maoists and they�ve also occupied it, with the vagueness of a single soul- at the same time communist and reactionary, completely contradictory double ideological line. Well, no kamred sirs, NO, you can not lead the mainstream politics. Some theorists of the Maoists, not devoid of insight, argue for the Maoists to move into that space. You can not do that without letting the childish target of old communist ideals. In the new space there could be fit everyone. Even peaceful Madhesis, not dominated by anxiety, moral and political corruption and violence (and there are, there are, although it seems complicated).

 The NC, to be the mainstream in true sense now, has to keep betting(as always) on the transformation of the country in which people are comfortable, but with a bet that it is not going to be a drill servile and compliant. Future models of both the Maoists and non Maoists are not compatible with the needs of the people and the time. One of the evils, thanks to the immobility of the NC, that it is expected to condemn the political debate polarised between communists and status-quoits. The Maoists drift toward fundamentalist communism is open and somehow unstoppable seeing the current dynamic of the party. You have to be pretty optimistic to anticipate a satisfactory stop of the Maoists political journey in any intermediate station with the shared communism. NO WAY!

If a guardian was to be found for this political space that I am talking about, it would have far reaching consequences ladies and gentlemen. Inside the country, wide consensus will be forged in self-governance. Consensus, collaboration, but also competition. Who occupies that space can be a real alternative and/or challenge to any Government. Meanwhile, the Maoists will show signs of fraustration for being alone without knowing their exact point of gravity, with lack of stimulations and incentive, tempted to the comfort of starvation. The Maoists are likely to pay a high price for it. The other consequence, in this case, would be increased youth force in future parliaments. Thus, the NC should redefine its concept of Nepal and governing Nepal if they do not want to continue installing the Maoists in power at their own faults.

3. Ram B. Chhetri
Damakanta's analytical power at its best.The suggestions put forward by him deserve due attention.However,he is telling the dogs to leave the bones alone !Not done in New Nepal.NC as a party has been fractured,and discredited mainly due to its most corrupt leaders and scums like Dhundi Raj Shastri,to name just one.Apart from the Maoists,there needs to be an alternative force/read party.Only time will tell.

4. Ram B. Chhetri
The need of the day is more Karima Begums and Devi Prasad Regmis who should be let loose upon the  most corrupt and immoral creeps of the lowest order !The so -called leaders  stink to high heaven.Behold !Pay heed to what Damakanta has been saying for the sake of the nation.Idiots !

5. Chetna Kunwar

Great penmanship Damakantjee, but why would NC lead the Government?

NC has failed everything historically! Remember 1990 how did Girigja or Gija dictate the country? What did he do in 2001 after the Royal Family were killed? Not even a minute of silence taken by the Parlyament? History will tell how defunct Girija was? After the India trip he was the one who sold the whole political deal to India in the famous 12 point agreements with the Maoists' in New Delhi Durbar, later his dream of becoming the first President was crushed by the Maoists'. So what to expect from the party like these people have?

If Subash Newang have any goodwll to the country he should take the country to election as soon as possible.

6. Arthur
I must admit that I am surprised by this article. It refutes my impression that the author would never say anything that was either interesting or critical of the anti-maoist parties and especially the Congress.

Congratulations on proving me wrong!

I am paying more attention to Egypt than to Nepal this week.

I hope Nepalis are also paying attention to Egypt.

If one wants to understand why Congress is making such mistakes and the consequences, it is helpful to understand why the Egyptian elite supporters of Hosni Mubarak also tried to ignore reality and the consequences of that.

7. rishav
Reply #6

I hope you do continue to pay more attention " to Egypt than to Nepal" and not just for the week. You see foreigners like you can so easily switch your interests between different countries and then write your usual B.S. blah, blah on it. But us Nepali's have only our dedication for our own country so we won't be paying more attention to egypt than Nepal.

I hope you, dodgy Foreigner, are paying attention when us Nepali's tell you that your views are rubbish and to get lost

Yes what's happening in Egypt, street uprising by the people, reminds me of the time when us Nepali people showed our defieance of the Maoist indefinite Badh and successfully counter marched on mass. That was true people's power shown that day, never again will the Maoist hold us Nepali people to ransom like that.

Let the events in Egypt also be a lesson to the Maoists, that they can only force or rig elections for only so long, before the people will uprise against injustice.

Knocked you out again Arthie. Don't get up now, stay out for the count and go bother some Egyptians instead with your views.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)