Nepali Times
My Take
NC's loss



UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal will most likely be Prime Minister-elect by the time this goes to press. A decision by the Maoist Party to withdraw its candidate, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and vote in favour of Khanal, has made this possible. Of course, the Baburam Bhattarai camp has opposed this decision, but has said it will cast its votes as per the party's decision.

This is not a loss for the Maoists. Dahal is actually having the last laugh. He will now have a pliant and obligated person as prime minister, who will have to make some serious concessions to the Maoist party, and particularly to Dahal. The exact details of the deal between Khanal and Dahal are yet to be made public but rest assured they will be soon.

The biggest loser here is NC. It serves them right. The party establishment led by president Sushil Koirala as well as the rival camp led by Sher Bahadur Deuba could not see beyond their personal considerations. The Koirala faction, in particular, was listening too much to private advice over the past two weeks.

The NC's idea of extracting more from a 'cornered' Maoist party was very much out of sync with reality. The ambitions of its candidate, Ram Chandra Poudel, was also at play here. Poudel's candidacy in the last session of parliament was a deadwood candidacy but it had immense value. He could not win but ensured that the Maoists did not get the post of prime minister without first delivering.

NC's decision not to reciprocate with the Maoist decision to officially hand over their ex-combatants to the government's Special Committee is baffling. There is still the risk that the Maoists will keep control of their army, despite the handover ceremony. But those risks will only increase since NC lost an opportunity to reciprocate by supporting a Maoist-led government and make Dahal deliver on his party's commitment to peace-related agreements. NC still has the best chance to cobble together anti-Maoist forces should the communist party really start moving towards its avowed goal of a 'proletarian state' (read one-party communist rule). But the image NC has of acting at India's behest will put off many non-Maoists. Did the party seriously reflect about the fallout of its decision?

Dahal won't be too happy with NC. The animosity between NC and the Maoists will now be too strong to ignore, affecting constitution-writing. Don't be surprised if the proposed integration of Maoist combatants into government security forces, especially the army, comes across more obstacles. The Nepal Army has started issuing statements to this effect already. These are not good signs for the peace process.

NC may curse UML for not reciprocating its absolute support to its man as prime minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal. Additionally, Khanal will now be beholden to Dahal and will be compelled to make large concessions vis-a-vis the peace process and the constitution. (This is what the Maoist hardliners want; only Dahal's ambition was playing spoilsport here.) NC will not be able to do anything, apart from issuing statements. It will be on the sidelines, unable to force a change in the direction politics will move in after another acrimonious election. Has NC forgotten why we were holding this election in the first place?

An avoidable mistake has been made. A Dahal obliged to NC was a much better prospect for peace and the constitution than an obliged Khanal to the Maoist party. NC has lost a very good opportunity.

Can the party still salvage the situation? It all depends on how much it is willing to reach out to Dahal and his party as well how much it cooperates with the Khanal government.

Presidential poise, PRASHANT JHA

1. who cares
jhallu ram may be from uml, but many take he as agent of maoist/puspa.

so, i think the deed of this govt will effect maoist too.

here jhallu ram may have become pm, but i think his other gang member could loose their political future.

the only way this could help jhallu ram and gang is if they had concrete agreement with maosit to conclude peace process and constitution drafting- way acceptable to others too. ........... but if that was the case then why maoist did not accept the reality infront of others too.....   something is not right!

may be maoist is planning to go for the revolt hoping that their agent jhallu ram would cooperate and wont be using force to crack down on their coherence, threat, looting, violence etc during the revolt/fourth people's movement. . ....         ......    .... but they dont realize that such situation will legitimize coup.

now democratic forces should keep their head cool, nc should closely work with madhav/oli gang and other democrats.......... and all democrats should now need to make plans to deal with the situation- what should they do or how to tackle the situation when maoist tryes to capture nepal while jhallu ram does nothing or too little? this should be the first responsibility of democrats now.


2. K. K. Sharma

Given by itself, NC is a no-force. Given India, it is a force. By themselves, the NC wallaha have not brains. Given  Indian directions, they are brilliant.
So do not minimize this Indo-servile party.

3. hange
who cares, i think you may be over thinking the situation.  This is what happened, plain and simple:  Dahal wanted power.  With Gachhadar joining the fray, he knew he couldn't win.  Therefore, he figured it would be best to support another candidate so that the new PM would be obligated to the Maoists.

Now that Khanal has won, he is indebted to Dahal.  Therefore, Dahal and his cohorts will get some prime positions in the new government.  This is what it's all about: maneuvering in a manner such that you and your supporters get power and money.  The Maoists don't want another revolution.  Did you read the article on Shaktikhor?  Their fighters have all started families and want to make a life for themselves.  The rank and file have finally seen the light-: they were used by the Maoist party leaders to get money and power.  Again, it's all about money and power: not constitution, not equality, not government structure.

4. who cares
3: hange,

hope you are right..... but we have to be cautious....  if you are right then nepal will suffer and maoist and uml, especially jhallu ram gang will suffer too.

we need to consider that- if they forcefully bring people and extort just like they did during third people's movement- ....... the jhallu ram in pm's post will make it too easy ....... and then only army will be able to save us since we all know that nc and uml have no fire power to fight maoist. ....... they will not be able to capture but this could crate lot of suffering. 

i hope i am wrong, but deep inside me i also want to be right, cause i want major shake up in nepal.

uml, maoist joining hand will create pressure on nc... now if nc do not change- do not sideline corrupts like koiralas, and shere bahadur -who will do anything for power.             ...... and if uml, maoist will do what media said this morning- their 6-7 point agreement...... since, we all know that maoist have no other option but to implement past agreement, constitution drafting and peace process... they could get public support.

and it will be possible for maoist to capture in longer term if uml and maoist join hand. 


5. who cares
i always knew that only uml can prevent jhallu ram from becoming pm. 

we all know that jhallu ram is the weakest pm, so this could work the both way. ... ie. he is going to be weak to maoist too who wont be able to deliver his part of the agreement.        ........ maosit brought down their own govt... will they spear jhallu ram?

how long could this govt. run? which one will be the one who will bring down this govt.- maosit or uml? which one will loose their patience first- maoist or uml? if jhallu ram could not deliver- maoist will go against him, if jhallur ram could not progress on peace, constitution then uml will pull his plug. 

even though, maoist want to capture, but still we can press them to draft constitution and end peace process just like during previous govt. - pla coming under SC, surrendering third people's movement. 

this time pressure works in this way-

*since, constitution drafting and peace process is the only way for maoist. so we have to convince or pressure them that they will never get this kind of opportunity to conclude past agreements and constitution drafting....... previous govt was tough for them and next govt. will be hell for them. 

* key here is uml, we all know, either jhallu ram is part of the conspiracy of maoist to realise their ill intention or jhallu ram is too greedy and dumb.... both way, he can not be trusted.

so here, uml has to caution jhallu ram that he should not cross the limit of helping maosit to capture just like he did during general's sacking case.  .. or uml should forcefully pull him out of the govt.

i think i am gonna take this govt. positively- either it will be good or it will be bad.

- if there is peace and constitution- it will be positive if not then this is going to be the end of jhallu ram gang which will be good for nepal. ...... there will be pressure on nc to come clean- nc needs to sideline koirals and sher bahadur... otherwise... if uml/maoist join hand and people support them, it will be the end of nc.

to solve pla problem, there can be fifth force comprising 3k pla+ 2k from security (15yr exp, slc pass)........ slowly phase them out and when the no come down to 3k, merge them in other force. ...... we can have fifth force who will be collecting garbage. 

There has got to be army backed rule after the 14th.

6. Ghue Chaku Naran
It is high time for parties to split. Nepali Congress should get rid of their dead wood leaders; they have out-lived their utilities, namely Koirala, Deupa , Sujata and their cronies. Let the new generation revolt and take over for new generarion.s sake.  Let them realign as Liberal Democrats.
 UMl also must split; the Khanal faction and the Oli-Madhav faction for clean politics sake. No use way-laiding the electorate with fake Communist title. Let them follow tyhe Euro-Communists  example by now and form a Social Democratic Party.
 Tyhe Maoists also should split and the Ultras and the Moderates should devide and ,let people make their choice to follow one or the other as per their choice.
 The Madhesi parties should join the main stream as a  national  party ,not remain only regional as we are all Nepalese. Let bygone be bygone.
 Let all contribute for rebuilding Nepaland not waste our energy in squabbles.

7. Bhaicha
NC will  very soon meet the fate of the Praja Parishad if they do not realign now.  The party is headed by the DEAD -WOODSlike Sushil Koirala or Deuba.   Party ko nasla sudhar nai garnu pardachha natra loktrantrako nai binas huna sakta chha. They are living in an age which has nothing to do with the present, changed situation in the world. They have out-lived their utility.
The young Turks in the party must take over. Look at the West, U.K. for example ,where young leaders like Cameron or Millihand run the parties. Why can,t the party guided by Westminister System follow the same system. Is it only  lip service?  Walk the talk. Practice what you preach.   No room for wild animals!  No more jungli way. World has moved a long way.We want new bloods , even Gagan Thapa can lead the party better way; why not he lead/ The elders can follow him as in UK.

8. Arthur
"Can the [Congress] party still salvage the situation? It all depends on how much it is willing to reach out to Dahal and his party as well how much it cooperates with the Khanal government."

In other words "No, Congress cannot save itself, because it cannot reach out to anyone at all".

The more interesting question is can Congress, together with India, the NA and that wing of the UMLs and some Madheshi parties still block completion of the peace agreement by democratization of the NA and integration of the two armies and can they still prevent adoption of a democratic constitution?

In Egypt and the rest of North Africa and the Arab world more or less disguised military rule has maintained stagnation for many decades. In sub-saharan Africa it is even worse - similar living standards to Nepal.

Check the news from Egypt and you will see  that such regimes are already becoming impossible even though they were backed by the USA which was far more powerful than India. Any attempt at military rule in Nepal would result in a lot of destruction, but could not last a year, let alone a decade.

9. kamal kishor
The secret agreement between Khanal and Dahal reveals the unholy alliance of these two personalities. The hunger for power is the bottom line. This alliance will lead Nepal to Zimbabwe. This agreement is a slap to UML as most of the UML leaders seems to have been kept in dark.

This agreement is a victory for NC. It is the only party so far continuing on a logical path but on a democratic one. At this junction, NC seems to be the only party that as played a fair game. Poudel candidacy was looked as anti-democratic but it produced the agreement on combatant.

This agreement leads Nepal to bitter division of politics into left and right which so far Nepal's government had tried to avoid. This is a very serious breach of confidence and democratic principles of UML by Khanal. I am not sure now about the claim that Khanal with the blessing of Dahal is not trying to split UML and Khanal and Dahal are trying to create a majority of leftists in Nepal.

It is a very sad day for Nepal.

10. Anonymous

 The  limus test for the GOP - Is NC seriuosly committed in principle to the fundamental tenets of Republican Democracy? Perhaps, it is relevant to quote B P Koirala at this juncture--"true democracy needs credible opposition". Sooner or later, the NC has to define clearly whether and where it stands in for republicanism, federalism, inclusive democracy, protecting the rights of the historically marginalized, and national security. The question is --Can the GOP secure the position of a responsible opposition, for there is no dearth of contenders for the position. The blame game is over, he/she who can DELIVER to the people will win their hearts. No more room for the half-hearted...

11. Nirmal
Still fellow intellectuals like Damakant has time to catch the train of modernity. I wish he does it diligently not that he will do it some day in future, that's why with your permission I utilise the expression "catch the train of modernity". Firstly, because his repeated insistence that the NC should do something type now sounds futile story of making the soup out of the stone. Secondly, he is asking something that it is beyond these old boys' capacity. Lastly, for the sake of public opinion to match with the write ups served, he needs to catch the train of modernity BECAUSE still you have time to rally people with their real conditions on their aspirations to their right to a better life than involving yourself on the sort of race to become one more elite between many found in the current market.

Perhaps, it is time for many(including you) to honestly admit that Nepal be what her people decides it should be and not what a gang of four thinks it ought to be. My conscience says the following Damakant: where I could be remained as a spectator there I must be responsible.  That's why for me(and i can't speak for everybody)there is no choice between:responsibility or cinism. Or being with those who risk their lives for freedom or being complices of a corrupt, criminal and hypocrite system. You choose, without doubt! Albeit, the train starts the journey punctual, doesn't it ladies and gentlemen?

Comment to Arthur: I'm happy to hear that you are taking stock of Egypt's on going revolt. But your comparation of Mubarak and his brethens with nepali elites and the NC made me doubt on the credibility of your information sources. It's true that he is an Arabian Pharaoh but with upper case and even your comrades will need thirty more years(if they start working to that direction, from now on) to count as many men as he has in Egypt and worldwide. Although it is another thing that he's going to be the history, it doesn't suit you to have these kinds of comparation having appeared here as the Maoist's only one good English speaking budhijibi(intellecual in English).

P.S. And please Damakant, now don't get dramatic with the so called secret deal between JNK faction and the Maoists in your next write up. If these parties struck the 12 point deal in foreign land and that they have had hundreds of such deals previously with TOM DICK HARRY why can't these two men having the legitimate majority in their hand can't do the same? Yeah you can complain(read it contribute with your words) that it was not transparent and so on. But who do you think they are? These are the same lots of communists (or even worst) who grumble about something that they pathetically follow in their daily lives.

12. jange
Khanal and Dahal have proved themselves to be ghiu bechuwa and tarbar bechuwa. 

Now the only interesting point is the question of which is which.

The unanswered question is whether this agreement (if it is a real agreement) is between two persons or between two political parties.

I wouldn't be surprised if at some point both of them will say there never was such an agreement and it was all a forgery or dream or conspiracy by counter revolutionaries or blame it on Gyanendra or India  or China or their mother-in-laws.

13. Paude
hi writer and commenter
NC loose nothing , they are reaping what ever planted in last 60 years.

14. who cares
12 jange,

jhallu ram and puspa are two biggest liars and deceptive individuals, 

this is simply perfect, just wait for the another tamasa. 

one will be fooling another. 

action of jhallu ram will depend upon the pressure, if pressure is higher from uml, he will be inclining towards uml and if greater from maoist, he will be fooling people.

do yoiu remember general khadka? just compare... the facial expression, body language of jhallu ram and khadka are too similar.

and in the both cases, maoist offered post and in return want them to create a situation for coup. 

what amazes me is, both jhallu ram and khadka are friends and taught by the same teacher. 

15. never mind
Arthur, just because you don't know, doesn't mean you have to take it out on everybody else.

Egypt came under the present military dispensation to protect Socialism. 

Between 1952 to 1966,  industrialization was established and led by the public sector in heavy industries such as iron and steel and chemical industries. Nationalization reduced the relative importance of the private sector. It was a result of the 1967 defeat that the US had a bigger role. And only after '91 and the end of soviet proxy support that there were real reforms which brought a semblance of prosperity to the society.

Like all scoialists, the purpose of the present government is essentially to survive and loot. It naturally started with the objective of finding the socialist man.

16. Sargam
It eventually reminds me the blind man's buff where the author and the Co-Op  writers are groping with their hands to seek the person in question.

The NC is as it is but mind out we have nothing better in the kitty. The alternative is either Maoists's rule with the connivance of the UML or havoc wreaked by the opportunists.

You got a choice to make!

17. Arthur
Nirmal #11, I agree that the current elites in Nepal is not similar to Mubarek's in Egypt.

What I intended to suggest in #8 was that their goal of preventing democratization of the army and integration of the two armies could only succeed through becoming that sort of military dictatorship, and this would be a failure like in Egypt (and elsewhere).

Imagine the situation in Egypt if there was a PLA there! Mubarek would not have dared to kill several hundred people and hurt more than 1,000 before leaving!

never mind #15, your comment should be directed as such "socialists" as the Congress and "communists" of the UMLs. Their hope is to become billionaries through corruption and looting, like Mubarak.

18. Nirmal
Arthur come oooon, you with your rhetoric of PLA's strength. Can't you see that Egyptian opposition has so far managed the sea of mass, without being armed? Can't you see that what seemed impossible with nearly two decades of civil(dirty war for me)to achieve was done with 45 days of mass uprising in 2006? Can't you see that with PLA being intact, the Maoists will arrive nowhere? Can't you see that in 21st century guns have been replaced by votes?

Arthur, you are free to compare and interpret whatever it comes out of your mind. But unless the Maoist remains a party with Army, they deserve to be treated as a rebel party negotiating for their final abandoning of armed struggle. They still need to declare it officially. Then they can speak of democracy but ill then there is no alternative to fight the Maoists peacefully.

19. Arthur
Nirmal #18, Mubarek ruled for 30 years because he had the support of Army, not because of votes.

Unless NA is democratized Nepal, like countries at similar level in Africa will be faced with the same corrupt army rule. PLA is the force that fights against this.

PS This article is not linked from front page. We should continue discussion on one of this week's articles, not here.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)