Nepali Times
By The Way
Between laughter and forgetting


The year 2011 will probably go down as the most forgettable year in recent Nepali history. We changed a few prime ministers, but nothing happened. We sat around wasting time.

For the last three years, people have been looking forward to a new year with hope and enthusiasm. Unless something really dramatic happens, 2012 is not going to be an exception. Here are some admittedly cynical predictions:

Those who support the Supreme Court's decision not to extend the CA beyond 31 May will most likely be disappointed. We have wasted precious two years making and breaking governments. From the short lived romance between the Maoists and the NC in 2008 to the 16 months wasted under the UML-NC and Maoist-UDMF coalitions successive governments came to power riding high on expectations, but descended into dystopia.

We in the media try to look for silver linings, doing the best we can to keep public faith in the institution of politics alive. But if the work and word of those at the center stage are not consistent, what we say hardly matters.

The chairman of the constitutional committee, Nilambar Acharya, is worried that the parties are backtracking on issues they have collectively agreed to in the dispute resolution sub-committee. "The parties know they don't have any other option but to compromise if they want the constitution in time, but other factors are getting in the way," he told me this week. As long as the peace process is incomplete, he says, it will impinge upon statute writing.

The only thing that stands between the peace process and constitution drafting today is one man's ambition: Pushpa Kamal Dahal. The future of Nepali politics is being held hostage by one man's ego and insecurity.

Dahal has been the commander of the PLA for over a decade and no matter what stage of integration it is in, he will command its loyalty. It is this feeling that has kept Dahal secure so far. The nightmare of an uncertain political future which lies beyond integration is giving Dahal sleepless nights. However, the Maoist Chairman knows there is no turning back and even the incentive to delay the peace process will eventually run out.

His latest political document presented to the Central Committee this week is aimed not just at the mutineers within his own party but also to the political opposition and the international community regarding his commitment to peace and constitution.

Down south, New Delhi knows things have changed and it needs to change too. It will have to do all it can to send positive signals and salvage whatever influence it can in Kathmandu. The Chinese don't have much to complain about. Their influence in Kathmandu has remained consistent no matter what conspiracy theory does rounds in Kathmandu. They just don't want Kathmandu datelined Tibetan protests to be grabbning international headlines.

After Baburam Bhattarai returned from New Delhi in October, the integration process gained momentum and the State Restructuring Committee took final shape. This was an encouraging sign. But with the way NC went around calling for immediate change in the government, the debate was once again diverted away from peace and constitution. The NC leaders may now give statements in support of the Baburam government, even indicate they might join it, but the Maoists have moved on.

There is no reason not to be hopeful about the coming year. After all, politics is the art of the possible. For now, like the famous Chinese curse, 2012 looks like an "interesting" year.

Read also:
The last straw, RUBEENA MAHATO
No good can come out of dragging the judiciary into the political mud

1. who cares
why be disappointed? what i want is all the doors to be closed in extending CA term. majority are against it, law was always against it, now SC has joined the club?

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)