Nepali Times
Worth the paper it is written on

It has often been said that the reason for the current political standstill is the trust deficit among the narrow-minded and short-sighted parties.

But it has been clear for some time now that the main obstacle to the peace and constitution project is the Maoist party itself. To be more specific, they are the so-called Baidya faction that wants a "people's revolt", and the even more hardline Ram Bahadur Thapa clique that on Wednesday threatened to take Nepal down the path of a multi-ethnic civil war. Why doesn't the party just split and get it over with?

This week the ultra-left wing of Nepal's extreme leftists once more put a spanner in the works by announcing a series of escalating protests till May. Protest against whom? For what? Mohan Baidya lashed out at Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal for double crossing him. Essentially, Dahal had assured Baidya he would help bring down what both saw as an "anti-nationalist" Baburam Bhattarai government and replace it with one that would push a "revolutionary people's constitution". But when Dahal said this week that the constitution would be drafted in time and hinted that Bhattarai should remain till then, Baidya blew a fuse. It's getting difficult to tell who is stabbing whom in the back within the Maoist party anymore.

Dahal and Bhattarai keep blaming the UML and NC as being the reason for the delays in the constitution. They can't fool all the people all the time that the main obstruction is and have always been the hardliners that they have flirted with time and again to improve their short-term bargaining positions. As for Dahal, this is a man with a single-minded and vaulting ambition to be an executive president, and is willing to do anything, give anything away, threaten anyone, to get his way. Which is why he has suddenly gone soft on ethnic federalism, given in on the rank of Maoists to be inducted into the new directorate, and abandoned just about everything his party fought a ruinous war for.

Most Nepalis don't buy this nonsense anymore. They've heard it all before, and know that the Maoists will blow hot or cold depending on internal party dynamics. The integration of Maoists into the Nepal Army should have been finished by December, and it kept being pushed back because the Maoists kept moving the goalposts. Every time there was an agreement in the Special Committee on the terms of integration, compensation packages, or the composition of the directorate, the Maoists would pull back from already agreed terms. What do they take the rest of the country for, "useful idiots"?

With two months to go for the unextendable constitution deadline, the real issue is that there is no time left to resolve the stumbling blocks in the new constitution on federalism and government. It is unlikely that they can be miraculously resolved in the next few weeks, especially since there has been so much politics played around ethnic federalism and presidential system.

Our humble suggestion would be to start thinking about post-27 May scenarios by readying a national unity government to protect Nepal's national unity from the centrifugal forces threatening it. Then, we can approve a new federal republican constitution that guarantees in its preamble fundamental values like democracy and pluralism, ensures social justice and gives every citizen the right to food, shelter, health care and security. We can shelve the deeply divisive issues for later when there is more stability and Nepal's politicians exhibit more maturity.

After all, there is no point passing a constitution that is hardly worth the paper it is written on. It is a dynamic document that should evolve, and can be changed to suit the times.

Read also:
Contours of a new Nepal

Wrong visit at the wrong time, KUL CHANDRA GAUTAM
The questionable wisdom of Ban Ki-moon's proposed visit to Lumbini

A step back to step forward, ANURAG ACHARYA
There is plenty to be cynical about, but we are inching ahead on peace and constitution

1. R. H. Rijal
The Maoists had actually launched the so-called a decade long 'People's War' not to emancipate the people from ignoraoce, hunger, poverty, illiteracy and unemploiment but for the purpose of money, property and power. Once pauper, they now own

2. KianL

'Our humble suggestion would be to start thinking about post-27 May scenarios by readying a national unity government to protect Nepal's national unity from the centrifugal forces threatening it.' But too late for Nepali Times to be realising this, isn't it after all it was your support for the Maoists that allowed them to come to power.

3. Jaya
I agree with your suggestion that the isssues of federalism and presidential system be set aside to pass a framework constitution to safeguard democracy and the peoples' rights to basic services in May. The poltiics at the moment is just too volatile to fool around with ethnicity and the Maoists' insistence on passing a "people's constitution" which is a euphemism for a North Korea-style system.

4. Bikas Lama

Just admit the total let down by the corrupt political, business and the renowned Civil Society of the great nation of NEPAL.  98 % suffer while 2% live lavishly.  To make things worse, Nepal has known killer like Dahal calling the shots. What a sick joke.  Indians must be celebrating the chaos in Nepal. Dahal has sold his soul to his Indian masters. The Indians are dangling the post of President in front of Dahal. India wants to bust Nepal into hundreds of pieces. Until Nepal learns to fight the Indian agenda, Nepal will always suffer.

On a different note, let the Maoist crumble. They can destroy each other. That will be a good day for Nepal, when all the communist leaders and communist parties are thrown out.       

5. BB

After all King Gyanendra was right. The Maoists were untrustworthy, always. Gyanendra's strategy towards them was the right one. It was groups like Nepali Times, "civil society", most media-houses and of course the political parties who took the wrong strategy of giving the Maoists a chance that they never deserved.

Kunda Dixit shouldn't be passing on the name of "useful idiots" to the rest of the country. It's people like him, who cheered the nefarious '12-point pact' with the Maoists, that are the useful idiots - not all of us!

What should really happen post May 27 is that everything since the King stepped down in 2006 should be dissolved. So-called New Constitution and New Nepal have been exposed for the fake promises that they always were. 1990 Constitution was the best for Nepal. There was no need for new one. 1990 Const should therefore be revived and the Monarchy re-instated. It doesn't require more than a bird-brain to know that constitutional monarchy is far better for Nepal than a 'Banana republic'!

...but then again, who knows what kinds of 'brains' our self-proclaimed "intelligentsia" posess?! If we could rely on their 'brains' we would never have gotten here in the first place!   

6. Sushila Thapa
The Maoist have shown their true intentions and colours by the looting of Treasury, lawlessnes, nepotism, impunity, ignorance. BUT, I think there are also sincere Maoist. This group needs to become more vocal. Dahal is now more like a King, may be he wants to be an Emperor like Ceasar. There will be no Constitution. UML and NC now have the upper hand and they will send the Maoist packing.  Whatever it may be, we need a Peaceful and Progressive Nepal. That should be the bottom line of all.    

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)