The main points once again
Before we get into the nitty gritty of what is really happening in the country this week, let us look at the main points of the news.
Ex-Financial Minister Mahat is voted the Best ex-Finance Minister in Asia and the World 2015 by The Banker. Don’t know quite how that works, if he is the best ex-finance minister in the world, isn’t he already automatically the best finance minister in Asia? And who is the Best Finance Minister Dead or Alive that Nepal Has Ever Had? Just so there is no ambiguity, The Banker should also confer Mr Mahat the additional award of Best Finance Minister in the Known Universe so we have it written in stone that there is none other like him.
Mumbo Jumbo Cabinet
Just when you thought the jumbo cabinet could not get any bigger comes news that the Oli-garchy is crowd-sourcing the government with another expansion to save itself from oblivion. Here is a prime minister who can thumb his nose at the leader of the world’s second most populous nation, but he is so scared that the two-member (Sangh) Parivar Party will pull the rug from under his coalition that he inducts the Family Federation for World Peace and Unificationism of the Holy Spirit Association of World Christianity of Sun Myung Moon into the government as State Minister for Inner Peace and Tranquility. To make way for more ministers, however, even the Moonie Ministry will be divided into the Ministry of Sodom and the Ministry of Gommorah. By the end of this month, the Cabinet will be so large that the weekly meetings of the Council of Ministers will be held at the National Stadium.
North or South?
A deep throat in GONe speaking off the record because he did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, but whose identity I can only reveal to you, dear reader, on condition that you keep it a topmost secret, and he is none other than press adviser at the PMO Mr Pramod Dahal, who has revealed that the Right Honourable Prime Minister is at the moment feeling like a sweet potato ensconced between two boulders and in the horns of a dilemma about whether to go to New Delhi first, or Beijing. China invited him first, so he is inclined to go there before he goes to India, but if he does that New Delhi may once more throw a tantrum and not lift the blockade till the second half of this century. #Whattodo? As usual in these matters, a compromise can be found acceptable to all parties, so the Donkey’s suggestion is that Oli, Modi and Xi all meet together in a neutral venue equidistant from Beijing and Delhi, like the International Space Station.
Blockade to continue
Wherever KPO goes first, the unofficial blockade is expected to officially continue till the unforeseeable future, according to unusually unreliable sources. They confirm that just as in 1989, the blockade will only be lifted after there is regime change in Kathmandu. Which means the Primate Minister has to either be reincarnated in his next life as a fruit bat, or he has to step down, whichever comes first. PKD and the Kangresis seem to have got the message and are already manoeuvring not to let KPO continue beyond 29 February (yes it’s a Big Leap Forward Year), bring the Madhesi parties into the fold and set up a government of national unity to go for early elections. PKD usually goes to BKK or KL to meet handlers, and that is where he is now awaiting further instructions.
Everyone thought that after the Raxaul Mess that was feeding 1,000 Nepali agitators two square meals a day was closed, the blockade would be lifted. Then we thought it would be lifted after Sushma Aunty said the border would be open in a week, God willing. Don’t know which God she was referring to, but it doesn’t look like He was very willing. Then we thought the the border would open after Foreigner Minister Kamal Thapa shook hands with Abhay Thakuri, but no such luck. The only conclusion the Ass can come to is that that India’s chokehold will continue for two reasons: too much money is being made from smuggling diesel and gas by too many people on both sides of the border, and second, there is such intense competition in Kathmandu and New Delhi to take credit for lifting the blockade that the political forces all cancel each other out. NaMo wants to project himself as the one who brought the feuding Nepali sides together so he can be seen as the saviour, and the one to lift a blockade that he himself was responsible for imposing. Here in Kathmandu KPO wants to deflect blame from the prolonged shortages by going to Delhi and having the blockade lifted. The Kangresis want the blockade to continue and be lifted only when they get back to power. The blockade is the best thing that happened for the royal-right ultra-nationalists because now they don’t have to work very hard to make Nepalis hate India. Everyone benefits from this siege, so why lift it?
And now for some International News.
North Korea has exploded a nuclear device, but we don’t know whether it was an Atomic Bomb, a Hydrogen Bomb or a Stink Bomb.