Bhuwan Sharma: Check Mate Say Maoists
Check Mate Say Maoists
By Bhuwan Sharma
The SPA is still riding the high on the people's revolution that brought them back in power which seemed impossible only a few months back. Of course, it has also caused a mass delusion among the seven party leaders that the general people are still backing them on their promises of a prosperous Nepali future.
What needs to be realized is that the SPA's agitations which could not go any further than Ratna Park and a few other places inside the valley for the last couple of years suddenly sprang to life after the twelve-point agreement between them and the Maoists. It was only on the 6 th of April that the agitation started taking shape of the revolution that eventually achieved the impossible feat of reinstatement of parliament. The revolution was heavily infested with Maoists which defied all the characteristics shown by previous agitations.
Now that the SPA are in power and back in parliament they have expressed their honest commitments towards the twelve-point agreement that was initiated by the communist parties among the SPA. Proposal for an election to a constituent assembly has already been submitted and approved by the House of Representatives. The government has also invited the Maoists to the negotiation table and the invitation has been accepted as well. This has also raised a lot of hope amongst the general people of Nepal for a peaceful and productive future ahead. However, this is only the beginning and the outcome of the future interactions will solely depend on the sincerity of the leaders towards their motherland and not their personal gains. The Maoists have already sent a strong message to the SPA by a group of protesters physically assaulting a MP and forcing their way into the Singha Daurbar.
If talk fails: This is not an option at all because the SPA has already announced time and again to the whole world that they are incapable of defeating the Maoist militarily. They, including the international community have repeatedly claimed that there is no military solution to the Maoist problem. This also limits the option of the government as they would have make the negotiations with the Maoists successful at any cost where as, the Maoists have a lot of option and can choose to go back to the jungle whenever they may feel like it. "There is no military solution to the Maoist problem" also implies that the Maoists will never lose their war as well.
If talk succeeds: Successful negotiation with the Maoists does not imply that all the problems will be solved because of it. I believe that its success will only aid in the formation of the interim government that will lead Nepal to an election to a constituent assembly. A lot of media and politicians are misleading the general Nepalis by claiming that the Maoists have accepted the universal values of democracy and are willing to compete in the multiparty democracy after the assembly forms a new constitution. What the Maoists have said instead is that they will accept the verdict of the people (election to a constituent assembly) even if a democratic constitution is elected. Hence, they have asked for an unconditional election to a constituent assembly. However, the twelve-point agreement also suggests that the Maoists have agreed to surrender their arms to a neutral party only during the period of the assembly which leaves enough room for the suspicion to grow that if they do not get their desired result in the assembly, they will take up arms again.
Interim government: Talks of bringing the RNA under the House of Representatives has already started. If RNA is put under, let's say Defense Ministry, should we be surprised if the Maoists want Defense Ministry for themselves when they form an interim government? Will the present government have the strength or dignity to tell the Maoists what ministries they can and cannot have? I believe that the Maoists' negotiating prowess will be further strengthen by the fact that the government will have both Jhalanath Khanal and Bam Dev Gautam (CPN-UML) on their side but advocating for the cause of the Maoists. After all, these two leaders staged a hunger strike in India for a Maoist leader captured in India. With no real account of weapons possessed by the Maoists and the Maoists themselves in control of the present RNA, only a fool would expect the election to be free and fair or the result to be against the interest of the Maoists. It seems now the Maoists have the SPA's throat in its tight grip.
Although the situation is fragile and difficult, the SPA leaders can get the Nepali people out of this mire (even though it was them who got us into this) if they can show some statesmanship and determination. However, the first few weeks of the SPA in power has created a déjà vu feeling in most of the Nepali people. Although they have claimed they have learnt from their mistakes over and over again, it seems not. They have forgiven themselves of all crimes (including corruption) by accepting all their past mistakes and claiming that they will not repeat them again. They have even forgiven the Maoists for all the killings and atrocities bestowed onto Nepalis the SPA claim to represent. The other thing they have done it seems is attack the anti-corruption institute established by the King and dissolved by the Supreme Court. They are going to prosecute honest civil servants who worked as directed by the government of that particular time. They are also using this as a warning and as an example to discourage any one or any institution which may think about prosecuting them on corruption charges. The Maoists it seems have only one thing to say to the SPA and that is; "You can do this the easy way or you can do this the hard way, the choice is yours