Sujata Koirala and Monarchy
Sujata Koirala and Monarchy
By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar
On Saturday, November 17, 2007, speaking at an interaction event held at the Reporters Club, Kathmandu, central leader of Nepali Congress (NC) and daughter of the NC President and Prime Minister Girija Prsad Koirala, Sujata Koirala said that the Constitution of Nepal of 1990 should be revived to resolve the current problems faced by the country.
Implications of the Sujata Koirala’s statement were clearly putting off the election for a constituent assembly (CA) forever, reviving the almost dead monarchy, changing the Government of Nepal into ‘His Majesty’ Government of Nepal’, making the king supreme commander of the Nepali Army, bringing back the use of the discarded government seal with the crown and the redundant national anthem and bringing many more things into life again.
Sujata Koirala’s statement of the need for reviving the constitution of Nepal of 1990 was clearly for giving a new life to the almost dead monarchy. Thus, Sujata Koirala has come out openly to save the monarchy assisting her father and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in bringing his dream of reviving the monarchy to a reality.
Voting against the resolution number one such as setting a date for CA polls and initiating a process for declaring Nepal a republic in the special session of the Interim Legislature, NC legislators including Sujata Koirala killed two birds by a single bullet. The NC legislators were against setting the date for the election for a CA meant indirectly saving the monarchy and even against initiating a process for declaring Nepal a republic meant directly saving the monarchy. Not voting for setting a date for the election for a CA, NC legislators had proved the Prime Minister Koirala’s commitment to hold election for a CA was a mere pretension.
Allegedly corrupt former minister and president of Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N) Rabindranath Sharma and the people engaged in save-the-king campaign would be very jealous of Sujata Koirala and her party as they would not have much work to do if one of the largest political party NC and its leaders were already taken up the save-the-king campaign. They would either need to join the Sujata Koirala’s party NC or fade away in oblivion. They would not be able to claim for the favor of the monarch.
If the constitution of Nepal of 1990 would come back to life then the king would be free from suspension, and the Nepalese people would be suspended from being the sovereign. The government would be ‘His Majesty’s Government’. Nepalis would be again not the citizens but the king would rule over them. Certainly, Sujata Koirala would have a chance to be nominated as the first woman Prime Minister of Nepal by His Majesty the King. What a far-sightedness of Sujata Koirala to the backward looking course.
Whatever the seven-party alliance (SPA) and the Communist party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) government had done so far would be strike out at the moment of the revival of the Constitution of Nepal of 1990. It would come as a great blow to the politicians who have been boasting of doing so many things after the April Movement of 2006.
It would prove that changing ‘His Majesty’s Government of Nepal’ into the Government of Nepal, discarding the seal of His Majesty’s Government of Nepal, suspending the use of the national anthem that eulogized the king, introducing a new national anthem, removing the portrait of the king from the Nepalese banknotes, transferring the ownership of historical palaces from the king to the government trust and many more things were only the paper works.
It would also prove that the SPA and the CPN-Maoist government had done nothing that would change the life of Nepalis from the life they had lived under the 240-year rule of the Shah dynastic rule to the humanly life. The corrupt leaders were at the helm of the government; the same corrupt politicians had been claiming to be unelected representatives of the Nepalese people in the Interim Legislature; the corrupt bureaucrats ran the Girija administration that had been amassing a huge wealth creating a shortage of petroleum products.
Stating the need for reviving the constitution of Nepal of 1990, Sujata Koirala had been in a great hurry to bring the monarchy to life. Her party NC and other leaders had been acting carefully and slowly following the Party president and her father Girija Prasad Koirala’s instructions in changing the Nepalese people’s mind in favor of the monarchy even at the cost of alienating their followers.
If the Nepalese media reports had some truths then Sujata Koirala and his gang had received a large sum of money from the palace to defeat the proposal of removing the constitutional monarchy from the NC party’s statute in the Mahasamiti convention. However, for some reasons, Sujata Koirala could not be successful in doing so, and the Mahasamiti of the NC removed the constitutional monarchy from the NC’s statute and paved the way for going to be a republican party.
Sujata Koirala’s statement of the need for reviving the constitution of Nepal of 1990 was a great challenge to the NC leaders and cadres who had been advocating for declaring Nepal a republic. For them time has come to decide whether to follow the corrupt leaders and deceive the Nepalese people or to fight against such corrupt leaders and the Koirala family that had been always for following the policy of deceit.
Some other leaders such as former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Ram Chandra Poudel were for following in the footprints of the deceitful leaders. Deuba telling the Nepalese people that Nepal would be a republic on the second of the election for a CA clearly wanted to deceive the Nepalese people. His intention of telling such thing was that the next day after the election for a CA, the first session of such a CA would be held and it would declare Nepal a republic. Logical-thinking Nepalese people would not believe in that the NC members in the CA would vote for declaring Nepal a republic as they failed to vote for the same in the Interim Legislature. Poudel had been telling that the government would not enforce the two resolutions passed by a simple majority in the Interim Legislature on November 04, 2007. One of the two resolutions was for setting a date for the election for a CA and for initiating a process for declaring Nepal a republic. So, Poudel was against setting the date for the election for a CA and against declaring Nepal a republic. His remarks were the contempt for the Interim Legislature. Interim legislators should bring a motion against such a person in the winter session of the Interim Legislature.
On Sunday, November 18, 2007, at the meeting of the NC parliamentary party, NC Interim Legislators such as Gobinda Raj Joshi, Khum Bahadur Khadka, Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar and Binaya Dhoj Chand warned the NC leadership of the probable disobedience of the party whip in the winter session of the Interim Legislature if the party leadership would issue it in the name of the political compromise on declaration of Nepal a republic. Commission on Investigation into Abuse of Authority had filed corruption cases against Gobinda Raj Joshi and Khum Bahadur Khadka at the Special Court but the Court had acquitted them on the technical ground just before the promulgation of the Interim Constitution on January 15, 2007.
On Sunday, November 18, 2007, the Civil Movement for Democracy and Peace (CMDP) held a roundtable meeting of the leaders of the seven-party alliance to find a way out of the political deadlock but it did not happen, as the leaders of the NC did not show up as reported by the ‘The Himalayan Times’ of November 19, 2007. "We called off the meeting as we came to know that top leaders of the NC refused to attend it," said Dr Devendra Raj Panday, leader of the CMDP. "We thought we had started a discussion on a serious topic and expected that a resolution will be passed during the meeting, but they turned their back on us. They will probably resolve the issue themselves," he said, as quoted in ‘the Himalayan Times’ of November 19, 2007.
Dr Panday reiterated the civil society's demand for declaration of Nepal a republic by the Interim Legislature on condition of the Constituent Assembly would approve it. "We have also urged the leaders to make a decision on a total proportional representation system of elections only after holding discussions with all marginalized communities. The constituent assembly will not be inclusive without active participation of these groups," he said according to the news in ‘The Himalayan Times’ of November 19, 2007.
The NC legislators had been acting as a strong opposition to the declaration of Nepal a republic, as they were afraid of losing their supremacy in the Nepalese politics if they went for a republican setting. They refused to believe that they were living in the 21st century, and the Nepalese people had been politically conscious. However, they believed in manipulating the Nepalese voters during elections using the landlords and moneylenders as they had done in the past.
Stating the need for reviving the constitution of Nepal of 1990, Sujata Koirala has paved the way for her becoming the first woman Prime Minister of Nepal. She also made it clear that she was the strong agent of the forces engaged in saving the monarchy. Clearly, all the people working for save-the-monarchy campaign would join her and her party.
Allegedly corrupt former minister and the president of Rastriya Prajatantra party-Nepal, Rabindranath Sharma would join hands with Sujata Koirala to work together for the save-the-monarchy campaign. People like Rabindranath Sharma would not politically survive as Sujata Koirala, too without the monarchy.