Siddhi B. Ranjitkar: Political Confusion in Nepal
Political Confusion in Nepal
Prime Minister and ministers do not keep their words given to the people; they forget to implement the agreements reached with the different groups and agencies. Some of them have been openly engaged in saving the most hated monarchy that had failed in treating all Nepalis equally for about two and a half centuries. The government has been unable to bring the violence in Terai under control, and has been unable to make the smooth supply of petroleum products causing great hardship to the consumers and affecting the economy and business adversely. All these things emboldened the suspended king to come out openly again saying the current seven-party government is incompetent. The government has been certainly going against the Nepalese people’s aspirations for democracy, republic, rule of law and peace, and using the state agencies for safeguarding the leaders in power doing absolutely nothing for the welfare of the people without the strong pressure put on it.
Suspended King Gyanendra did not know that the Nepalese Interim Legislative-parliament has overwhelmingly passed the proposal for declaring Nepal a republic and suspended the king until the to-be-elected Constituent Assembly endorsed the declaration of Nepal a republic. When he came to know that the Interim Legislators have declared Nepal a republic and suspended him for the time being, he in a rush to save his falling crown gave interviews to the reporters of the Nepalese newspaper and then to the Japanese newspaper to say that it is undemocratic, and only the Nepalese people have the rights to decide on his crown. He forgot that the Interim Legislature was built on the people’s power, and the Interim Legislators are the Nepalese people’s interim legislators. The irony is that the person that had been the killer of democracy now has talked about democracy. Is the democracy he has been talking about is the democracy for him or the Nepalese people?
The Maoists’ leader called Prachanda wants to be the president of Nepal when the Nepalis have been heading to the election for a constituent assembly (CA) that will decide what system of governance the country would adopt. His cadres have started painting the walls saying Prachanda for president of Nepal as if the forthcoming election for a CA is an election for president. They must have felt that the king has already gone. However, the reality is that he is still there but like a tiger in a cage. If he has a chance to come out of the cage he might kill democracy again and the Nepalese people. The Maoists’ cadres would be better off if they have been working for finishing off the tiger in a cage.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s daughter Sujata Koirala has been juggling with her power drawn from the position of Minister without portfolio she got from her father’s undemocratic ruling to save the monarchy so dear to her and her father. She as her father feels that they are above the law and they can do whatever they like. The first thing she did was she sent the armed and unarmed police to raid the offices of the Young Communist League (YCL) unsuccessfully on the night of February 06, 2008. She bypassed the Home Minister and ordered the Minister of State for Home, Ram Kumar Chaudhary to do so. She did not feel shame for her unsuccessful mission. It was her ploy to create violence so that the election for the CA could be postponed indefinitely as the first session of the CA was sure to announce the death sentence to the monarchy. However, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula brought the situation under control and did not allow adding fuel to the fire of the incident in Darchula in which Nepali Congress leader Dilendra Badu was reported to be attacked and injured by the Maoists. The seven-party alliance (SPA) steering committee has decided to set up a committee of the SPA to investigate the incidents of the raid on the YCL offices and the attack on Badu. Spokesman for the Nepali Congress party (NC), Arjun Narsing KC has been saying that Prime Minister Koirala has appointed his daughter Sujata Koirala to the Minister without portfolio not consulting the NC leaders and has been doing it without the respect for the rule of law.
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) Madhav Kumar Nepal welcomed the Sujata Koirala’s actions on raiding the YCL offices and said that the YCL has repeatedly attacked on the cadres of his party. Every logical thinking person believes that how naive the General Secretary of the CPN-UML has been, as he could not judge that such actions would bring violence and disturb the election for a CA. General Secretary Nepal would have been better off if he had been for punishing the criminals rather than giving a political color to all sorts of criminals, and letting them escape from the crimes with impunity. He was glad that Sujata Koirala attempted to punish the YCL that had been harassing his cadres rather than the criminals who had almost killed NC leader Dilendra Badu in Darchula.
On Monday, February 11, 2008, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala visited the office of the Commission on Investigation into Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to mark its anniversary. Previously, he refused to visit the CIAA and give an answer to the question put up by it; rather he went to the Supreme Court of Nepal pleading that the CIAA has no rights to question him. The Supreme Court ruled that the CIAA has the rights to do so. However, he never appeared before the CIAA and cleared up the corruption stain on him. Now, he was talking about the check and balance of power among the constitutional bodies for the prosperity of the country.
Former Prime Minister and NC senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba labeled as Mr. Incompetent by the suspended king Gyanendra in the past said that the king has the rights to expression as any citizens of Nepal while talking about the controversial interviews given by the suspended king to the national and international reporters. Mr. Incompetent was right that all Nepalis should have the fundamental rights but Mr. Incompetent failed to read between the lines of the suspended king’s interviews. As other unscrupulous NC leaders, Mr. Incompetent has been undermining the people’s aspirations and attempting to save the exclusive Shah dynamistic administration in Nepal.
Another NC leader and Minister for Peace and Reconstruction, Ram Chandra Poudel has been creating the mistrust of the government among the Nepalis. He held peace-talks with the ethnic Nepalis and Madheshi Nepalis, and then signed agreements with them. However, he did not implement those agreements provoking intensified protests from the ethnic and Madheshi Nepalis posing even the threat to the election for a CA.
The king has been counting on the influential leaders of the Nepali Congress (NC), and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) for saving his job for which he must have paid millions of rupees to the unscrupulous leaders. The CPN-UML has been the tail of the NC and has been working for saving the monarchy for their own interest despite the fact that majority of the Nepalese youths have been for removing the infamous monarchy once and for all. Some unscrupulous NC leaders headed by Sujata Koirala and other CPN-UML leaders headed by Khadga Prasad Oli have been openly advocating for saving the monarchy and doing their best to disrupt the election for a CA in order to save the monarchy at any cost.
The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) leaders have met with the persons believed to be close to the king. They said in public that they want to bring the royalists to their fold, so, they have been talking to them. However, their progeny called the members of the Young Communist League (YCL) have threatened them to rebel if they would continue to talk to the guys believed to be close to the king. Talking to the royalists close to the king, are not the Maoist leaders emboldening the suspended king to come out openly to reclaim his lost kingdom?
A Minister duo: Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and his Finance Minister Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat has been plundering the state assets from the state-run Nepal Telcom company selling its shares at different prices to the public and its employees. The company has started selling its 100 rupees share at Rs 90 per share to its employees and at Rs 600 per share to the general public. The difference in prices sold to its employees and the public is Rs 510. Its employees make the outright profit of Rs 510 per share. Is it not a daylight robbery of the state assets? Who gave them this authority to sell the state assets at their will?
The government of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has been deliberating creating shortage of petroleum products in Nepal to provoke Nepalis to protest and then derail the election for a CA. Minister for Supplies, Shyam Sunder Gupta responsible person for ensuring the smooth supply of petroleum products shamelessly said to the reporters in an unofficial drinks-only party that the long line of vehicles waiting for fuels at the Sajha Petrol Pump did not make a difference to him. Already one-year old crisis in supplying petroleum products has been continuing adversely affecting the regular lives of Nepalis and their businesses.
The civil society leaders have been asking the leaders of the seven-party alliance (SPA) what has held them to remove the king and declare Nepal a full-fledged republic following the people’s mandate given by the People’s Movement in April 2006. The civil society leaders say that they have started the movement for republic and democracy and then the SPA took up the movement. Now, the SPA leaders have been for saving the monarchy.
On February 09, 2008, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala ordered his Minister of State for Home, Ram Kumar Chaudhary to send the Indian doctor Amit Kumar Ravat allegedly the kingpin of the kidney trafficking mafia back to India. Legal experts believe that the extradition of the Indian doctor without following the legal procedure in Nepal infringes the rule of law. The Nepal Police had arrested him in Chitwan on the tip-off of the Interpol on February 07, 2008, and made him public in Kathmandu on February 08, 2008. At that time, the Nepal Police officials told the reporters that the Police would produce the criminal suspect at the court on Sunday, February 10, as the Saturday is the regular weekend holiday in Nepal. The police would bring charges of three crimes such as possessing fake documents and foreign money beyond the limit allowed by the Nepalese Law, and the kidney trafficking against him. However, the police sent the alleged criminal Dr. Amit back to India the next day by the order from above. Thus, Prime Minister Koirala and his ministers behaved as if they were above the law.
Most of the Madheshi leaders sidelined by their parent political parties have been busy in setting up their own political parties and then grouping and regrouping to form one or more united fronts. Hridaysh Tripathy of the Sadbhawana Party (Anandevi), Mahant Thakur of the NC and Upendra Yadav of the CPN-Maoist are the examples of the Madheshi leaders sidelined by the parent parties. It has been hard to follow how many new political parties are formed and who are leading them in Terai.
Now, they have started a slogan “One Madhesh One province”. Obviously, they want to unite the diverse Madheshis (people living in Madhesh). However, it will be possible only if they work for the common interest of all Madheshis. It seems that all leaders have vested interest in launching the protests in Terai. The Madheshi people residing in the areas from the east to the west Terai have varied culture and language. In addition, the Madheshi leaders demanding so many things from the government are the people obviously deprived of the positions they think they deserve in their parent political parties.
To add insult to injury, Minister for Peace and Reconstruction, Ram Chandra Poudel has been signing various agreements with the Madheshi groups and then forgetting to implement them. Those agreements have been the mockery of deals. It is natural that not implementing such deals has infuriated the Madheshi leaders. Certainly, they would attempt to lead the Madheshi people promising them something they have never had in the past, and would intensify the protest against the government. The Madheshi movement is the hangover from the exclusive administration of the Shah dynastic monarchy.
All the political leaders and their cadres need to understand that Nepalis have been well aware of what the political leaders in power and out of power have been saying and doing. They know the strength and weaknesses of the political leaders. They have deceived the Nepalis for a number of times; this time, they would not be able to deceive Nepalis again. One main example of the result of such deceit in the past is the ongoing protest in Terai. So, if they are working for the Nepalese people, Nepalis will support them and respect them. If they were for saving the monarchy and working for the king then Nepalis would send such leaders and cadres to the hell.