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Political Maneuvers in Nepal

Political Maneuvers in Nepal

By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

Political leaders have begun their maneuvers to grab the prevailing opportunity for serving their own interest. Major partners in the seven-party alliance (SPA) have begun their political maneuvers pulling their ministers out of the SPA government and sending signals that they might not participate in the government to be led by the Maoists. Some of them have already engaged in the blame game. The suspended king has remained indifferent to the latest political development brought by the election for a Constituent Assembly (CA). This might be his political maneuver, too.

After the completion of the election for a CA, the positions of the major political parties have been clear. Some new political parties have emerged as significant parties while other parties have shrunk to minor parties. Politicians and partisans have been giving various reasons for the victory and defeat of political parties. However, either they were not aware of the real reason for the victory of the political parties in the CA election or they simply ignored it. For example, according to the political analyst called C.K. Lal, the Maoists have received all the votes of the underprivileged people called dalits; they fielded many women candidates in the CA election than any other political parties; of them 21 women got elected to a CA. Similarly, the Madheshi Peoples’ Rights Forum (MPRF) won the election based on the platform they stood for the people of Madhesh. The loser leaders want to forget all those things and blame others for their own weakness.

Some leaders of the defeated parties have been saying publicly that they lost the election, as they went to the election if it were a regular environment for the election in other words not taking into consideration of the environment of the intimidation of voters. However, MPRF has won the election bringing it to the status of almost equal to the status of NC and the CPN-UML. Defeated leaders have not made any comments on such a success of the MPRF. So, they continue to make mistakes in analyzing the poll results, too.

Some of the SPA leaders were for all seven parties in alliance going together for fighting the election for a CA, and for making sure that major leaders of all seven political parties get elected to a CA. However, it did not work, as some of the leaders could not read the then-prevailing voters’ minds. They did not bother to ascertain it by even holding a simple public opinion poll but were confident of victory in the election as in the past. They failed to read the new and young voters’ minds, and enjoyed the consequences of their immature political reading before the election for a CA. Some leaders tended to commit the mistakes again pulling their ministers out of the current government and others not wiling to join the future government.

The victorious Maoists in the CA election have sent the conciliatory message to the leaders of other political parties, and even to the suspended king. The chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) Prachanda and his deputy Dr. Baburam Bhattarai met with the leaders of the Communist party of Nepal-Unified Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML) requesting them for not quitting the current government, and met with the current Prime Minister for not resigning before forming a new government and for remaining in the future government-led by the CPN-Maoist. Chairman Prachanda and his deputy Dr. Baburam Bhattarai urged suspended King Gyanendra to leave the palace gracefully.

According to the Nepalese independent press, Former General Secretary of CPN-UML Madhav Kumar Nepal told Chairman of CPN-Maoist Prachanda that his party would support Prachanda and the government he would lead on condition that the CPN-Maoist dissolved the Young Communist League (YCL) affiliated to the CPN-Maoist. In the meeting with the CPN-Maoist Chairman Prachanda, another leader and the standing committee member of the CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal simply repeated the words of the former General Secretary of the CPN-UML Madhav Kumar Nepal and said, "We have asked the Maoists to dissolve the YCL for creating a cordial atmosphere if they want us to join the government under their leadership."

At the same time CPN-UML Leader Jhalanath Khanal said that the CPN-Maoist could not make anybody Prime Minister without the cooperation of the NC and his own party. He is correct to say so, as the CA could form a new government with the votes of two-third majority only or continue the current government with some changes in it pursuant to the Article 38 of the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007. So, none of the political parties could claim for forming a unilateral government; and none of the political parties could be non-cooperative, too. All political parties need to reach a consensus on forming a new government or continuing the current government with some changes in it following the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007.

Some leaders particularly the tainted, corrupt and monarchist of the Nepali Congress (NC) have vehemently opposed the NC joining the government to be led by the CPN-Maoist. None of them was elected in the CA election. So, their reasoning for not joining the CPN-Maoist–led government must be either because none of them could anticipate to be a minister or they want to provoke the Maoists into causing violence and inviting conflicts again hoping to save the already dead monarchy. If it were so, Nepalis would never forgive such people.

Coordinator of MPRF Upendra Yadav has said that his party will join the next government only if the would-be-ruling partners accept the "one Madhesh one province" according to the news posted on the website mk Apr 23 08. He said that his party would again take to the streets if the issues of Madhesis, Janajatis and dalits were not addressed. However, Coordinator Yadav forgot that none of the CA members could meet anybody’s demand. So, the elected member of his party and he need to cooperate with other elected members of a CA to realize the dreams of the voters that have elected them to a CA rather than meeting his own dreams, and threatening to take the issue to the streets.

Nepalis have clearly given the mandate to the political parties to work together for crafting a new constitution of Nepal, and for running the government jointly thus taking the ongoing peace process to completion. So, none of the political parties has gained a clear majority. All political parties need to abide by the people’s mandate. We have seen how Nepalese voters have punished the NC and the CPN-UML that have failed to follow the mandate given by the voters in 1994, and in the following election. Major political parties such as the NC and the CPN-UML have been preparing for the head-on collision with the CPN-Maoist ignoring the Nepalese people’s mandate given in this CA election. It would be unfortunate not only to the feuding political parties but also to the Nepalese people in general if they disrupt the peace process and they go back to fighting.

If the political parties boycott the government to-be led by the CPN-Maoist, we might need to bear the following consequences of it:

First of all, the CPN-Maoist will have a monopoly on running the administration. Its leaders will get both the credits and discredits for their administration. However, they will shift the discredits to the non-participating political leaders for their mistakes, and for whatever they could not meet the promises they made to the people during the election for a CA.

Certainly, the boycotting leaders will lose the administrative power and the status they crave so much for. They have the backing of the significant percentage of the voters in the CA election. They should not forget those voters and do nothing for them not joining the government.

Not joining the government in other words not forming a consensus government the leaders staying away from it would surely violate the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 and of course the understandings and agreements the SPA has reached with the CPN-Maoist.

Leaders not participating in the government might send their cadres to stage street protests, call for shutdown, and traffic obstruction causing inconvenience to the people’s lives. In fact, the CPN-UML did so in 1991 when current Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala took over the elected majority government of the NC, and did not get a chance to work peacefully. We could not say that the CPN-UML would not repeat the same mistake again in 2008. If it happens again, it will be disastrous to the political parties but also to the Nepalese people in general.

Political maneuvers should be for smoothly crafting a Nepalese people’s constitution, and for removing the rampant financial corruption, abuse of authority and breaking laws with impunity. All the members of the CA need to work keeping all those things in mind. If they fail to do so this time, too, the political conflict might continue, and might even provoke an armed conflict again.

Nepalis need to be careful about the suspended king being indifferent to the latest political development. He has been residing as if nothing has been happening even after the CA election. His non-action on the political development might be the political maneuver of the suspended king and his supporters. Nepalese people have already rejected the monarchy through the people’s movement in April 2006, and through the election for a CA in 2008. So, he needs to leave the palace quietly abiding by the people’s mandate. We do not want any bloodshed of the Nepalese youths for anything to do with the suspended king in the future.


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