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Archive for May, 2014

सीरिया: पश्चिमी साजिश का शिकार

Posted by chimeki on May 14, 2014

Photo: Global Post

Photo: Global Post

सीरिया में तीन साल से चल रहे द्वंद में एक लाख से अधिक लोगों की मृत्यु हो चुकी है और अन्य कई लाख घायल हैं। लाखों लोग ईरान और अन्य पड़ोसी देशों में शरण लेने को बाध्य हैं। 2011 में आरंभ हुए सरकार विरोधी शांतिपूर्ण प्रदर्शनों को शुरूआत में ‘अरब बसंत’ के विस्तार के रूप में परिभाषित किया जा रहा था परंतु बहुत जल्द इसने गृह युद्ध का स्वरूप लेकर संपूर्ण देश को अपने प्रभाव में ले लिया। गृह युद्ध में इजरायल और उसके सहयोगी पश्चिमी एवं अरब देशों को क्षेत्र से एक दुश्मन देश को मिटा देने अथवा उसे खडिण्त करने का अवसर मिल गया और पूरी दुनिया में ‘आंतकवाद के खिलाफ जंग’ लड़ने का ऐलान करने वालों ने अपनी योजना में आतंकी संगठनों को हथियार देने से भी गुरेज नहीं किया।

ऐसा नहीं था कि आरंभ में जब सरकार विरोधी प्रर्दशन शुरू हुए तब ये पूरी तरह से पश्चिम के प्रभाव में चल रहे थे। बल्कि ये प्रदर्शन कई मायनों में ट्यूनिशिया से आरंभ हुए ‘अरब बसंत’ का ही विस्तार थे। वर्तमान राष्ट्रपति बसर अलअसद के पिता हाफिज़ अलअसद ने अपने राजनीतिक जीवनकाल में ही सीरियाई बाथ पार्टी और राष्ट्र को अपनी ‘पैतृक’ संपत्ति की तरह मानने लगे थे और सरकार में असद परिवार की भूमिका को केन्द्रीय बना दिया था। यह ठीक वैसा ही था जैसा ईराक में सद्दाम हुसैन के नेतृत्व में हुआ था। ईराक की बाथ पार्टी की तरह ही सीरिया की बाथ पार्टी भी अरब समाजवादी बाथ आंदोलन/पार्टी की घटक पार्टी थी। दुनिया भर में उपनिवेशवाद विरोधी आंदोलनों के प्रभाव में 1947 में आरंभ हुए इस आंदोलन का मकसद अरब देशों की एकता और ‘उदार’ समाजवाद था। लेकिन बाद में विश्व भर में समाजवादी आंदोलन के कमजोर होने के परिणाम स्वरूप बाथ आंदोलन केवल ईराक और सीरिया में सिमट कर रह गया। हालांकि इसका प्रभाव अन्य अरब देशों में भी लंबे समय तक बना रहा लेकिन इसके नेतृत्व की अवसरवादी प्रवत्ति ने इसके टुकडे़ कर दिए।

आरम्भ में बाथ आंदोलन की घटक पार्टी सीरिया की बाथ पार्टी ने सीरिया में बहुत से महत्वपूर्ण बदलव किए। आसपास के अन्य देशों के मुकाबले सीरिया में जनता को अधिक राज्य प्रायोजित सेवाएं हासिल हैं। लेकिन असद परिवार केन्द्रीत राज्य व्यवस्था ने जनता को असद सरकार के खिलाफ खड़ा कर दिया था। एक हद तक पश्चिम द्वारा प्रायोजित इस गृह युद्ध ने बसर असद को लोकतांत्रिक सुधार करने के दवाब से ही मुक्त कर दिया है और परिवार को सत्ता पर मजबूत पकड़ बनाने, अपने विरोधियों को सत्ता से बाहर करने का अवसर प्रदान किया है।

सीरिया में पश्चिम प्रायोजित द्वंद सीरिया को आंतरिक अंतरविरोधों में उलजा कर सीरिया, ईरान, लेबनान और हमास गठबंधन को कमजोर करना है ताकि अरब देशों में पश्चिमी प्रभाव, खासतौर पर अमेरिकाइजरायल, बना रहे। साथ ही, इस का मकसद अरब देशों में रूस और चीन की ‘घुसपैठ’ को रोकना भी है। वास्तव में सीरिया का संकट इजरायल के खिलाफ उसके डटे रहने की ‘सज़ा’ है। ईरान के पत्रकार कौरोश जि़याबरी लिखते है, ‘इजरायल का मकसद सीरिया में अस्थिरता, अशांति और अराजकता को हवा देना है। शांत एवं स्थिर सीरिया इजारयल के लिए अरब देशों में अपने प्रभाव को बनाए रखने लिए गंभीर चुनौती है।’ अपनी बात को अधिक स्पष्ट करने के लिए कौरोश 26 जनवरी 2012 में इजरायल के दैनिक समाचार पत्र येदीयोथ ऐरोनोथ में प्रकाशित इजरायल के पूर्व गुप्तचर प्रमुख के वक्तव्य के हवाले से बताते हैं कि सीरिया में सत्ता परिवर्तन में इजरायल का रणनैतिक हित है। यदि यह आंदोलन ईरान को भी अपनी गिरफ्त में ले लेता है तो इजरायल की बड़ी चिंता का अंत हो जाएगा।’

सीरिया में सत्ता परिवर्तन के खिलाफ रूस और चीन के विरोध के परिणाम स्वरूप अमेरिकी की अगुवाई में युरोपियन संघ को संकट का समाधान बातचीत के जरिए हासिल करने के लिए मंजूर होना पड़ा है। जिनेवा में 22 जनवरी को आयोजित अंतर्राष्ट्रीय शांति सम्मेलन से यह संकेत मिलता है सीरिया में पिछले तीन सालों से जारी द्वंद अपने शांतिपूर्ण अंत की ओर अग्रसर है। हालांकि किसी निर्णय में पहुंचने से पहले वार्ता लंबी खिंच सकती है लेकिन सीरिया सरकार और विरोधी गठबंधन के शामिल होने से परिणाम आने की संभावना को कई गुना बढ़ा दिया है। दोनों पक्ष तीन साल में पहली बार वार्ता के जरिए शांतिपूर्ण समाधान निकालने को तैयार हुए है। असद सरकार ने भी संक्रमण सरकार के गठन की विपक्ष की मांग पर अपनी सहमती जताई है।

आगामी दिनों संक्रमण कालीन सरकार के स्वरूप से स्पष्ट हो जाएगा सीरिया का भविष्य क्या होगा। 40 साल से भी अधिक समय से सत्ता में रहने वाले असद परिवार के लिए यह एक चुनौती भरा काम है। सीरियाई जनता के हितों को ताक मे रख कर सत्ता में असद परिवार की भूमिका को बनाए रखने के चलते ही इजरायल और साउदी अरब जैसे देशों को दखल देने का अवसर मिला है। जब तक ऐसे राज्य संयंत्र की संभावना नहीं बनती जो जनता की व्यापक हिस्सेदारी को सुनिश्चित कर सके तब तक सीरिया एवं अन्य अरब देशों में ऐसे संकंट के बादल मंडराते रहेंगे। सीरिया के हितैषियों के लिए यह एक चुनौती भरा काम होगी कि वे द्वंद से खंडित सीरिया की जनता के भीतर उत्साह और एक दूसरे के प्रति विश्वास को पुनः दृढ़ बना सकें।

वि.श.

(दस्तक मासिक के मार्च अंक में प्रकाशित)

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Nepal’s Maoist will not take up arms

Posted by chimeki on May 13, 2014

Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist will not take up arms and focus more on the issue of livelihood, health and education of the people. It has also decided to mobilize people to put pressure on the lawmakers to write a pro-people constitution. The immediate focus of its leaders is to put the party structure in order, which had shattered during the election boycott programme.

A senior politburo member said, “although our boycott programme was successful, nevertheless, we have also learnt about our weaknesses. One of those is that our party has become like an umbrella. It has a weak base which cannot hold the ‘top’. We have more leaders than cadres. Post election, the party is focused on giving it a shape of a pyramid.”

The party, which is led by Mohan Baidya aka ‘Kiran’, is gearing up for its General Convention which is scheduled around May this year. The Convention is called to chalk out a framework for its activities in current situation. The leader, who is was in India to review the party’s functioning here said, “our party still thinks that an all party round table conference is the best way to move forward in the direction of constitution writing.”

Refuting the claim that more than 70 per cent people voted in the election he said, the Election Commission changed its facts thrice in a matter of hours and has still not come up with the exact figure. There was not more than 45 per cent voting across Nepal. He said, “those who claim that the election to the second Constitution Assembly was a success should consider the facts that there were more than 4 thousand incidents of bomb blasts during elections and the government was not able to stop or arrest anybody. Ambassadors and High Commissioners of 20 countries warned all the boycotting parties with dire consequences but we carried on with our programmes. Even the Supreme Court intervened and called the boycott unlawful but we didn’t abide.”

Claiming that the Prachanda led Maoist has no future in Nepal the leader said that after the election the ‘two Maoist parties’ situation has ended and his party has emerged as the real pro people force. “We have led the 10 year long People’s War in Nepal to uproot the Monarchy and establish Socialism. The second task remains unfinished due to the betrayal of Prachanda and Baburam clique however now that we have ousted them the party leadership is committed to complete the left task”, he said.

The leader claimed that post 2008 Nepal has lost its strategic importance. It has become an Indian Colony. Previously, the party had viewed Nepal as a semi-feudal semi-colonial country but now it sees Nepal as a semi-feudal and neo-colonial country. “Hence, we have also changed our political strategy.”

He said that there was no question of taking up arms as situation had thoroughly changed inside and outside Nepal. The world has become multi polar and the situation is favourable for peaceful struggle.

Calling the news of differences in his party ‘rumour’, he said, “we are the only party in Nepal which is united politically and ideologically. Soon we will emerged as the biggest power centre in Nepal”.

(First published in the Citizen on 6 March 2014. Click to read the article as it was published)

V.S.

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‘Pauper’ Koirala heads cabinet of millionaires

Posted by chimeki on May 13, 2014

Sushil_Koirala

Courtesy: Wikimedia

Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala is a ‘pauper’ in the cabinet of the richest ministers. He is the fourth prime minister from the Koirala dynasty, yet, he owns no immovable property. His movable properties include just three set of mobile phones!

74 year old Koirala has no house in his name and has lived all his life in a shared accommodation. He has no bank account too and earlier this week he gave back his travel allowance of USD 650, which is equivalent to Nepali Rupees 63,427, to the country’s treasury!

But the ministers in the cabinet he leads are not such modest. They are rich and qualify to compete for a place in the Forbes list.

Bamdev Gautam, a communist and three times Home Minister, has properties worth more than few millions. He has booked a flat for rupees 50 lacs on his wife Tulsi’s name in Vegas City in Kathmandu. His daughter-in-law owns a 5 thousand square feet plot in an upmarket area of the capital city. He has also saved more than one crore rupees in his and son’s bank accounts. If calculated in market price, the minister’s property, which includes 350 grams of gold, can exceed 100 crore mark!

Finance Minister Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat is a gold mine. Besides a two story house and a flat in the capital his property includes 950 grams of gold and 2 kg silver. Probably more than what the country produces through outdated placer mining technique every year!

Both the ministers have proudly declared dowry received as one of their sources of income. Similarly, other ministers too have properties in millions of rupees. Education Minister Chitra Lekha Yadav has land and plots in 15 places including Lalitpur and Kathmandu. She also has 88 lac rupees in her bank account.

Chitra Lekha is closely followed by Infrastructure Minister Bimalendra Nidhi, 600 gram gold and 45 lac cash, and Forest Minister Mahesh Acharya 450 gram gold and 65 lacs in cash. Other ministers too have equal or more property.

In austerity, Sushil Koirala outscores not only his cabinet colleagues but also all the former prime ministers of Republic Nepal.

Incidentally, all his predecessors were communists. Although, Jhala Nath Khanal and Madhav Kumar Nepal of the UML held long experience of the parliamentary democracy but other two, Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai of the UCPNM, had criticized parliamentary politics for more than two decades. And yet as soon as they came to power they did exactly what they said they stand against.  

Prachanda was nicknamed Rado Comrade for he wore Rado watch and had a great taste for suits and ties. Later, he discovered enthusiasm for Helicopters. During election campaigns in November he would fly to the distances as near as 35 kilometers! Post People’s War, Prachanda lives in a house which he has rented for more than one lac rupees per month! In his party meeting he is often criticized for his luxurious lifestyle. Once his son Prakash Dahal went for the Everest expedition for which government of Nepal ‘donated’ 2 crores.

Baburam Bhattarai was never directly blamed on any charge related to financial dishonesty but during his stint as the prime minister his wife Hasila Yami was often in news for wrong reasons. She was accused of financial dishonesty and favoritism. Once Matrika Yadav, a comrade in arms turned foe, had famously said, ‘Baburam Bhattarai eats his food with a spoon’.

In this period of leadership crunch, Sushil Koirala’s modesty has given Nepali people a leader who they can relate to. But Nepal needs more than an ascetic. He has to prove that he can lead his country out of the crisis it is stuck in for long. The first Constituent Assembly (CA) failed to give a new constitution and second is moving nowhere. First three months of the second CA went without a proper sitting. The important issues are still unresolved and there seems to be no consensus among parties on these.

The second big challenge he faces is to bring Kiran led Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist in negotiating table. Without doing so it will not be possible to guarantee real peace in Nepal. Although Nepal is a Left majority country, nevertheless, it always works well when it is led by the Right. Call it an irony, Nepal’s Left has always needed a supporting Right to move ahead. This is exactly what people want from Sushil Koirala.

(First published in the Citizen on 23 March 2014. Click here to read the article as it was published)

V.S.

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Bhattarai Defeated, Prachanda In Full Control Of UCPN(M)

Posted by chimeki on May 8, 2014

baburamThe national convention of the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) held in Biratnagar ended in a humiliating defeat for its influential leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai. The convention, which was aimed at strengthening the party by resolving the differences between its two big leaders Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai only aggravated the situation and exposed, once again, fissures in the party. Bhattarai has been completely sidelined and it is now certain that Prachanda will continue to enjoy the absolute authority in the party.

Many of Bhattarai’s old friends and associates left him in the lurch to join the ultimate winner of the years’ old battle for party’s control. Prachanda once again proved that when it comes to settling scores with his rivals he is as merciless as his idol Jung Bahadur Rana of Nepal.

After the second Constituent Assembly election last November, in which the party performed poorly, Bhattarai’s loyalists have been pressurizing Prachanda to step down from the top post. Often Bhattarai used public space to make his point.. His opinion that there was a need of new force, expressed in Kantipur Daily, was seen as a direct challenge to Prachanda’s authority.

Bhattarai also tried to forge alliance with another powerful but disgruntled leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha to win majority in the party’s central committee. Had he succeeded the alliance would have balanced the power and forced Prachanda to heed to Bhattarai’s demand. But Shreshta, a newcomer, proved himself to be too weak to keep a check on his loyalists.

In the convention Prachanda proposed the Central Committee, CC, that he will always keep him in majority. In the new 99 member CC there are less than 30 members from Bhattarai and Shrestha factions! After a long time Prachanda has gained an upper hand in the party. This is reflecting in his body language too. In a press conference after the convention, he spoke with the confidence of a supreme leader. He told journalists that ‘he will give important position to Bhattarai’.

Later, speaking at the inaugural ceremony of party’s mouthpiece Prasthan, Prachanda told the gathering that he had promoted Bhattarai to the party’s highest committee with the view that it would benefit party but it proved to be a mistake. Prahanda further humiliated Bhattarai by telling people that the old communist leaders and cadres had advised him not to elevate Bhattarai beyond district committee!

The sudden turn of the event had come as a shock to Bhattarai and his loyalists. In June 2012 the UCPNM split vertically. The party watchers thought that the development would make Bhattarai stronger for had long represented the line of multi-party democracy and peaceful struggle for socialism against hardliners’ line of ‘people’s revolt’ to establish socialism.

Initially both Prachanda and Bhattarai saw the split as a boon as it gave them the opportunity to take party out of the ‘People’s War’ mode. The immediately held Hetauda convention endorsed the line of ‘peaceful road to Socialism in Nepal’. The party declared that its basic goal was to promote economic growth.

The convention also led to the formation of Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi’s caretaker or impartial government to hold Constituent Assembly election. The party had imagined a bigger victory in the election. However the result showed that it had exaggerated its strengthen. The party lost badly and ended up being the number 3 party in the Constituent Assembly.

Since then Bhattarai and Prachanda never saw eye to eye. Bhattarai never missed opportunity to show Prachanda his place. Bhattarai thought that Prachanda had lost his appeal amongst the cadre and it was matter of time when curtain would fell on him. However Bhattarai poorly judged his own strength in the party. No doubt he is more acceptable to the urban population of Nepal than Prachanda but organizationally he is very weak. He failed to realise that the split has weakened him further for there was no one to support him organizationally. Previously, Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ had come to his rescue whenever Prachanda wanted to ‘penalize’ him for his ‘mistake’.

Wisely, judging the way the wind was blowing his known loyalists like Dinanath Sharma and Ram Karki left him to side with Prachanda.

By reading Bhattarai statements after the convention it can be said that he understands that his is the lost case. There is no way Bhattarai can challenge Prachanda. Even if he tries, it would not be consequential and only make Prachanda’s work easy. He must have realised that hitherto Prachanda kept him in good term to resist hardliners. With the hardliners, Bhattarai’s relevance in the party too had gone.

V.S.

(First published in the Citizen, 8 May 2014)

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