छिमेकी

know your neighbour

Posts Tagged ‘Nepali Congress’

Nepal Peace Process on Track

Posted by chimeki on April 29, 2015

Nepal Peace ProcessIn Nepal, the constitution writing process is back on track. On September 2, the big three parties, Nepali Congress, UML, UCPN-Maoist, have agreed to engage with Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ led Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist. The CPN-M is the biggest party outside the Constituent Assembly and has been proposing an all party conference to resolve the contentious issues of the Constituent Assembly. It has warned of consequences for the government if it tries to ignore its alliance.

The breakthrough has come just four days before the deadline set by the working calendar of the Constituent Assembly to build a consensus on all disputed issues. On 5 April, the Constituent Assembly had formed the Constitutional Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee under UCPN-M leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai and mandated it to underline the bone of contention among the parties in and outside the Constituent Assembly. On May 16, the committee sent a list of 145 points related to the constitution writing process that, it said, needed addressing. Accordingly, the committee held talks with 45 parties outside the Constituent Assembly on 7 and 8 July to put on record their demands. However, the CPN-M, which, along with 33 other parties, had boycotted the second Constituent Assembly election held in November last year, refused to sit for talks saying that it didn’t recognize the new Constituent Assembly. It demanded a direct talk among the parties and all the stakeholders in Nepal.

Since then the writing process had stuck in limbo. It looked as if the Sushil Koirala government had made up its mind to bypass CPN-M and parties outside the Constituent Assembly while working on the constitution. Had it happened it would have set a wrong precedent.

Since last November, the political landscape in Nepal has completely changed. There have emerged alternative voices in every major political party. In the CPN-M, one strong voice is represented by Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplab’, a charismatic young leader with an influencing following. The party which, till recently, had claimed to be above factionalism is facing an existential crisis. Biplab has serious reservations on the line taken by the party leadership since the second Constituent Assembly election. He has attacked the leadership for not being able to formulate concrete line in the changed scenario. He believes that the line of the party chairman Kiran and other senior leaders, which tells that the Constituent Assembly is still relevant, has exhausted and the party should change its course of action. In a recently concluded meeting of the central committee, Biplab had presented an alternative proposal challenging the Chairman’s.

Biplab’s proposal to the party is: go back to the People’s War. His emphasis is on getting out of the peace process and going underground. He has strongly rejected Kiran’s argument for a peaceful struggle until the time is mature for a ‘people’s revolt’. He is of belief that there is no scope for peaceful struggle for Socialism in Nepal and that line of ‘People’s revolt’ is the excuse of the status quoist forces in the party! Biplab seems ready to say goodbye to fellow comrades if they don’t make amendments in the party’s present line. If this happens, the peace process in Nepal will certainly collapse. The leaders must understand that the consequences of the collapse will not be Biplab’s sole doing instead more responsibility will be of the government.

For better part of its term, the government had seldom shown seriousness in fulfilling its commitment to the Nepalese people of giving them a new constitution. The peace process which began 8 years ago often looked an unending exercise. The Constituent Assembly is yet to present the first draft of the constitution! Experts believe that the real process will begin after the first draft is made public because only then people will actually join the debate which has been going on behind the curtain for all these years.

The agreement to hold talk with the CPNM is a welcome step. It sends a clear message that the government is serious for a meaningful and constructive dialogue with all the voices without caring much for their size and standing. It is also a message to Biplab and his supporters that their fear that there is no scope for peaceful and democratic solution of Nepal’s problem is without merit.

V.S.

(Published in The Citizen)

Advertisements

Posted in Nepal | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

‘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.

Posted in Nepal | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

क्यों हारे माओवादी

Posted by chimeki on March 8, 2014

Courtesy: BBC News

Courtesy: BBC News

नेपाल संविधान सभा चुनाव 2013 के अब तक आए परिणामों से यह बात तय है कि पिछली संविधान सभा की सबसे बड़ी पार्टी एकीकृत कम्युनिस्ट पार्टी (माओवादी) को तीसरे स्थान पर संतोष करना पड़ेगा. हालांकि माओवादी पार्टी अपनी ‘हार’ को स्वीकार करने से कतरा रही है, लेकिन अब वह उस स्थिति में नहीं है कि दवाब डालकर कोई समझौता करने के लिए दूसरी बड़ी पार्टियों नेपाली कांग्रेस और नेपाल कम्युनिस्ट पार्टी (एमाले) को मजबूर कर सके.

चुनाव में धांधली का आरोप लगाकर हार के गम को गटका तो जा सकता है, लेकिन पार्टी के भविष्य को लेकर उठने वाले सवालों से बचा नहीं जा सकता. यदि धांधली का उसका दावा सही भी है, तो भी कम से कम माओवादी पार्टी को परिणाम को खारिज करने को कोई नैतिक अधिकार नहीं है. इस बार के संविधान सभा चुनाव की जल्दबाजी माओवादी पार्टी को थी. पार्टी के प्रधानमंत्री ने पिछली संविधान सभा को भंग किया, पार्टी के ही अध्यक्ष ने मुख्य न्यायाधीश की अध्यक्षता में चुनावी सरकार के गठन में सबसे अहम भूमिका निभाई. यहां तक कि इस सरकार के गठन का प्रस्ताव प्रचण्ड का ही था. इसी पार्टी ने चुनाव बहिष्कार करने वाले समूह की हर मांग की अनदेखी कर उन्हें चुनाव में शामिल होने से रोका. पार्टी की मान्यता यह रही कि यदि मोहन वैद्य ‘किरण’ के नेतृत्व वाली पार्टी ने चुनाव में हिस्सा लिया, तो उसके वोट प्रतिशत में सेंध लगेगी.

चुनाव परिणाम को जितना अप्रत्याशित दिखाने का प्रयास किया जा रहा है, उतना अप्रत्याशित वह है नहीं. माओवादी पार्टी की आंतरिक बैठकों में बार-बार यह बात होती रही कि पार्टी पहाड़ी क्षेत्रों में अपने पुराने प्रदर्शन को नहीं दोहरा पाएगी. पार्टी कार्यकर्ताओं की रिपोर्ट के आधार पर ही यह तय किया गया कि पहाड़ी क्षेत्र से अधिक तराई पर केन्द्रित होकर चुनाव लड़ा जाए. इसकी वजह यह थी कि पिछले पांच सालों में तराई का मधेस आंदोलन छिन्न-भिन्न हो गया था या कहें कर दिया गया था और पार्टी खुद को मधेसी आंदोलन का जायज उत्तराधिकारी मानकर चल रही थी. पार्टी के कई दिग्गज नेताओं ने पुराने क्षेत्र को अलविदा कहकर तराई से नामाकंन भरा.

अति उत्साह में वह भूल गई कि 1990 से तराई नेपाली कांग्रेस का मजबूत गढ़ रहा है और मधेस आंदोलन के अधिकांश नेता कांग्रेस से ही निकलकर आए हैं. जनयुद्ध के काल में भी तराई में माओवादी पार्टी अपनी तमाम कोशिश के बावजूद कभी पैर नहीं जमा सकी थी. इसलिए मधेस आंदोलन के खत्म हो जाने पर वहां कि जनता ने पुरानी परखी हुई पार्टी को ही वोट देना उचित समझा.

उधर पहाड़ी क्षेत्र में जो जनयुद्ध का आधार था, माओवादी पार्टी की लोकप्रियता तेजी के साथ कम हुई. जनयुद्ध के क्रम में शहादत देने वाली इस क्षेत्र की जनता ने बहुत जल्द ही यह समझ लिया कि पार्टी का नेतृत्व नेपाली क्रांति को संविधान सभा से आगे ले जाना नहीं चाहता. पांच सालों में पार्टी के नेतृत्व ही जो तस्वीर उस के सामने बनी वह उस तस्वीर से बिलकुल अलग थी जो उसने जनयुद्ध के समय देखी थी.

साथ चलने, खाने और हंसने-रोने वाला नेतृत्व जनता के समीप जाने से भी कतराने लगा था. नेता सिर्फ उन्ही दुर्गम क्षेत्रों में जाते थे, जहां तक उनका हेलिकाॅप्टर उन्हें ले जाता. अपने संसदीय क्षेत्रों से अधिक नेताओं ने विदेशी भ्रमण किए, जहां वे हमेशा सपरिवार ही जाते थे. इसी जनता ने ऐसा दवाब बनाया कि पार्टी दो हिस्सों में विभाजित हो गई.

जनयुद्ध के लक्ष्य को हासिल करने के दावे के साथ पार्टी के एक बड़े हिस्से ने प्रचण्ड की अध्यक्षता वाली पार्टी को त्याग दिया. इस विभाजन ने पहाड़ी क्षेत्र से एकीकृत माओवादी पार्टी के पैर उखाड़ दिए. पुराने दौर में पार्टी का गढ़ माने जाने वाले रोल्पा के थवाग गांव में एक भी मत न पड़ना पार्टी के कमजोर हो जाने का सबसे बड़ा सबूत है.

इन दो कारणों के अलावा पार्टी की हार का एक और कारण भी है. पिछले समय में पार्टी में आंतरिक लोकतंत्र को पूरी तरह समाप्त कर दिया गया था. पार्टी के महत्वपूर्ण निर्णय दक्षिण के पड़ोसी को ध्यान में लेकर लिए जा रहे थे. प्रधानमंत्री पद पर बाबुराम भट्टराई के कार्यकाल में भारत और अन्य देशों के साथ ऐसे समझौते हुए, जो खुद पार्टी की लाइन के विपरीत थे. ये सभी समझौते पार्टी में बिना चर्चा किए लिए गए. कई निर्णयों का पार्टी की मीटिंगों में व्यापक विरोध भी हुआ. जनसेना के शिविरों को नेपाली सेना को सौपें जाने के निर्णय के खिलाफ तो स्वयं पार्टी के कार्यकताओं में मशाल जुलूस निकालकर विरोध किया था.

चुनाव से ऐन पहले पार्टी के टिकट बंटवारे की प्रक्रिया में भी पार्टी के नियमों का पालन नहीं किया गया. पुराने कार्यकर्ताओं की कीमत पर पैसे और रसूख वाले नए लोगों को टिकट दिए गए. सैकड़ों पार्टी कार्यकर्ताओं को चुनाव से पहले ही पार्टी ने नाराज हो गए और चुनाव में किसी भी तरह की सक्रिय भूमिका से खुद को अलग कर लिया.

साथ ही टिकट बंटवारे की अलोकतांत्रिक प्रक्रिया ने पार्टी के अंदर तमाम गुट-उपगुट को पैदा किया, जो अन्य पार्टी के प्रत्याशी से अधिक अपनी ही पार्टी के प्रत्याशी को हराने के लिए उत्सुक थे. पार्टी नेतृत्व यह भूल गया कि नेपाल में कार्यकर्ता वोट देता है, जनता नहीं. नेपाल का बहुसंख्य वोटर किसी न किसी पार्टी का सदस्य होता है, इसलिए कार्यकर्ता को नाराज करना हमेशा महंगा पड़ता है.

दूसरी तरफ इस बार के चुनाव परिणाम भारत की कूटनीतिक विफलता भी है. प्रचण्ड के नेतृत्व वाली माओवादी पार्टी के कमजोर होने से मोहन वैद्य ‘किरण’ की लाइन ‘स्वतः’ सही साबित हो जाएगी. नेपाल की राजनीति में हाल में कमजोर हुआ भारत विरोधी स्वर एक बार फिर मुखर हो जाएगा और जल्द ही प्रचण्ड एक बार फिर घोर भारत विरोधी नारों के साथ कार्यकताओं को सम्बोेधित करते नजर आयेंगे. इसके अलावा भारत के माओवादियों को भी इस परिणाम से वैचारिक साहस अवश्य प्राप्त होगा. इस पार्टी के अंदर भी वे आवाजें हाशिए पर चली जाएंगी, जो नेपाल का हवाला देकर संसदीय राजनीति की प्रासंगिकता को साबित करने में लगी थीं. बहुत मुमकिन है कि प्रचण्ड समर्थक इस हार का ठीकरा बाबुराम भट्टराई के सर पर फोड़ें और उन्हे पार्टी से चलता होना पड़े.

थोड़ा सा पीछे जाकर देखें कि संविधान सभा का विघटन बाबुराम के प्रधानमंत्री पद पर रहते हुए हुआ था और इसे बहाना बनाकर हार के लिए उन्हें दोषी ठहराया जा सकता है. बाबुराम के जाने से पार्टी के अंदर भारत समर्थक पक्ष कमजोर हो जाएगा. सबसे दिलचस्प बात है कि किरण समूह के पार्टी से अलग होने के बाद बाबुराम पहले से ही कमजोर हैं. पिछले समय में वैचारिक स्तर पर भीषण मतांतर के बावजूद किरण ने हमेशा बाबुराम के खिलाफ किसी भी कार्रवाही का विरोध किया था. अब जबकि उनके खेमे के लोग चुनाव में हार चुके होंगे, तो उनका वैसे भी कोई खास उपयोगिता पार्टी के लिए नहीं होगी.

मोहन वैद्य ‘किरण’ के नेतृत्व वाली माओवादी पार्टी के बारे में जिन लोगों को यह लग रहा है कि चुनाव का बहिष्कार करने के चलते नेपाल की यह माओवादी पार्टी अप्रासंगिक हो जाएगी, उन्हें एक बार फिर सोचने की जरूरत है. उदार लोकतंत्र का सबसे जरूरी सबक यह है कि विरोधी का सबसे अच्छा स्थान संसद है. संसद से बाहर विरोधी अधिक ताकतवर साबित होता है.

किरण माओवादी पार्टी को निषेध कर चुनाव करने के फलस्वरूप नेपाल की राजनीति में वह सबसे बड़ी ताकत बन गई है. साथ ही, आने वाले दिनों में प्रचण्ड से टूटकर इस पार्टी में शामिल होने की प्रक्रिया को तीव्रता मिलेगी और लोकतांत्रिक बदलाव के तमाम दावों की हवा निकल जाएगी. प्रचण्ड की हार वास्तव में भारत की कूटनीति की एक और पराजय है. ऐसा लगता है कि भारत को गलती करने में मजा आता है. फिर दक्षिण एशिया में तो उसने जहां कहीं भी हाथ डाला है, चीजों को बुरी तरह फंसा दिया है. श्रीलंका, मालद्वीव, बांगलादेश और अब नेपाल भारत की कूटनीति के दिवालियेपन के सबूत हैं.

प्रचण्ड के नेतृत्व वाली पार्टी के लिए आगे का रास्ता लगभग बंद है. वह लौटकर फिर से जनयुद्ध का रास्ता नहीं ले सकती और न ही इस पराजय के बाद खुद को एक रख सकती है. जैसा कि जीत के अतिविश्वास में पार्टी ने अपने ही काडरों को टिकट नहीं दिया और 2008 के बाद पार्टी से जुड़े अधिकांश रसूखदार लोगों को अपने ही कार्यकर्ताओं को विश्वास में लिए बिना टिकट दिया गया.

अब जबकि परिणाम आ गए हैं पार्टी में विद्रोह की आशंका बन रही है. जल्द ही पार्टी कई टुकड़ों में बंट सकती है, लेकिन इससे भी पहले वे लोग जो जीत की आशा के साथ पार्टी में शामिल हुए थे वे पार्टी को अलविदा कह सकते हैं. साथ ही, यदि प्रचण्ड पर हार की नैतिक जिम्मेदारी डालने का प्रयास होता है, तो हो सकता है वे ऐसी मांग करने वालों को पार्टी से खुद ही अलग कर दें.

नेपाल के राजनीतिक भविष्य का अनुमान लगाना हमेशा से ही जोखिम भरा रहा है, लेकिन एक बात तय है कि आने वाले दिनों में वहां का राजनीतिक संकट और गहराएगा. एक बड़ी पार्टी का इस तरह कमजोर होना नेपाल के लोकतांत्रिक भविष्य के लिए भले ही अच्छा संकेत न हो, लेकिन सामाजिक बदलाव की राजनीति करने वालों के ध्रुवीकरण करने में इसकी महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका होगी.

एकीकृत माओवादी पार्टी की हार ने नेपाली जनता के सामने फिर एक बार स्पष्ट कर दिया है कि आमूल परिवर्तन के उसके लक्ष्य के लिए संसदीय रास्ता बहुत दूर तक साथ नहीं दे सकता है और जब तक नेपाल में भारत परस्त पार्टियों का दबदबा है, तब तक बदलाव की उसकी आशा रेगिस्तान में मृग-मरिचिका के समान है. हर बार आधे अधूरे बदलाव ने उसे वहीं लाकर खड़ा कर दिया है, जहां से वह शुरुआत करती है. 1950 से लोकतंत्र और सार्वभौमिकता की लड़ाई लड़ रही नेपाल की एक बार फिर छली गई. यह पराजय संघर्ष की उसकी जीजिविषा को खत्म करती है या तेज यह तो भविष्य तय करेगा, लेकिन यह बात तय है कि उसकी लड़ाई का अगला अध्याय एकीकृत माओवादी पार्टी की हार के साथ आरंभ हो गया है.

(23 नवंबर 2013 को जनपथ और जनज्वार में प्रकाशित )

वि.श.

Posted in Nepal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nepal: Back to Square One

Posted by chimeki on December 4, 2013

With the defeat of the Maoist party in Nepal’s Constituent Election the hope for a peaceful-democratic solution of its political and social crises too has suffered a dent. Although the results can hardly be considered as surprising, the outcome will, for sure, have a long term impact on the transformational politics of the Himalayan country. The Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (UML) emerging as the first and the second largest party once again sent Nepal back to square one. This might not impact the making of the Constitution, rather it may even accelerate the process. However, the results will be a setback to those who thought that a Maoist victory through democratic means would bring about a radical transformation of the society.

The arrival of the Maoist in Nepal’s political map was a watershed event. Ten years of ‘People’s War’ thoroughly changed the power equation at the grass-root level. The movement brought in front the issues hitherto considered irrelevant in the country’s political manoeuvring.

However, post 2013 CA election the political situation has gone back to that of the 1990s because it is the same two parties which had then played the major role in the drafting of the Constitution have taken the lead this time too. And there is no reason to believe they have changed their views in the period between 1990 and 2013. Unlike the Constituent Assembly of 2008, the current one is far from being called a representative Assembly. The facts so far available suggest that the women’s representation in the current Assembly has come down to 10 under FPTP which was 29 in 2008. Overall, the Constituent Assembly of 2008 had 47, 196, 192, 191 representatives from dalits, madhesis, janajatis and women respectively. The madhesi parties, at present scenario, will have no more than 40 seats.

With Maoists losing badly their agenda too will be put on the back seat. Oneo f their major demands was that of the land reform. During the people’s war the Maoists redistributed the land to the poor under the slogan ‘land to the tiller’. This was generally considered a step in the right direction because this was essential for economic development of any kind. After joining the mainstream the Maoists tried to legalise the redistribution process but failed due to lack of political support. On the contrary in the name of abiding by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed between the Maoists and the Seven Party Alliance, they were even forced to give back land ceased from the big landlords. While doing so the Maoists had assured that once the Constitution is written they would ensure revolutionary redistribution of the land. It is generally agreed that without the land reform Nepal will never be able to increase productivity.

According to the available data, 26 per cent of the Nepalese population is landless. Moreover, 10 per cent rich peasants of Nepal own 65 per cent of the Nepal’s total agricultural land.

The next important question that the Maoists tried to address was the question of federalism. Nepal, although a small country situated between two giant neighbours, India and China, consists of many nationalities. The Maoists have proposed creation of 11 autonomous provinces based on ethnic identity, language, economic interrelations, infrastructure development, availability of natural resources and administrative accessibility.  Had they succeeded, Nepal would have moved into an era of inclusivity.

Now that the parties which have often discarded the idea of Constituent Assembly for Nepal have become the largest and the second largest parties the whole idea of an inclusive constitution is shattered. The Nepali Congress and the UML, which was then the biggest party in the collation called United Left Front,  which led the 1990’s movement against the absolute Monarchy have gained almost a two-third majority in the current assembly. Then also these two parties broadly negotiated the constitution’s clauses with then King Birendra. To clear any doubt what so ever, the former Prime Minister and senior leader of UML Madhav Nepal has already suggested that the 1990’s constitution might be issued without the clause for monarchy in it! More or less this is also the position of Nepali Congress.

In this complex time, if the two big parties allow themselves to be swayed by numbers then they are not only ignoring the people’s aspiration but also sowing seeds of future troubles. It is now fallen onto the Nepali Congress and the UML to show that they are committed to the aspiration of Nepalese people for failing to do so will not be healthy for the future of the fledgling democracy. Though the Maoists did not repeat their performance but their agenda of inclusive and participatory democracy is still valid. Likewise the major demands of a revolutionary or land reform and representative federalism shouldn’t also be ignored.

There are several reasons for the Maoists defeat. They lost because they tried to negate the consensual politics. They could not hold hands and walk together. Or perhaps they lost because they did not listen to their own constituency. And if the Nepali Congress and UML act as the Maoists did, they too might meet the same fate in the next Constituent Assembly election!

V.S.

Posted in Nepal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Maoists: Down and Out in Nepal

Posted by chimeki on December 2, 2013

Courtesy: www.newagebd.com

Photo courtesy: http://www.newagebd.com

In the recently concluded Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) Election, the Maoists were routed. The Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (UML) reversed their performances, while the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), UCPNM, the biggest in the previous CA, came a distant third.

The Maoists cannot blame anyone but themselves for the loss. They fell victim to their own doing or not doing anything at all. The leaders turned their backs on the warnings boldly written on the walls. Instead, they painted the walls of unfulfilled promises with new and eloquent slogans. In the process they forgot that they were trying to fool the same people who they themselves trained not to be fooled during the decade long People’s War.

Broadly, there are three main reasons for their poor performance. Firstly, they overestimated their influence in the Terai (plains). In 2007, the region witnessed a big movement for Terai people’s rights. The major force behind the movement was Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum led by its charismatic leader Upendra Yadav. Upendra Yadav was trained in the Maoist school of politics. A protégé of another big leader of the Madhes, Matrika Yadav, he rose to higher echelon of the Maoist leadership before his sudden fall. In the last phase of the Maoist Movement, he was charged with leaking information about the top leaders’ to Indian intelligence. Nevertheless, he survived the chase. In 2007, Yadav emerged from oblivion as an undisputed leader of the Madhesi people. When the Maoists dropped their arms, his Forum took up arms against them. Same year in March, the Forum activists murdered 27 people, including women, in Gaur. Those killed were mostly the Maoist sympathizers. The massacre served its purpose when the then government sent an invitation for talk. The talk concluded with 22 point agreement which included martyr status for people killed during Madhesi Movement (Forum activits) and closing all the cases included the Gaur massacre case.

The Madhesi movement which, as is believed broadly in Nepal and elsewhere, emerged on Indian support, started degenerating quickly.  For India it had served its purpose and considering the geopolitics pros and cons India could not afford to feed another LTTE. The Forum began to shatter and in five years nothing remained of its 2007 avatar.

The Maoists fancied their chances on the ruins of the Forum. They thought they could fill the void left by the Forum. However, the Madhesi people thought otherwise. Instead of showing confidence in the Maoists they chose their old friends. The Nepali Congress was able to win back its lost territory. Baring a small period, the Madhes had always been a stronghold of the Nepali Congress. Hence, the Maoists’ gamble in Madhes didn’t pay.

Secondly, the Maoists tasted defeat because they ignored their own cadre. In Nepal, it is the cadre who win election for a party. The Maoists completely sidelined their cadre’s aspirations. They traded tickets for money and might. Thus, the alienated cadre didn’t whole heartedly campaign for the party. In few places there were news of revolts too.

Lastly, the split in the party was the most important reason for its defeat. In 2012, a strong faction of the party led by senior leader Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ split to revive the old ideals of the party. They named the new party, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPNM). The new party ably united all those who either felt that the old party had deviated from its goal or who felt ignored by its leadership. The majority of the people who extended their support to the new party were the same people who formed the main base of the People’s Liberation Army of the Maoist party and worked in the ground during the Maoist movement. These people know nothing but to ceaselessly work, as they claim, for the people. Since 2008 there were very few leaders who visited their respective constituencies. The people were outraged with their representatives. Sensing the opportunity, the new party immediately began to fill the leadership gap. In less than a year the party became a force to reckon with. It organized many successful bands (shut downs) and forced the government to initiate dialogue and later it led the election boycott movement with relative success.

It was not that the UPNM did not know the ground reality. It did. Based on the reports from its members it decided to concentrate on the Madhes instead of its old stronghold in the hills. Many big leaders filed their nomination from more than one place. Even big shots like Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai contested from two places. And wisely so, because both of them lost one of the seats they contested. Prachanda lost from Kathmandu 10 and Baburam failed to win from Rupandehi 4.

Post election, it is too early to predict anything for UCPNM. During its long existence in Nepal’s political theater it has seen many ups and downs. However, in the present crisis it is without its old guards who have always sailed it through. The present leadership mainly consists of those who either joined the party in the middle of the movement or after. Of course there are people who fought the battles but they still don’t actually possess the political depth required to deal in the time of crisis. Hence it will be wise to just say that after the election the battle of survival for the Maoists has just began.

V.S.

Posted in Nepal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: