Nepal Today

Saturday, December 18, 2010

MAOISTS READY TO BRING COMBATANTS UNDERS SPECIAL COMMITTEE

Kathmandu, 18 Dec.: Maoist Chairman Prachanda said Saturday UCPN (Maoist) is ready to be ’flexible’ and bring 19,000 plus former combatants under the special committee headed by the prime minister.
He told this to reporters at his residence UNMIN prepares to go home by 15 Jaanuary2011 after four years of a failed and questionable mission.
But it has shifted blame on political parties even though it lobbied to take up responsibilities even by secretly negotiating with Maoists in New Delhi’s outskirt even when the party was declared a terrorist organization.
Prachanda called for ‘a package solution including power sharing’ to bring Maoists under the committee.
He said ‘putting conditions;’ on Maoists ‘were creating a problem’.
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PARAS ACCUSED OF ATTEMPTING TO BE LEADER

Kathmandu, 18 Dec.: Maoist Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai said Saturday former Crown Prince Paras laws ‘trying to take benefit of the transition’ and ‘differences between political parties; to ‘attempt to be a leader’.
He levelled the accusation in the capital.
Bhattarai admitted Paras had been popularly received by people
and ‘lackeys’ after ana altercation with he Bangladeshi son-in –law of Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala.
The Maoist leader said ‘democratic principles and values’ had been
sidelined by parties and accused the then crown prince for
attempting to raise the ‘nationalist’ bogey.
He used derogatory words against Shah and called the turnaround
in favour of the former crown prince ‘ufortunate’.
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MAOIST MENDACITY OF HOPE

Kathmandu, 18 Dec.: So the Maoists have now unequivocally conceded that they had espoused the mainstream opposition’s version of democracy only to uproot the monarchy. The real news for Maila Baje lay not in Maoist leader Dev Gurung’s blatant repudiation of loktantra but in the public exasperation of the Nepali Congress’ Ram Chandra Poudel, Maila Baje writes in Nepali Netbook.
In retrospect, the 12-point agreement was the culmination of a thought prevailing in a section of the Indian establishment from the start. A Pushpa Lal-Bharat Shamsher-B.P. Koirala alliance against the palace was never really outside the realm of possibility. Nor was its corollary of whipping up Nepal’s ethnic, linguistic and religious disparities to demolish the international identity the country saw so essential to its survival. However, the evident risks of pursuing those courses long outweighed the expected benefits. Those files were stacked away somewhere, but certainly were not gathering dust.
When the equations changed toward the end of 2005, the Maoists and the mainstream parties were brought together in an alliance against the palace. The Maoists were no doubt in search of a safe landing. But clearly, in that instance, New Delhi had read them the riot act. Still, in consenting to become the propellant of the anti-palace campaign, the Maoists must have tried to gauge what India’s real objections to the monarchy were.
It was certainly not any sickening displays of opulence. Nor could it have stemmed from any aversion to the feudalistic heritage many ex-royals have injected in their political reincarnations across party lines in India. How only one of the three Himalayan monarchies independent India considered irksome managed to survive was best answered by the content of the relationship Bhutan had developed with New Delhi. Top Maoist leader, for their part, were quite perceptive about this reality in the words they wrote and spoke.
In the 2008 elections, the Maoists managed to avoid the political marginalization the architects of the 12-point agreement had envisaged for them. So when the ex-rebels, once in power, chose to tilt toward China, there was some expectation that they were fully prepared for the fallout in the interrogatory and retaliatory forms. Admittedly, taming an organized political force that had emerged with the largest share of votes in elections certified as free and fair should have been harder for the Indians. But the Maoists chose almost to flaunt how every step aimed at assuaging Beijing was, by extension, one aimed at infuriating New Delhi.
Out of power, the Maoists were still best placed to prove how a nation’s expectation of fortifying itself against the convulsions created by the complicated relations between the two regional giants could not be called hubris. But, as the Palungtar conclave demonstrated, the former rebels were more interested in papering over their internal rifts by identifying principal, secondary and tertiary enemies in a preposterous claim to capture state power.
If Gurung’s claim seemed to sound less a statement of fact than an admission of remorse, there is good reason.
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DOWN TO GROUND REALITY

Kathmandu, 18 Dec.: As the world's youngest republic struggles to get out of the mess and chaos created by especially the mainstream political parties, Nepalis see no sign of any respite anywhere in close sight. A generation is doomed for gloom and much worse. This is not a question of being a pessimist; the assessment is based on a strong trend that remains far from encouraging, by Trikal Vastavik in People’s Review.

The tragedy is that we Nepalis, over the decades, have learnt to do something in a great rush and silently regret the same long after it gets too late. We have not just missed the bus again and again but also deliberately dumped the vital vehicles repeatedly. The consequences naturally become abnormally excruciating. But then these conditions are all our own creation—a price for failing to energize our spines and willpower for a cause that protects the good values that do invite regret in subsequent times.

Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda is no more than man who held so much attention as to what his next move would be. His rhetoric make boring hearing, his attacks do not hold any more, thanks to the frequent U-turns he makes in accordance with the convenience of expediency. He talked of India preventing him from becoming the prime minister, accusing the southern neighbor of interfering in Nepal's domestic affairs. New Delhi is furious at the man who is seen biting the hands that fed.

An embassy staff at Lainchaur, fuming over the shoe-throwing incident at Solu by a prominent Maoist leader not long ago, was surprised that Prachanda forgot how he was able to walk freely at the outskirts of the Indian capital in NOIDA area for eight and a half years. During those years, the Indian government had declared the Maoist organization a terrorist group. "Yeh to time timeki baat hay RAWni"!

As soon as he landed at Kathmandu's International Airport after a visit to China in October, the Maoist leader announced that his hosts in the world's largest communist country had asked him to foster better ties with New Delhi. Earlier, this author is aware, Beijing officials used to advise the Nepali Maoists to join forces with "nationalist forces". Now they have begun advising to the Maoists befriend, and not antagonize, New Delhi.

Loud and clear, Beijing does not trust the Maoists. It tolerates them simply to get some hold on them for communication. Embassy officials at Baluwatar make cryptic remark on the "volubility" of the Maoists. If the Chinese did ask Prachanda to improve ties with New Delhi, it was a play scripted in Beijing, performed by Prachanda for the sole audience made up of New Delhi. Prachanda, however, found his ego overly boosted and self-importance skyrocketing, little realizing that he was only being used as a tool to dart pinpricks at New Delhi. Remember how the Chinese government summoned the Indian ambassador in Beijing at an unearthly hour of 1 O' Clock in the morning last year?

Prachanda is yet to be allowed to visit New Delhi, despite his public application for the same.

The Maoists have played most of their cards too soon and too recklessly. The speed with which they have lost their credibility with other mainstream political parties is astonishing. The "intellectuals" who joined the party in the hope of quick benefits and profits have apparently failed to voice advice to their boss.

Prachanda is no more the man he was four years ago; for that matter, not even the man he was last year even shortly after stepping down as prime minister. The manner in which he fell for the bait begging for resigning has everyone in his party regret except those who had wanted him to fall flat out of power. The issue raised over the then Chief of the Army Staff, Rookmangud Katawal, especially in hindsight, looks nothing less than ridiculous. Katawal, after completing his full term, is going about attacking the Maoists.

The media now give the retired COAS quite a space in contrast to how they earlier used to label him as a royal palace "protégé", though some royalists continue describing him as "spineless" and someone caring for his "own skin" than anyone else's. In the immediate aftermath of the 2005-6 political movement of the seven-party alliance, some of the media bosses were critical of Gen. Katawal for what he wrote under the pen name of Ajay P. Nath.

When he eventually made it to the top army post, Katawal was keen in meeting party activists working for political parties. He wined and dined them regularly in what was seen as an attempt at building good rapport with the new ones with power and those close to the new power equations.

Rumors that he would join the Nepali Congress proved wrong. The rumormongers failed to assess that Katawal is no vote getter. Moreover, party members have begun to assert their "seniority" with greater vigor than previously. And the former COAS is smart enough to know that joining a party as a simple member would land him nowhere, hence his forays elsewhere.

Prachanda's downfall from the prime ministerial chair he came to love so lustily was hastened by the ruckus he raised over Katawal's continuation in office. Katawal managed to scrape through the maze of hurdles created by the Maoists to become the COAS. Prachanda blows hot now and cold later in a display of inconsistency that has disgusted some of his own party colleagues.

The Maoists' Palungtar meet exposed Prachanda's fast loosening grip in the party organization. Party folks want performance and delivery. The once all-powerful has not been able to do anything of the kind these past four years years. That is why many Maoists are gradually reassessing their leaders and are beginning to give the benefit of doubt to Dr. Bhattarai, despite the Prachanda-camp tag of Bhattarai being too close to New Delhi for declared party and national interest.

Gen. Katawal seems to be desperate for a forum to exhibit his "talent". So far there is no serious buyer in the major parties. Katawal's erstwhile patrons and supporters have closed the doors on him. But it is true that Katawal may have a card or two he could produce, provided he gets a credible forum for mutual benefit. He could join the Maoists, i.e. if Prachanda does a somersault with the unpredictability he is so well known for.
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