Nepal Today

Thursday, November 29, 2012

UML’S YOUTH ASSOCIATIN MEET FROM FRIDAY Kathmandu, 29 Nov.: The national convention of opposition UML´s Youth Association Nepal (YAN) to amend the association’s statute is being held in the capital from Friday. The venue was shifted from the far-West Altogether 513 delegated are participating. nnnn PISTOLS THROWN AS GARBAGE RECOVERED Kathmandu, 29 Nov.: Three pistols dumped as garbage were recovered by police Thursday from under Ratopul in the capital. Four rounds of bullets were also recovered. Nnnn NC STUDENTS CONTINUE ANTI-GOVT. PROTESTS IN FRONT OF CAMPUSES Kathmandu, 29 Nov.: Students affiliated with main opposition contined anti-government and anti-protests Thursday. They protested in front of campuses in the Valley demanding ouster of the government of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. nnnn OPINION Katthmandu, 29 Nov.;President Ram Baran Yadav’s call on political parties to name a unanimous candidate for the premiership by November 29 has triggered an interesting variety of responses, Maila Baje writes in Nepali Netbook. The opposition Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist have been thrilled enough to withdraw their anti-government protests. (A great excuse to end what had become a tepid enterprise anyway.) From the other end, the Maoist-led ruling alliance has denounced the president’s move as anti-constitutional. Within the ruling faction of the former Maoist rebels, party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai seem to share opposite views. The Maoist chairman does not seem to be in a mood to immediately question President Yadav’s motives, although Maila Baje feels he has characteristically provided enough room for skullduggery as events unfold. The prime minister – at least in the voices of two leading surrogates – foresees doom. Devendra Poudel, a top Bhattarai aide, calls the presidential appeal ‘unconstitutional’ and even a precursor to a full-blown coup. Finance Minister Barsa Man Pun – another key Bhattarai loyalist – believes Yadav’s activism is ultimately aimed at restoring the 1990 statute, complete with the monarchy and official Hindu statehood, perhaps even with the connivance of the rival Maoist faction led by Mohan Baidya. As the principal putative target of the president’s activism, it is natural for Dr. Bhattarai and his loyalists to sound the loudest alarm. The prime minister must have been rankled also by the fact that the president’s call came merely a day after he had, in a televised address to the nation, asserted that he was ready to step down if a broader national consensus could be forged. Still, let us assume for a moment that the magic consensus premier does happen to emerge in some form. In the implausible event that Dr. Bhattarai succeeds in transforming himself into a premier supported by all the parties, would he be able to overcome the bad blood his very existence in the high office has generated thus far? Mahant Thakur of the Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party, the man many consider likely to emerge as the consensus premier, is a respected former Nepali Congress member. He was the unlikeliest of the politicians to go regional amid the post-2006 realignment. Yet what situation might a line-up of a Madhesi president, vice-president and prime minister create at a time when grievances – real and manufactured – show no sign of abating? A technocrat, a former Supreme Court chief justice or a civil society luminary might represent as a welcome departure from professional politicians taking turns. But where will such a personality turn for the organizational backbone to press ahead on what promises to be an even more tumultuous road ahead? Responding to a virtual government censure of his call, President Yadav insists that he would abide by the (interim) constitution in all his actions. Missing from the entire debate are the people. No anecdotal evidence based on public participation, private confabs or social-media activism can substantiate what they really desire. Having gained full sovereignty, they are justified in their discontent. Yet, truth be told, they are equally entitled to doing nothing. This is the great imponderable, indeed, that drives and derides us all. Nnnn NEPAL FACES CHRONIC TEMPESTS IN TEAPOT Kathmandu, 20 Nov.:First it was Jhala Nath Khanal (“JN”), president of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marixst-Leninist), who bore the burnt of the wrath of a party worker who slapped him in the face at a function in Sunsari district. Next to be the target of a similar anger was Nepali Congress chief Sushil “Da” Koirala, also at a party program, in Kathmandu, Trikal Vastavik wrotes in People’s Review.. On November 16, it was none other than Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal who prefers to be known as “Prachanda,” or the “Feared One,” who suffered a stinging slap from a former Maoist troop trying to score the point that Dahal no longer inspires the awesome fear he generated when his armed troops rampaged and hacked their way through the villages and towns during their decade-long insurgency. Padam Kunwar, a former Maoist armed trooper whose family members had joined the rebel group, slapped the boss at the party’s reception hosted in the capital by the dominant party in the ruling coalition to mark the “combined celebrations” of at least four festivals. In all the three episodes, violence was involved and the perpetrators belonged to the respective parties of their victims. The attackers, who all wanted to draw attention to their deep disenchantment with their leaders, were roughed by their fellow party members. Khanal and Koirala reacted with relative restraint, but not so Dahal’s lieutenants who say a “big conspiracy” from those who were agianst the “gains of Jana-Andolan.” This has left Nepalis wondering what harmony and stability have the so-called “gains” brought about. Last year Maoist parliamentarian Jhakku Prasad was slapped by a tea stall owner at Koteshwar, within a sling-shot from his party headquarters. The red-faced, helpless MP, who had defeated UML’s Madhav Kumar Nepal in the 2008 elections, did not have enough support at that time to see any “conspiracy” in the attack and had to trot home, perhaps afflicted by flashbacks of the “People’s Liberation” days when innocent villagers lived under constant intimidation and fear. Ignoring their fast eroding public support, the Maoists are trying to equate any attack against them as a “plot by anti-people” elements. They do not seem to realize that the general masses are not moved an inch by such outrageous claims. Violence is always to be condemned but it has equal meaning for all, big or small. So the cycle has come a full circle. The poison-filled seeds sown seven years ago have begun bearing their fruits with a familiar regularity. Nepal’s “top-most” leaders are haunted by their false promises and worse performances. People have suffered them for too long. But not everyone is prepared to take things lying down. Win or lose, some people in a mood to risk the worst if they see a fighting chance to assert their viewpoints, whatever the means employed, the end to them seems to justify it. Disturbingly, intimidation and violence are methods embraced and employed by a number of sections under the banner of political activism. The so-called “Big Three” political parties have a history of resorting to violence in their “struggle” for betterment of the lot of the Nepali people. The Nepali Congress was the first to fall into the pit not once but several times. The CPN (UML) tried similar tactics before joining the national political mainstream and civilized life. The Maoists were the most violent with their armed “struggle” against the state for ten years, although some of its top leaders operated from India for at least eight of these years and causing the deaths of 16,000 people while trillions of rupees evaporated from the rubble created through destruction. Their violence spared neither private citizens nor state personnel and public property. Foreign sharks angling with their agendas and camped across Nepal in not so indistinguishable garbs and incarnations were, as a result, able to run amok. If they had any pretences of the “Good Samaritan” before the confusion filled changes in 2006, they make no such efforts now. Their protégés fronting as civil society leaders, human rights activists, political activists, NGOs members and such other disguises have developed the habit of disposing of what their benefactors propose. No sane mind would condone violence of any kind. But the irony of violence does not get lost against those at one time or the other had themselves fuelled the vehicle of violence and become victims of similar tactics, notably when employed by their one-time party members. The past catches up with the present and the present will keep on repeating itself in the future, that is if folks fail to learn lessons and make the necessary notes in thought, word and deed. This author’s reaction to the spate of attacks against political leaders of the “Big Three” who have not seen Ground Earth for some years now, is exactly the same harbored for the leaders of other “small parties.” The cadres of the large parties who have been exercising absolute power without accountability for six years have been routinely reported to attack one another. The attackers are protected by organizational units if the victims belong to some other group or are ordinary people without the backing of any “major party.” Should there be cases of arrest, a hail of protest against the “false cases” gets loose the quickly the cases pale out of action. If members of a smaller party were to attack someone from a “Big Party,” all hell is let loose. Many arrests are made even if only one or two culprits are actually involved. From April 2006 to the eve of the 2008 elections for the “Legislature-Constituent Assembly,” the three parties of the former panchas (RPP, RPP-N and RJP) found their members unable to freely move about their constituencies. Threats and brutal attacks in addition to smearing of their faces with soot severely restricted their movements. The partisan approach of “civil society’s” uncivil silence made things worse. Human rights champions seemed to be lost in Champaign campaigns instead of being laboured by the “incidents affecting the rightist forces.” INGOs and foreign missions pretended not to notice the nefarious developments. Low voices of concern over the intimidation of opponents by the “Big” parties were treated as unearthly and therefore to be completed ignored. A semi-farce was the result which the posterity is bound to condemn in the strongest terms. Self-centered and power-centric leaders never work for society. Their personal interests take precedence over those of the general public. At the slightest prospect of a threat to their interests, they trade a heap of charges against the rivals within or outside the party. Inter-party accusation, too, are made in similar manner. An analysis of the serious charges they level against one another shows how inimical they can become. Either the accusers are addicted toying shamelessly or they, for once, are speaking the truth in the heat of moment, only to regret it later nonetheless. One therefore comes to the conclusion that the prevailing political perfidy has compelled the general public to become indifferent and dismiss incidents involving a party or its leaders as a mere tempest in a teacup but by no means precluding the gathering storm within hearing distance from quarters other than the “Big” ones. nnnn


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