Nepal Today

Saturday, April 13, 2013

SUSHIL KOIRALA SAYS HE’LL SMASH FOUR PARTY SYNDICATE Kathmandu, 13 April: NC President Sushil Koirala said Friday he’ll talk with Mohan Baidhaya of CPN Maoist and Upendra yadav and urge them to join elections. Koirala said he’s waiting to lake over leadership of a body of four arties to smash it and bring the opposition into election politics. Prachanda is current of the ‘syndicate’ and leadership changes every month. Koirala called the four groupsor parties a’ syndicate’ like opposition parties.s ‘I’ll plead with them with folded hands, even tie their hands and feet, and create an environment for election with their cooperation. :”I’ll’ include them in the political mechanism by breaking the our-party syndicate,’Lpirala added whilespeaking to reportersin the capital. The move will start after Prachanda returns from China, Koirala added. Nnnn OPINION Nepali Congress’ crowning catch-22 Kathmandu, 13 April: seems to be an outbreak of nationalism angst in the middle rungs of the Nepali Congress. Be it on the asphyxiating hold of international stakeholders or the issue of domestic federalism, leaders of Nepal’s self-proclaimed single democratic party these leaders have awakened to the nation’s existential peril, Maila Baje writes in Nepali Netbook.. From Shekhar Koirala to Mahesh Acharya to Minendra Rijal, the imperative of an immediate course correction has come out in variety of ways. Some have belatedly recognized how they have used in a hasty plunge into national reinvention; others are suffocating on the sidelines. B.P. Koirala, the party’s presiding deity, always excited the faithful. Yet today, when party members mouth his call for fusing democracy and nationalism, they do so by much more than paying lip service. Congress leaders and workers may not say it aloud, but the torment is traceable to the party’s abandonment of its traditional commitment to constitutional monarchy. Whatever may have led the late Girija Prasad Koirala to hurtle toward full-blown republicanism – exasperation, a sense of history, ambition or an outright quest for revenge – there were those who were dubious of the rupture from the outset. Forced to choose between fealty to democracy and monarchy, it certainly seemed fashionable for the party to ditch the palace. There was also a certain smugness about the separation. The idea that the party would require enough basic relevance in order to be able to hoist the banner of democracy was simply discounted. What energized the Nepali Congress during good times and bad was its ability to combine its commitment to democracy and monarchy into a call for action. Even when the party attempted to murder two kings, it could assert with enough credibility that it was merely targeting autocratic monarchy. Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal proudly insists that the Nepali Congress has lost much of its significance simply because Nepal is now a republic. Nepali Congress leaders and workers who thought they were doing the monarchy a favor are today feeling its absence. What can the Nepali Congress do? Platitudes on peace and prosperity can only lead them so far among the people. At least the communists have the organization and regimentation to drag along a dead ideology. With the departure of Girija Koirala, the party has become an even more pathetic collection of individuals battling extinction. Thus, the more important question is, what will the Nepali Congress do? Reversing its abandonment of constitutional monarchy will hardly seem credible, even with an overdose of contrition. Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal has a stronger case there. Many Nepali Congress leaders, by virtue of their recent silence on the issue of monarchy, look more dignified than, say, Surya Bahadur Thapa and Pashupati Shamsher Rana. (The first of these avowed republicans, Maila Baje recalls, once wanted King Birendra to hang B.P. Koirala, while the second, as education minister during the 1979 student protests, thought he could simply snuff out those on the streets before he finally resigned.) Still, a Nepali Congress alliance with so-called nationalist forces will divert too much attention on the meanings of both ‘alliance’ and ‘nationalism’. Let’s say such an amalgamation does become the dominant political force – one that might even lead to the restoration of the monarchy. What would the Nepali Congress do about the damage that has already been done to Nepal’s ability to exercise its sovereign options? Here, the onus would fall heavily on the Nepali Congress, too, because much of that damage was inflicted by its rash desertion of the monarchy in the first place. nnnn WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD Kathmandu, 13 April: “White as angel is every child,” wrote the English poet William Blake, provoking a lot of debate on his definition of the color of an angel. The English dramatist George Bernard Shaw disagreed, advocating vitality more than anything else by the Fabian socialist with great reputation as a dramatist. Trival Vastavik writes in People’s Review. . In other words, prejudice affects many a mind, carrying with it the burden of inherent issues and adverse results as well. This is the problem with us Nepalis who have suffered a traumatic period these past seven years that have given easy invitations to foreign governments and agencies to set their agendas as if they were our own. Their prescription has been far worse than the actual problem. The period since May 2006 has been a time of terrifying frustrations, tormented as the people are amid a sea of problems in an ocean of uncertainty staring at them. There have been more murders, rapes, corruption and lawlessness than ever since the end of Rana autocracy in 1951. Unemployment has reached scary scales without any hope of it being remedied to a reasonable level for at least the next 20 years. Even after five years, there will be a 12-hour daily electricity supply interruption. The three-party syndicate of UCPN Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN (UML), for all intent and purpose, advocates power, power and still power. Paraphrasing Shaw’s oft quoted line for an adaptation in this context, one may say: He who can does; he, who cannot, preaches. That explains the remarkable rise and equally fierce fall of the three-party syndicate’s leaders who are in the habit of detesting and denouncing discipline and consistency as unloktantrik or status-quoists in order to justify their utter failure. They sang a chorus disparaging, dismissing, denouncing or denying everything associated with the past. Their libelous labels against rivals go unchallenged because of a conspiracy of silence or exclusion of those who beg to differ with those in the control of the big media houses and party activists pretending to be civil society representatives. While poverty and penury as constant company stare at an average citizen, politicians are in a ruthless race for power, posts and privileges. Their lust for power and wealth has made them ditch the high principles they spoke of and the torrential promises made so lavishly. Leaders of all the so-called “major parties” have shown their sole interest in power as the prime target. The exhortation of people’s cause is only a means to collect votes and enjoy unrestrained power by any means and at any cost. Relentless deterioration in political practices has been the prevailing norm even since Girija Prasad Koirala dissolved the first elected parliament after the 1990 restoration of multiparty democracy. The NC leader’s personal whim was the beginning of the end of the 1990 constitution that was hailed by both the NC and the UML as “the world’s best.” In the NC, intraparty rift, backstabbing, humiliation of NC’s founding members like Ganesh Man Singh and Krishna Prasad Koirala and steep factionalism were the result. Sher Bahadur Deuba aggravated the situation by formally splitting the party and also dissolving a duly elected parliament but failing to hold elected as he publicly vowed. In the CPN (UML), too, personal ambitions and factionalism overtook the lofty ideals its leaders had propagated. The party split and accused rivals with vile charges day in and day out. They resorted to shameless horse-trading and many of its leaders’ lifestyles suddenly and dramatically changed through means not legally confirmed but widely suspected to be dubious and, indeed, beyond their known sources of income. This has left people becoming wistful of a communist leader like the late Man Mohan Adhikary, who became South Asia’s first elected communist prime minister in 1994. After a few years’ split, both NC and UML united with their splinter respective groups but without any improvement in their orientation and basic mode of operation to this day. In fact, they caused the party status to steadily fall. Just as Madan Bhandari had declared that the Girija Prasad Koirala government would be toppled within months after its installation in 1991 and organized his forces in the streets, the Nepali Congress four years later worked overtime to bring down the Adhikary-headed minority government. The toppling game became a regular feature, which also showed how low the major political parties and their leaders went to extract power and undercut the opponents. The “infant democracy” was severely affected by such acrimony at a time when the country should have been steered in a manner that would have delivered development results with significantly positive effects on the living standards of an average Nepali of this impoverished nation. Whenever the going got tough for him and his personal ambitions, Girija Prasad used to warn against a “grand design.” Eventually, he himself fell to a design at the cost of immense long-term national interests. He reduced his party to a fringe group as far as its initiatives, agendas and national influence are concerned. The NC and others should not hesitate to learn from such errors and hasten to rectify it without any more delay. False assessment and misplaced pride will not do, be it in politics or elsewhere. The NC’s status today is the worst ever since 1951, including the decades when it was banned and it worked underground most of the time. CPN (UML) had a heady start in 1991 when it emerged as the main opposition with 68 seats in the 105-member House of Representatives. Although it initiated a virulent attack against the Koirala government in 1992, its popularity increased, as was tellingly told when it emerged as the largest party in the new parliament elected in 1994. The Adhikary-led cabinet introduced a series of measures that shook the NC and others in the opposition who feared that the communist party government would perform even better in the next elections and rule “for another 20 years.” As a result, an era of horse-trading raised its ugly, disgusting head in Nepali politics. What is best solution? To begin with, the major parties need to honestly atone for their past misdeeds. Otherwise the recently introduced cascade of troubles will only worsen and clear the room for foreign capitals to treat us as their pawns in their chessboard of their own interests and agendas. nnnn


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