Nepal Today

Sunday, June 30, 2013

ADD CHAIRMAN REGMI, PRESIDENT MEET Kathmandu, 1 July: Chairman Khil Raj Raj Regmi only briefed the president on political developments Sunday evening. “The president only listened to the briefing. The president didn’t make any comments at today’s briefing,” presidential press aide Rajendra Dahal said. nnnn. NO CLUES ON MISSING NEPALIS IN UTTERKHAND Kathmandu, 1 July: Thirteen days after the flooding and landslides in the Uttarakhand state of India, there is still no clue about the whereabouts of many Nepali pilgrims missing in the incident, Devendra Bhattarai writes in The Kathmandu from New Delhi.. The Uttarakhand government has announced that the death toll of the June 16 disaster could be well over 5,000. Speaker of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly GS Kunjawal claimed on Sunday that the number of deaths could cross 10,000. The announcement has rendered the relatives of the missing victims hopeless. Many of them have started returning home. Raju Rana of Rukum, who was rescued out from landslide debris near Kedarnath, said 15 of his friends working as palanquin carriers are buried under the rubble. Rana, whose lower part of body was crushed by the landslide debris, is admitted in a hospital at Dehradun with spinal cord injury on Satruday. Bharat Bahadur Bam of Bajura was admitted to the hospital with leg injury on Sunday. He was caught in a landslide at Gobindaghat area. Bam’s elder brother, Bhim Bahadur, survived the incident. According to the New Delhi-based Nepali Embassy, nearly 50 Nepalis are still stranded in Guptakashi region.Pushparaj Pandey, a rescue volunteer in Haridwar, said rainfall since Sunday afternoon has hindered the ongoing rescue operation. nnnn NSP, TMLP IN UNIFICATION TALKS Kathmandu, 1 July: In view of the Constituent Assembly (CA) election s, Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Anandidevi) and Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party-Nepal have initiated talks for party unification, The Kathmandu Post reports.. In the second round of talks held on Sunday, leaders from the both parties agreed to go for unification “in principle”. “We are very positive about unification,” said NSP (Anandidevi) Chairperson Sarita Giri. TMLP-N leader Dan Bahadur Chaudary said though they held two rounds of talks, they are yet to decide on structure of the unified party. “One of the suggestions from the other side is forming a large central committee until the CA polls and settling issues after holding a joint general convention,” said Chaudary. He said further details will be discussed in the meeting slated for Wednesday. Likewise, Giri informed that her party is also in parleys with Ram Naresh Raiya-led Rastriya Sadbhawana for possible unification. Meanwhile, a party meeting of the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP) led by Mahanta Thakur is scheduled to meet on Wednesday. In the meeting Chairman Thakur is expected to apprise party leaders of the talks for electoral alliances. The TMLP is said to be holding talks with the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik, Rajendra Mahato-led Sadbhawana Party and Tarai Madhes National Campaign Coordinator Jay Prakash Prasad Gupta. Nnnn INTERVIEW Since the Khil Raj Regmi government was formed with the mandate to hold elections, the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist has consistently opposed the government and plans to hold elections to a new Constituent Assembly (CA). Among its demands are the dissolution of the technocratic Regmi government and the formation of a party-led government through a roundtable. However, a proposal was tabled at Saturday’s Central Committee meeting in Pokhara outlining plans to boycott elections and step up protest programmes. In such a context, The Post’s Roshan Sedhai and Pranaya SJB Rana spoke to CPN-Maoist Vice-chairman and foreign department head CP Gajurel about the possibilities of going to polls, party unity with the UCPN (Maoist) and their protest programmes. Will you go to elections? Our bottom line to go to elections is that the 25-point ordinance needs to be scrapped as it is the root cause of everything else that came after, including the 11-point agreement and the Regmi government. We have a non-party government in a multiparty system. There are so many political parties and yet, our government is being run by bureaucrats. The main root of this situation is the 25-point ordinance. It paved the way for all this and it allowed something that should never have been done—it scrapped more than 20 provisions of the constitution. The President doesn’t have the authority to do this. He says that he did it on the recommendation of the four parties but who gave the four parties this right? The President is called the guardian of the constitution but he himself has betrayed the constitution. But is it possible to reverse the entire political process? It must be reversed. A blunder has been committed. It amazes me that this current situation doesn’t worry enough people. So much blood was shed for this Interim Constitution and now so many provisions have been scrapped. This is the document that declares Nepal as a republic. What do we have now besides the interim constitution? We don’t even have a Constituent Assembly. Say, the parties are able to bring out a new constitution. The President can easily scrap that constitution too, claiming that he has done it before. This blunder needs to be corrected. If not, the constitution will not be made and even if it is, there will be no meaning to it. How will you oppose the election process? Our opposition doesn’t just mean that we will not vote. We will not go to elections and elections will not be legitimate. We will call on the people to create an environment that will be unsuitable for polls. We will make sure polls will not take place. But we know that this cannot be achieved by taking up arms. The only way is to mobilise the people and bring in as many parties as possible. There is no advantage to us picking up arms again, so why should we do so? But there is a faction within the party that is of the view that the ‘People’s War’ needs to be completed at any cost. It is true that the ‘People’s War’ is not complete. But the context in which we started the war was different. Now is a different time. We contested elections and came through as the largest party. Now we have party wings in all 75 districts. We have great support from people in the cities, which we did not have before. We are recognised internationally; all ambassadors come to meet us. We cannot give all this up and go back to a people’s war. We need to raise the agenda of change from where we stand. This is Marxism. No revolutionary party takes up weapons as the first choice; it is always the last resort. We are proceeding with a peaceful revolution but they are not listening to our demands. But the announced election date has already been forgotten by the people. Very few people in the cities talk of elections, let alone in the villages. In such a situation, elections cannot take place. Why do you say that? Short answer, elections will not take place because the people don’t want elections to take place. We are holding elections to a Constituent Assembly (CA), so all political forces need to be involved in this. But the country is divided. If one faction does not take part in elections, it will not take ownership of the constitution that is drafted. So what then is the significance of that constitution? But we are not opposed to elections or the CA. This was our agenda, not the Nepali Congress or CPN-UML’s agenda. But now Madhav Nepal, Bijay Gachhadar and Sushil Koirala are now inviting us to take part in what was our own agenda! First, they opposed it on all fronts saying a CA would never work in Nepal. They fired bullets and killed people. Now they have taken it up themselves while the ones who raised the issue have been sidelined. What we need now is a new democracy. What will be the character of this new democracy? The new democracy will fundamentally oppose feudalism and imperialism. Democracy was once revolutionary but later, it was taken over by the status quoists, just like the CA was. But how to define democracy? Having elections alone is not democracy. If a bourgeois party or a group that is feudal, imperialistic and will not help the country is not allowed to form then there is said to be no democracy. Look at Nepal now. There are so many NGO and INGOs that interfere in Nepali politics. But if we say that we don’t need INGOs, then they call us evil, dictators and anti-democracy. So this new democracy should be a people’s democracy. You have said that the Regmi government was formed under foreign pressure but should there not be agreement within the country for a political course to move in that direction? The order to form this technocratic government came from across the border. We held a press conference and asked the government not to declare the poll date. That same day, we heard that Manmohan Singh had told Sher Bahadur Deuba that he would be happy if polls were held in November. The government weighed whose voice to heed and they went with India. We are not going to oppose external influence from India; we will do it from Nepal itself. Furthermore, India is acting in Nepal through its agents. Our resistance will be to these agents, these puppets. We are not anti-India. We have good relations with the Indian people. During the years we were underground, the Indian people helped us. There are many in India who still support our revolution. We depend on India for many things, including salt and petroleum. We have a trade and business relationship with India. We only oppose the negative activities of the Indian government. How do you respond to insinuations that there was external pressure on your party to go to elections? This news has been planted as the Chinese State Councillor was just here. I am head of the party’s foreign department and any talks would have gone through me. They have categorically said that right now, they have no programmes to meet with any political leaders or parties. The councillor signed some agreements and went back. There were no talks with our Chairman or our party. As far as Chinese advice goes, before our party split, they had told us to not break up as this would make us weaker. But after the split, they have made a decision to treat both parties the same. There is no question of them telling us to go to elections or ally with any party. We cannot hide these kinds of meetings even if they do take place. These people come here with a strict schedule that says who they will meet and when. On a different note, is there any truth to rumours of party unification? As long the Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai-led UPCN (Maoist) retains its current ideology and leadership, party unification is impossible. This is a ploy by Prachanda to scare the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML. If they don’t do what he says, he threatens them by saying he will ally with us and flush them away. Of course, there are people in the UCPN (Maoist) who have an affinity for us and the line that we have taken up. There are such people in other parties too. But party unity is a completely different topic. There needs to be agreement on thought, ideology, line, aim and leadership. We came into the peace process with two agendas: peace and constitution. But now, we don’t have peace and we don’t have a constitution. nnnn BRAZIL DEFEATS SPAIN, LIFTS CONFEDERATION CUP Kathmandu, 1 July: Stadium was noisy, hoping for and maybe even anticipating a triumph by Brazil, AP reports from Rio De Janiero . The Selecao rewarded the fans with a comprehensive victory over the best national team of the 21st century, an ego-boosting 3-0 smothering of world champion Spain in the Confederations Cup final on Sunday night. Nice, yes. But Brazil is focusing on the really big prize: the World Cup that it hosts next year. ''We know that the tournament that we will be playing next year will be a lot more difficult,'' Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. ''Now we have more confidence. That's what we needed.'' In the stadium that will host the 2014 World Cup final next July 14, Fred put Brazil ahead in the second minute, Neymar doubled the lead in the 44th with his fourth goal of the tournament and Fred added his fifth in the 47th. While there was a crowd of 73,000 in the renovated stadium, outside protesters clashed with riot police on the final night of the two-week prep tournament. '' Brazil has shown to the world that this is the Brazil ian national team and that we must be respected,'' said 21-year-old Neymar, awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament's top player. ''I think that today we had a great victory against the best team of the world, with some of the best players in the world.'' In a matchup of new and old powers, the five-time world champion defeated the reigning world and European champion and ended Spain's 29-game, three-year winning streak in competitive matches. ''We are happy with what we have done over the last few years,'' Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said. ''But one loss - you have to look at it, but not overreact to it. We are not content with the loss. But when a team is superior, you have to accept it. It was a deserved defeat.'' Brazil won its third straight Confederations Cup and has not lost a competitive home match since 1975. Yet, no reigning Confed Cup winner has gone on to capture the following year's World Cup. Spain, which had not lost a competitive game since its 2010 World Cup opener against Switzerland, had a miserable night. Sergio Ramos sent a penalty kick wide in the 55th and defender Gerard Pique was ejected by Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers with a straight red card for fouling Neymar in the 68th. ''The first minutes and the last minutes of the halves are critical,'' Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta said. ''And they scored their three goals at the beginning and ends of the halves, which is the worst time. Those are the most demoralizing moments.'' Eliminated in the quarterfinals of the last two World Cups, the Selecao entered the tournament having not played a competitive match since the 2011 Copa America. Brazil had slipped to 22nd in the FIFA rankings, between Ghana and Mali. Spain, ranked first for the past 20 months, is the most accomplished national team of recent decades, winning its first World Cup in 2010 between titles in the 2008 and 2012 European Championships. But in the stadium where 170,000-plus watched Brazil lose to Uruguay in the last game of the 1950 World Cup, Brazil dominated La Furia Roja. ''The champion is back,'' the crowd chanted. It also didn't take long before the fans - in a sea of yellow jerseys - started teasing the Spaniards, chanting ''Wanna play, wanna play!? Brazil will teach you.'' Spain had been unbeaten in 26 matches overall, including friendlies, since a 1-0 loss to England in London in 2011 and had outscored opponents 69-11 in competitive matches since the loss to Switzerland in South Africa. But Spain had not played Brazil since a 1999 exhibition, and they hadn't met in a competitive match since the Selecao's 1-0 win in the first round of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. ''We knew we were going to encounter a physical game with lots of fouling,'' Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta said. ''We lost to a very strong team, and the small details let us down.'' Fred opened the scoring after a cross into the area by Hulk in the second minute. The ball bounced off Neymar near the far post and Fred, who had fallen while trying to reach for the cross, shot with his right foot while still on the ground. Brazil added to the lead after Neymar exchanged passes with Oscar and then sent a powerful left-footed shot over goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Fred got the final goal from just inside the area, sending a low shot to the far corner. Hulk started the move with a pass to Neymar, but the striker let it go as Fred came running behind him. Spain was awarded the penalty kick after Marcelo fouled Jesus Navas inside the area. Ramos, who skied a penalty kick for Real Madrid against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League semifinals, sent this one wide. Spain's best chance before the penalty came with Pedro Rodriguez in the 41st, when he entered the area clear from defenders on a breakaway. His low shot beat goalkeeper Julio Cesar, but David Luiz came rushing in and slid in front of the goal line just in time to deflect the ball over the crossbar. There were protests outside the stadium during the match, with police using rubber bullets and tear gas to keep demonstrators from getting too close. A wave of anti-government protests has swept across Brazil in recent weeks, and many affected the Confederations Cup host cities as demonstrators complained of the costs of hosting the World Cup. On the field, it was a heated match from the start, with players from both teams pushing and shoving each other a few times. Even the substitutes got into a shouting match. ''We played a very good match,'' Scolari said. ''It allows us to have a better idea about the path ahead of us.'' nnnn


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