Nepal Today

Friday, August 16, 2013


Kathmandu, 17 Aug.: authorities Friday declared an emergency Friday in the capital district as well to fight the spread of bird flu.
An emergency was declared in neighouring Bhaktapur two days earlier amidst opposition from local farmers demanding compensation.
An emergency has been declared in 11 VDCs and some parts of the
Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Kirtipur Municipality.
The VDCs include Gothatar, Mulpani, Macchegaun, Chalnakhel, Thankot, Matatirtha, Satungal, Mahadevsthan, Dahachowk, Bed Bhanjyang and Purano Naikap, while the metro areas include Ward-35 at Pepsicola and the eastern part of Kirtipur.


Kathmandu, 17 Aug.: We can’t turn back from a federal Nepal but can’t seem to agree on the kind of states to create. So one of our brilliant political minds came up with a dazzling idea. Let’s promulgate the new constitution, setting aside that contention issue, and any other ones, for that matter, Maila Baje writes in Nepali
Betbook , . matter.
The Nepali Congress has an established tradition of taking half steps and then claiming to be the only party with the fortitude to go the full mile. Yet, Maila Baje thinks Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat’s proposal may not be as half-baked as it sounds. Nepal can’t put off indefinitely the culmination of that hopey-changey moment six springs ago.
To be honest, the political shenanigans have become too delicious to miss. The systematic mockery of constitutionalism is being supported by the paragons of democracy in the south and west, as the supposedly reactionary right finds itself the lone voice pleading for a semblance of legality on our march toward newness.
What makes things urgent for us, however, is the fact that our giant neighbors aren’t really smiling anymore. A modicum of political stability is required for the three political successions in our midst.
Up north, Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to hand over leadership to the next generation of communists at the party Congress later this year. However, Xi Jinping’s accession will only mark the beginning of the transition to the fifth generation of New China.
In India, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is searching for that propitious moment to pass the torch to Rahul Gandhi. As the party traditionally most accommodative to the Chinese, the Indian National Congress cannot afford events in Nepal to provoke any Chinese reaction that might help to spoil things.
The crucial leadership transition intersecting the two relates to the 14th Dalai Lama. His Holiness has begun the Great Withdrawal in the full knowledge that his eventual demise is likely to set off rival claimants to Great Fifteenth. To preempt Beijing, the current Dalai Lama is toying with the idea of naming a successor, perhaps even one not born inside Tibet.
The succession struggle is likely to be waged not only from Dharmasala and Beijing but also from other traditionally assertive Tibetan sects who have been overshadowed all these decades only by Tenzin Gyatso’s larger-than-life persona.
A formal if incomplete Nepali constitution, an elected government and other indicators of domestic life can give sufficient stability for the next stage of the geopolitical maneuverings.
Of course, the risks inherent in jumping the gun are obvious. Members who adopt such a constitution will have done so with their reservations. That will make it easier for some of these same people to be among the first to burn copies of the document. At least there will be a document to set ablaze.
What’s more, not all will have been lost. We can attach a bill of rights – or, more appropriately, wrongs – as and when we deem necessary. It’s not for nothing that some alien quarters have prepared themselves for at least two years of ethnic conflagration before Nepalis can decide which group’s victimhood tends to run the deepest.
Should we then agree on the model of federalism – or any other form of the state – we can keep adding them to the main document. Finding that unworkable, we would have the option of changing that. That way, hopes of everything between a people’s democratic republic and Swiss-style confederation will have been kept alive.
Sound outlandish? We’ve made enough amendments to the interim constitution to breeze through the job.
(Originally published on February 13, 2012)

Jathmandu, 17 Aug.: Out of the blue, CPN (Maoist) leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara in May publicly declared that his party could field former King Gyanendra as a candidate to the impending Constituent Assembly polls if he “transformed himself.” Such statement from the leader of a party that had always been the most vocal in calling for turning Nepal into a republic does not come off the cuff, Trikal Vastavis writes in People’s Review..
Why Mahara made the remark has stirred many a question and sparked off equally more speculations. As if to indicate that the statement was no tongue-slip, Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s most trusted man in the party’s hierarchy reiterated the public invitation to the former monarch the very next day too.
Visitors fleeting in and out of Nirmal Niwas or, alternatively, Nagarjun, do not have any inkling of whether the former king plans to join the hurly burly of mainstream politics. In fact, the latter abhors the machinations that have taken the country to such a mess prevailing today.
This author is fairly certain that the late King Birenadra’s younger brother is not interested in actively hobnobbing with Dahal and his ilk. In fact, relying on a number of well-informed sources, affirm that he has spurned a series of overtures by the Dahal faction of the Maoists for clandestine meetings.
Regular visitors to Nirmal Niwas believe that the quick U-turns that Dahal and his party are used to taking so blatantly and too frequently have robbed the former armed rebel leader, responsible for the loss of 16,000 Nepali lives, of credibility. With Dahal, secrecy is deceptive, diplomacy diversionary and consistency chillingly inconsistent.
No one seriously believes that the former king is keen on joining any party, least of all the Dahal-led Maoists who not even the Chinese government trusts as reliable, whatever the exterior show of ceremonial receptions accorded him in May. Therefore, just as no one believes that Mahara’s boss will publicly change his political stance and join the Nepali Congress or the CPN (UML), no one conceives that the former king will ever join any political party, including Dahal’s handmaiden.
Or is it out of spite for the former king’s relentless refusal to give audience to his party leaders that the Mahara, at the behest of his organizational boss Dahal, publicly offered a party ticket to the distinguished resident of Nirmal Niwas? This author believes that the former king finds acceptable the suggestions from his foreign friends and close circle at home that he should shun any truck with Dahal and Co.
The NC, UML and Madhesi Morcha partners in the infamous four-party syndicate might like to forget that for years the governments in which they teamed up had declared the Maoists as terrorists and set a price on the heads of a galaxy of Maoist leaders “dead or alive.” Former King Gyanendra has not forgotten the death and destruction that the Maoist senseless rampage wreaked on the State and the civilians during the latter’s decade-long war when their top leaders like Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai spent more than eight years on the outskirts of New Delhi.
King Gyenendra in June visited Saptari, Dhanusha and other neighboring districts in what turned out to be a major turning point in the series of visits he has been making over the years after the syndicate had its way in declaring the state a republic through a motion tabled by someone who had lost the elections and procedures which are seriously controversial.
On the eve of the visit in June, student wings and youth units of NC and UML set fire to the welcome gates and arches erected by the large number of supporters of the former king. They announced a district wide closure in order to obstruct the visit whose schedule, however, went on as planned as thousands of people lined up the route at the main centers to welcome and greet the monarch.
The protest organizers thought that terror would save the time and tenor involved in a democratic process entails. But they were proved wrong. The call for closure was a total failure in one of the rare instances when people refused to be intimidated by the agents of such strike organizers. The event only served to raise sympathy and support for the honored visitor who was only exercising his rights as a citizen peacefully, without any violence or intimidation and without extorting money from the local populations.
In reaction, a former NC parliamentarian told a small of gathering of some mixed party workers and a handful of non-party members like this author later, “The king has passed the test successfully during the visit. It is now only a question of how and when the reinstallation takes place.”
Officially, the former king is no longer a royalty, yet the people of the Terai districts poured in their thousands despite the scorching heat and angry stares from organized gangs to give him a royal reception. The fact is that people are fed up with the four-party syndicate that is ridiculed and condemned in everyday conversation.
Maoist supremo Dahal wants to contest the next elections from the Terai to become a son of the Terai. Let his party face voter’s wrath. Popular mood has changed to become more assertive of their rights and just cause that promises political stability and an economy better than the mess witnessed in the past five years.
At the start of the so-called loktantra in 2006, many people in a number of Terai districts wanted to drive away the hill people living there for many decades. The same people today reassess the situation and make amends to their attitudes. Now the rich people are away or feel very insecure as the criminal attention has been shifted to this class of the Terai people.
Justice, local people say, is dispensed better by officials from those with roots to the hill districts. This is also the reason why fear-inspired migrations from the Terai to other districts have slowed down particularly after the June 2012 expiry of the Constituent Assembly whose demise no one wept.
All said and done, therefore, the reception the Terai people offered the Former King Gyanendra’s in his latest visit to their area signals the changing mood in the public and the chain of events likely to be set in motion in the coming months.


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