By: N. P. Upadhyaya
After wasting some precious seven months and a twenty days, Nepal as a nation-state, if it were at all, finally found a new Prime Minister in the persona of UML Chairman Jhal Nath Khanal.
New Nepal PM is widely known for his rickety stance and weak management inside his own party. In addition, his own party detractors, mostly those who presumably act as per the instructions of the regime in the South and tend more often than not to convert Nepal into an extended territory of the Indian enterprise, not only take Khanal as a half Maoists but also as a person who is excessively closer to the Northern neighbor-China.
Whether Khanal is closer to China or not is not yet clear, however, what is abundantly evident is that those who go up against his standpoint were all Indo-pendent UML leaders to have presumably been led by Mr. Nepal-Oli pair.
Yet one must remember the day, January 20, 2011, the day Indian Foreign Secretary Mrs. Nirupama Rao, summed up her "sermon providing Nepal trip", UML Chairman Khanal received a Grand SLAP in Ithari, Sunsari district by his own former cadre, Mr. Devi Prasad Regmi who later was instantly taken by the entire Nepali population as their national hero.
Just after thirteen days of the historical slap that it was, the person who fortunately bagged this time-demanding slap was elected the Prime Minister of Nepal. Look the tryst of destiny!
Analysts had been told that the day Khanal was elected as the new Prime Minister, many a local leaders both from the Congress and the UML camps approached Regmi's residence in Bharaul, Sunsari, and begged a whack from him in their cheeks hoping that his blow could one fine morning make them Nepal's Prime Minister. Regmi–the national hero just smiled.
Now that the country has received a new Prime Minister, efforts, seen and unseen both, have already begun on how to unseat Prime Minister Khanal. Hard works are being made by the Nepali Congress and some from within Khanal's own party to dislodge him at the earliest.
The initiatives, analysts have been told, being taken now to bring Khanal to the foot path by some Nepali leaders were the local kids of the Indian establishment who have taken the Prachanda-Khanal seven point secret agreement, January 20, 2011, which eventually elevated Khanal as the new Nepal PM, as the grand defeat of the Indian establishment itself.
An inferiority complex ridden Indian media that it has proved itself to be, albeit a section which run under the instructions of the South Block, Delhi, have bluntly accepted that Khanal's assuming of this coveted post in Nepal was a grand victory of China and by the same token the humiliating defeat of India.
Classic case of lowliness.
Reports have it that Mrs. Rao during her three day long Nepal trip had instructed her Nepali marionettes scattered in various political paraphernalia that in no way Nepal Maoists leader Prachanda or his preferred UML man should be allowed to lead this country. However, things went upside down in Nepal.
Comparatively speaking, the two nationalists who want to see Nepal as a flourishing nation and free from permanent Indian domination, all of a sudden arrived at a secret deal, January 20, 2011, and made the Indian establishment to fall flat. A grand flat indeed.
The entire idea of having a secret deal between Prachanda and Khanal apparently was to distance India from interfering in Nepali affairs-a grand departure from the traditional way.
A clever Prachanda when understood that he will not be permitted to guide the country by the neighbor in the South, suddenly decided to extend his party's support to his half-Maoist friend inside the UML-Khanal and more importantly the deal was kept a guarded secret until the last moment of the Nepal PM election, January 21, 2011, in order to provide a complete and unexpected surprise to the Indian establishment. A fresh jolt so cleverly structured.
And it was indeed a bombshell for the South which appears to have become unnerved with the 'political catapult' observed in Nepali politics. The fact is that things did not go as per the Indian penchant.
But New Delhi knows on how to screw Nepali politics to turn in its favor. Stooges have already been ordered which becomes visible when one goes deep into the unwanted delay seen in the formation of the government.
More so, India thinks that the seven point deal signed in between Prachanda and Khanal not only would distance the Indian regime from Nepali politics in the coming days but would eventually facilitate the Chinese regime, the arch rival of India, to have a full sway in Nepali affairs. Smart analysis indeed.
That India became tense observing the Nepali developments gets reflected from the "telephonic invitation" extended by Sonia Gandhi elevated Indian Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh to Nepal PM Mr. Khanal for a first visit to India at the earliest when the Nepali PM had just been declared elected minutes ago.
Dr. Singh did not even waste a single minute in inviting PM Khanal which speaks of his jumpiness.
The nervousness is sure to increase in the days ahead, analysts guess.
While the Indian Prime Minister exhibited his childish behavior in inviting the Nepal PM for an Indian trip, the Chinese Premier just congratulated the new Nepal executive in a normal manner as per the norms and the decorum of diplomacy. No phones in haste.
Chinese Premier preferred genuine diplomacy instead of the coercive one. India must learn some lessons on the conduct between nations from the Beijing world acclaimed diplomats.
The Chinese Ambassador Qiu Guohang, "quietly" met the Nepal PM at his residence and congratulated him after the Indian telephonic message to PM Khanal. This must have added more pains some where, analysts presume. Classic case of quiet but now it is becoming close to "open" diplomacy.
Now that Khanal is the new Prime Minister, as expected, the Nepali Congress party and some with India bend leaders have begun crying foul against the new UML-Maoist coalition stating that such a secret deal or for that matter the coalition will eventually polarize the national politics in a dangerous manner.
Polarization, as stated by the NC and some other parties, has come definitely into existence. The REDS and the liberals are face to face now. This was to happen sooner than later. Better late than never. This will certainly settle politics now in two opposing camps.
Surfacially though it may seem that Beijing now prevails in Nepali politics, to some extent it is, however, analysts suggest not to undermine the round the corner trouble for this RED coalition that may enter any time soon in Nepali territory from the South like a blizzard in order to neutralize the India presumed and feared increased Chinese penetration.
India knows on how to twist the Nepali arms. In addition, India has several advantages in Nepal well established to which the Chinese have not. Yet it could be presumed that it is in the making.
The democratic forces or say the liberals will be pushed to create an ugly scene against the RED unity, a shaky one as of now, and could also be told to break this unity before it becomes a formidable force in Nepali politics. The process has already begun.
Some high placed UML leaders with liberal garb will join hands with the so called fractured democratic forces who will be instructed to break this coalition at the earliest for India knows that the Extradition Treaty, the Indian drafted one indeed, will never see the light at the end of the tunnel if this RED coalition worked with full devotion and in favor of the population at large.
Frankly speaking, a sizeable chunk of the Nepali population were not only against the signing of the India drafted Extradition Treaty by Nepal but also favor the past unequal treaties with India to be reviewed as per the changing times and changing world's political scenario.
India basically wants to lift Chinese and Pakistani nationals, nationals of the US and EU later, from Nepal under this or that pretext through the extensive use of the clauses extradition treaty.
This coalition will definitely try to forward certain Nepal favoring proposals which the Indian side may take as an irritating ones.
Moreover, the Indian regime is in a panicked state simply because the secret seven point deal between Prachanda and Khanal talks of the preservation of Nepal's sovereignty and independence. India doesn't like even to listen such Nepal's genuine demands.
All in all, new Nepal PM will not have easy going days in office. He may be attacked by his own party colleagues, simmering discontent has begun already, plus the Maoists will press him very hard to get their things done. The hard push from the Maoists side is in progress. The South may devise some fresh ploys to destabilize Khanal's regime if the latter did not work as per the Indian instructions.
Yet Khanal has become the country's Prime Minister at a crucial moment. He has Himalayan tasks to get accomplished before May 28, 2011-the date when the extended tenure of the CA body would expire once and for all.
How Khanal takes Nepali Congress and smaller Madhesh based parties into confidence will perhaps also determine the longevity of his tenure in Nepal PM's office. Khanal can enter into the NC through Sher Bahadur Deuba as the latter is not happy with his own party's dictatorial functioning.
Congratulation Mr. Khanal-the Prime Minister without ministers. What a joke?
Prachanda and Khanal both stick to grab the lucrative Home Ministry for their parties. For a full five days, the country has no cabinet. Matter of great shame indeed. The seven point secret deal appears to have boomeranged.
Yet, one must admit that the slap worked in a desired way. Are you listening Mr. Regmi!