Aug 22, 2012

Nepal: The way ahead is deceitful

By Deepak Gajurel,
Political Scientist, TU, Nepal

Deepak Gajurel
No 'consensus' on constitution building or peace process, and anything in between has been the hallmark of Nepali politics. Prachanda-Baburam-led Maoist party appears to drive the nation at their own will. While ruling Maoist leaders are attacking the opposition parties on several issues, not sparing even the threat of violence, others-those being attacked, have not been exhibiting their will for having legitimate counter-attack. Poor opposition.

'Consensus' has been the most sought schema since more than half a decade, but all in vain. Partners of 12-point Delhi Agreement are now at odds with no sign of a common meeting point. Adding fuel to the fire to the ongoing conflicts among 'major' parties, the UCPN (Maoist) Supremo Dahal has informed the opposition publicly that the current caretaker government, led by Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai, would rule the country not just for 20 or 30 more years but even longer.

Must have scared the opposition parties.

'If the parties fail to reach an agreement, the present government will continue for an indefinite period that may stretch to decades and decades,' said Dahal while addressing a press meet in a Terai town. His condition for shorter rule is simple: come and agree with my party's stands/agenda or face the Maoists music. This is what has been irritating the other 'major' players, namely the Nepali Congress and UML. Sushil Koirala and Jhal Nath do not seem to abandon their cause for supporting Prachanda's.

Earlier, a Himalayan challenge was erected by ruling Maoist before the 'opposition parties' in the name of the formation of a what is called ‘United Federal Democratic Front’ which adds strength for a new series of fierce confrontation among the 12 point parties.

At the same time, a confrontational deadlock has been emerging between the President and the Prime Minister. The rejection of some of the ordinances by the Head of the State does not seem to fade up in the days ahead, but will surely swell into a dangerous point facilitating an open power struggle between the two State organs. And here again, the opposition does have no clue on what to do and how to defend.

The Election Commission has already jeopardized the declared elections for another Constituent Assembly. Opposition parties' pressure on Dr. Bhattarai to quit has not only become futile so far, pressures of vivid shades and color(s) are mounting on the opposition. And NC, UML and other oppositions are showing lethargy. In fact, they do have no options left. They have in effect pushed to the wall.

The nation is engulfed thus into a constitutional vacuum with no clear constitutional or legal way out. In this backdrop, there are only two viable alternatives, one is to choose violence to further devastate the nation (preliminary signs of violence have already become faintly visible); and another is the path for adapting to peaceful means.

In case the present political players choose a peaceful path, there can be two means which will be a legitimate exercise, because it would be based on 'democratic norms and values.'

Creating an environment for generating a 'political legitimacy' with broader national consensus is one remedy for the current political conundrum.

The next alternative is to revive the 1990 constitution, which will be a means of 'continuation of legitimacy.'

Either of the above mentioned alternatives demand a sort of 'national consensus' in which the King must be brought into the front. At the same time, other potential political players should also not be left in the cold.

The mood of the ruling as well as the opposition(s) do not indicate any signs of a 'consensus', which clearly points to a confrontation among 'Loktantrik Gantantrabadis'. The partners of 12-point Delhi Agreement will eventually be face to face. Violence can’t be ruled out if that does happen. 

In case, the political players do not follow the path of national consensus for peaceful resolution of the constitutional vacuum of the day, the country will be dragged into undesirable situation.

The nation and the Nepali people should be prepared, at least mentally for the time being, for the adverse situation.

The Maoist's posture plainly suggests that parliamentary parties, mainly NC and UML, will be ruined and devastated through the Maoists. Some of the recent revelations provide ground that Prachanda and Baburam are not speaking loud on their own. This means some kind of 'invisible' hands will be behind for the modus operandi that is in the pipe line. The way ahead is bumpy for the present day parties in the opposition camp. 

At a point when the parliamentary parties are crushed, at least politically, through all means, covert as well as overt, Maoist too will not be spared. 'Foreign Hands' in every aspect of Nepali affairs will not hesitate to thunderstorm upon to sweep away any 'force' coming in their way.

So, it is advisable to the political forces, especially the NC and UML, to completely abandon the path charted for Nepal by the 12-point Delhi Agreement. Earlier the better, just come out of the illusion of 'Loktantra', 'Naya Nepal' and so on, and join the purely Nepali agenda: reviving the 1990 constitution and taking mother Nepali into a peaceful and prosperous future. This is the only way for saving you and the nation. Choice is yours definitely.


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