Nepali Times
PRASHANT JHA
Plain Speaking
It's getting stale, mate


PRASHANT JHA


KIRAN PANDAY
After an explosive interview in Kantipur last Saturday, in the course of which he pointed to the futility of a majority government, even if it were led by his party chairman, Baburam Bhattarai headed to Kakani for a short retreat. He wanted to have little to do with the dirty parliamentary games that his party had first begun their rebellion against. Bhattarai picked up a book on the leadership qualities of Genghis Khan, and came back impressed at how an illiterate man had used military skills and political alliances to fill what was a 'historic necessity' to unite the warring tribes of Central Asia.

The historic necessity today, to repeat a cliché, is to write a constitution, which in turn requires movement on the cantonment issue. Neither of those processes can be divorced from government formation. The third round of voting will not serve any of these objectives.

The most probable scenario is that the stalemate will continue. Jhalanath Khanal will ensure the UML stays neutral for now. And the Madhesi parties will not support the NC without the UML on board, and even if they do, the numbers don't add up.

A Madhes-Maoist alliance is still unlikely. Upendra Yadav is tempted to go, but he has been locked into the broader front precisely to avoid this. Not all of his party members would agree either. The Maoists are trying to wean away a section of Bijay Gachchhadar's party, especially those who have not become ministers. Business associates and old royalist connections are being used to throw money around.

But even then, Pushpa Kamal Dahal will need to get at least 40-45 of the existing 82 Madhesi MPs to have a chance. That can happen if MJF backs Dahal and there is widespread cross-voting by Madhesi MPs lured in by the promise of financial rewards and lucrative ministries. It is also possible if Dahal strikes a deal with Delhi, which retains tremendous leverage over the TMDP and Sadbhavana, and over most MPs in the MJF(D) and MJF.

There are rumours that India may allow a short-lived Maoist-Madhes government and pull the plug in a few months. But Madhesi leaders and sources in Delhi and Kathmandu say that, barring a last-minute miracle, there is little chance of a deal with Dahal.

Let us assume that such a government is formed. How does it help? There will be a razor-thin majority; the NC and UML will remain out for now; and the bitter political and personal divisions will persist.

Even in the unlikely scenario that the UML joins such a government subsequently, can there be a deal on integration without the NC on board? Can there be a deal on constitutional issues between the UML and Madhesi parties?
If the third round does not elect a government, some have suggested that the speaker write to the president and ask for advice. Others say that the process can be amended to allow fresh nominations through an all-party decision and the house business advisory committee.

But Dahal and Poudel will both seek to block a change in the rules to give it another shot. This is where Bhattarai's efforts to generate pressure within the Maoists come in.

If Dahal loses again, it would dent his image considerably. Instead of recognising the objective situation, proposing Bhattarai's name while retaining power from behind the scenes, and coming across as a statesman, Dahal will be seen as having jumped into the game through deft manipulation, but failing in the process.

Bhattarai will not have it easy either. The chairman will seek a 'clarification' for his statements. Dahal will once again pick on the 'nationalism' rhetoric and allude to Bhattarai's 'Índian support'.

Party members will ask Bhattarai where the guarantee is that he will indeed be able to muster the support to form a consensus government.

Dahal would prefer to sit out in the opposition, or join another government as a junior partner, rather than see Bhattarai's potential elevation as PM - especially after his own losses.

Bhattarai himself knows that this is not the ideal time to vie for government leadership. Systemic constraints, and the wider pressures of a coalition, mean that the next PM will not be able to deliver. If Bhattarai does succeed, sections of his own party will seek to undermine him. But there is a real danger that the constitution may not be written, unless there is a broader political consensus, which Dahal has proved incapable of building.

Even as the transition becomes more complicated, there is a silver lining in recent developments. Madhav Nepal may have become PM through a parliamentary majority, but his legitimacy was always under question. The next government, whenever it is formed, will not suffer from the same conundrum. And there will be moral pressure on whichever party is in the opposition not to play spoiler.

READ ALSO:
In a state of deprivation, PUBLISHER'S NOTE
Women MPs seek to unlock deadlock, RUBEENA MAHATO
An open letter to the Big Guys, SUNIL B PANT



1. Arthur
Yes, it is getting stale. Week after week Prashant Jha writing to stir up conflict between Prachanda and Bhatterai and speculating on permutations of numbers instead of analysing the underlying situation.

Last week's column blamed Prachanda for wanting to split the UMLs. This week the UMLs are completely ignored and the speculation is about Prachanda wanting to lead a government with a razor-thin majority despite pointing out that it could not achieve anything and would collapse within months.

This style of speculation is a legacy of reporting intrigues among courtiers in the royal court. Why on earth would Bhatterai want to lead such a razor-thin government either? Why ignore both Bhatterai saying the exact opposite and the NC and UMLs making it quite clear they reject leadership of the Maoist party, not just Prachanda? We are supposed to ignore this just so Prashant Jha's repetition of the same old anti-Prachanda speculations would look less stale.

What happened to the Prashant Jha that at least tried to analyse the underlying realities?

The important facts to grasp are that Nepal cannot be governed without its largest party and the other parties are still not yet ready to carry out the democratization of the Nepal Army and integration of the two armies required by the peace agreement.

The purely obstructive role of the other parties becomes more and more obvious every day they delay the inevitable, so when they do finally have to face another election they will be weaker than ever.


2. Nirmal

STRESSsssssssssssssss

A good test of stress is, for example, the load test of any modern bridge. You have to put a few truckloads of sand to test the endurance of the infrastructure in an extreme situation that, in theory, will occur. The same kind of test could be applied to the governor of our national bank when we know that there is a increasing inflation(real one) and shortage of rupee notes(by the way, nice piece of daura-suruwaal governor saap!) AND also could be implemented a review of resistance to political leaders in order for the voters to know what to expect. Applied to each party, would allow us to predict how their leaders act in the worst-case scenario.

Since Nepali politics has long been installed in a state of overload, at least three different political fronts(minus UML, I already had plenty of comments on them these last days) should be tested. Sushil Koirala focused on the first stress test of the NC to maintain a tight grip on the party. It seemed that the structure is enduring until the first cracks will reemerge because he preferred to live with them rather than repair. But what the stress test did not predict at that time was the worst-case scenario: an unfriendly government made of the Maoists and Madhesi parties, which will behave as an enemy but will pretend to seek reconciliation aparently. To pass the test and restore confidence, the NC should explain what the future of the NC's federal project looks alike, find out if the NC has any and finally reveal how to cope with a new coalition, as their options to govern alone are nonexistent neither now nor in future. It is true that apparently it has been the Maoists who raised the new political concepts but it should be reminded that anyone who can implement them in praxis could win the medal leaving the Maoists empty hands. Monopoly in competitive politics is a chimaera.

The madhesi front, which was suspended in all exams with evidences in the previous term  -from split to widespread scandals-, has been remade. However, the stress test of Madhesi alliance opens many questions: How is it possible that still there is a greater sense of one Madhes one Prades between them when the Madhesi leaders' charismatic control over Terai is in drastic decline according to the public opinions? Such has been the abrasion, just by ruling two years? So little credibility? Or that, Madhesiness is "a kind of feeling that does not translate into reality"? For if this is the reason, madhesi alliance would do well to explain that its goal now is to open a "transition" to Federalism, but has trouble keeping its composure before the madhesi patriotic fervor of some armed friends like Goit and company, the greed of power-mongering along with its southern shadow.

As for the Maoists, it has passed the stress test of the opposition, but governing is more difficult. The stress test should not only measure its ability to manage, but the responsibility with which it ought to assume the state of mind installed in Nepali society. To channel, Baburam Bhattarai has devised a claim to the consensus govt, which, he believes can adhere all stakeholders, even those, prone to risky adventures. But it is left to see how he could gain his own party president's tacit nod first. He does not mind to wrap it with the discourse of a  'nepali transition' or of an unfinished process with his style a la communista ... also towards Democratic Federalism? Here the test begins to show signs of stress because there is nothing more stressful than uncertainty(his controlled chaos).



3. jange
Mere political gossip.


4. saroj

Arthur. You have to be in Nepal to know how sharp the divide between Prachanda and Bhattarai is. Jha is not sharpening the divide but reporting on it and analysing its implications. The Kantipur interview was surely not a figment of Jha's imagination but what Bhattarai said at a time when his own candidate was in the fray. Jha last week did not blame Prachanda for wanting to split the UML. He merely pointed out that this is one of Prachanda's aims, and of course it is since that will benefit the Maoists. All he is doing is trying to look at the possible permutations that can lead to government formation and that is the big concern at the moment. A good piece by Jha is here -  http://www.hindu.com/2010/07/30/05hdline.htm.

I personally agree with you that the peace deal included democratisation of the NA. But Na has changed to the extent that it will in the present round of political struggle. You have to objectively look at the options that Maoists have in pushing this agenda. They can do what they did last year with limited success. They can say we won't write the constitution which suits the other parties just fine since they do not want it anyway. Jha seems to be making an underlying point which is recognise the reality and compromise for the sake of the constitution. Perhaps he seems to be pushing Bhatarai since that is his line within the party. Surely you know not all your comrades want the constitution and this process to succeed.  

 

 



5. saroj
Also Jha alludes to the point you raised about bhattarai not having the numbers either since NC UML have said they will not accept Maoist leadership. That is a question party members are sure to ask Bhattarai through this process where he has thrown his hat into the ring by pushing for new nominations.

6. prabhatmani
So, Jha does not see any outlet. 

But the question is if Dahal fails to garner support for a consensus government why should not he sidestep to let Bhattarai try to lead the government. BB might be able to do that magic. Among the maoists, the best person to lead seems BB because of his knowledge base, sincerity and respect he has from the intellectual groups. He is the only personality among the Maoists who is respected by the community also.

Common sense says that the best strategy for Dahal would be to let BB form a government and let him fail if Jha is right. That way he can plunder govt resources as well as kill BB's personality.


7. Avik

"Yes, it is getting stale. Week after week Prashant Jha writing to stir up conflict between Prachanda and Bhatterai and speculating on permutations of numbers instead of analysing the underlying situation"

Arthur stop youre needless bantering ...because you're not even a citizen of our country...probably some idiot  khaire or wannabe khaire that thinks he is an intellect and keeps on rhetorically praising the maoists....Bhatterai is spelt Bhattarai BTW.....if you dont know that then.......even if you are here you obviously dont have any local connect...so shut it !!!!!!



8. Deep
Arthur shows again his shallow understanding of Nepali politics; the Maoists are as big intriguers as any in the "intrigues among courtiers in the ...court" of contemporary KTM politics. If he's such a maoist-worshipper he should know the long historic rivalry between the Comrade no1 Prachanda and no 2 (for now) Bhatarrai. This rivalry was expressed in recent factional sparring at Party meets and in public statements over leadership. Little needs to be "stirred up" by others.
Why "ignore" Maoists or any Nepali politician saying one thing and soon doing "the opposite"? That's how politics works - in Nepal, even in Arthur's western world, no doubt even in Arthur's tiny little leftist sect.

India & the NA will never allow any form of military integration that gives  the Maoists the advantage they seek; the bored PLA rank'n'file are drifting away from the cantons, and with it the chances of a Maoist conquest of the state. All that is left for Prachanda & co is "intrigues among courtiers in the ...court" of contemporary KTM politics. All else is romantic fantasy of deluded western leftists. Wake up from the hypnotised maoist religion and go fight your own battles instead of cheerleading the miserable political intrigues of others.




9. Budabaaje

It's absolutely pathetic, the stage we've come to! The whole nation has come to standstill watching a half-dozen old Bahuns trying to back-stab each other. Week after week, month after month, it's the same old story of Bahuns playing their sly games -- while the country slides inexorably into a stinking abyss. Surely Nepal and Nepalis deserve better than this!

Why do Nepali ppl keep putting up with this crap?! It's time to call an end to this Bahunbadi game of false promises and lies. THIS C.A. HAS FAILED! It's time to dissolve this assembly and go for FRESH ELECTIONS, or, better still, REVIVE THE 1990 CONSTITUTION! This whole idea of New Nepal and New Constitution has been exposed as total bullshit! 



10. sameer
Good job Prashant in your writing to admit that :  India does have influence on Madhesi alliance with various degrees of leverage.  Many columnists (including several of yours) try to analyze nepali political scenarios with the attitude as if India does not exist and has no bearing on Nepali politics.  This is a better piece that two weeks ago.  This contextual reference makes your analysis palatable.  keep it up.


11. jange
People are giving too much credence to India having such a large influence on Nepali politics. If one accepts that India has such a large influence on the formation of a government then, logically, it follows that India also had a major influence in the big political events of Nepal such as:
- the rise of the Maoists
- the agreements with the Maoists
- removal of the monarchy
etc. etc.

Surely that can't be true.


12. jange
9. Budabaaje

What is "Bahunbad"?


13. anti-bahunbaad
Jange read the interview of Jhalnath Khanal in Kantipur online, you will have some kind of idea about what is bahunbaad, budabaje is inspired by khsyatriyabaad which in reality is also bahunbaad.


14. jange
# 13 Thanks for the hint.

Read it but still none the wiser. It is just an interview of a politician. It could have been an interview of any politician- bahun or otherwise.


15. Slarti
#12, Bahunbaad is the latest bogeyman of the communist intellectuals used to justify their murder campaign and their politics. Of course, this is in a series of many other baads that they have utilised to justify their own murderbaad.

This is keeping with the spirit of having an unknown enemy lurking on the sidelines to keep the attention away from themselves. A tactic utilised by all core western philosophies, - think about this what is god without the satan bogeyman, or shaitan, what is communism without capitalism and vice versa.

The moment you remove the anti-thesis they all collapse under the weight of their own folly. Capitalism without the communist bogeyman until they struck the militant Islam goldmine. Communism in USSR not managing to convince its own to see the capitalists as the devil. The dark ages, and several more.

Shame #9, despite being a royalist, has been taken in by the same foolishness.


16. DG
#12 Jange.

bad=    ism
Bahun -bad= Bahun -ism.
Mao -bad = Mao -ism.
Commun- ism=Commun-bad.
Social-ism =Social-bad.
Hindu=ism =Hindu-bad.
Buddh-ism= Budd-bad.. etc etc.

 Conclusion: Every -ism is bad. QED.


17. Budabaaje

Jange, everyone who follows Nepali politics knows / has experienced Bahunbad. It's the defining feature and cause of our pathetic political state. (I'm sure, deep inside, you know what it is too.) It is the supreme cunning used by Bahun netas to capture the state, its powers and privileges, for their personal benefit, all the while paying lip-service to high-sounding ideals like "democracy", "human rights", freedom etc. etc. It's the shabda-jal in which they have managed to trap the mass of Nepalis with false hopes and promises, while surreptitiously swindling away state goodies to build their personal and family fortunes, and reducing a reasonably good country into one of the absolute worst and hopeless states in the world. Base cunning, lies, shasan-through-bhasan, unbridled opportunism, corruption, dishonesty - saying one thing, doing another, supreme greed and selfishness, and apathy for the nation -- all these are aspects of Bahunism / Bahunbad. 

Having said that, it's important to mention that I'm NOT saying that all Bahuns are Bahunists / Bahunbadis. Many Bahuns are as disgusted by it as non-Bahuns. But most of the political leaders and their yes-men in the media and civil society are. That's the problem.

As for kshatriyabad, never heard of it. Let #13 anti-bahunbad explain it himself! 



18. Gole
The Great Sacrifice of the Year.- Cofer the title of Tyagi to Kam-red Jhallu.--Jhallu Tyagi.

Comrade Jhalanath Khanal is the real King-pin of the current political Empasse. it is high time that Baburam and Prachanda should split. In an incompatible marriage , divorce is the best solution for both parties. The days of Sati Savitri are gone for ever.
Kamred Kha-nal has claimed that he has done the greatest sacrifice for the cause of the country and the people, so he is the Great Tyagi.
Let us award the title of Tyagi. Hence forward he should be called Jhalanath Tyagi.


19. jange
17. Budabaaje

Thanks for the explanation. By your definition all politicians who reach positions of power follow
Bahunism / Bahunbad.


The description that you have given for Bahunism / Bahunbad would be a very accurate description of Tony Blair, Indira Gandhi, Bill Clinton, Anwar Sadat, Hisila Yami, Chavez, Benazir Bhutto, Sadaam Hussein, Sarkozy, Surya Bahadur Thapa, etc. etc. Virtually anybody who has ever reached a position of political power.

Nice to know that Nepal has successfully exported a potent ideology to the rest of the world.

We should let them all know that they are practising Bahunism / Bahunbad and we should claim our dues since it is our intellectual property.

Forget exporting hydropower. Exporting ideology is what will make us rich.

Let's try exporting Prachandapath. We could send Prachanda himself on a yearlong marketing junket to the rest of the world.


20. Sushil K.
Anti-Brahminism,--the
 New Anti-Semitism ofr Modern Nepal.

Communalism is discrimination against a group of people.Communalism is a problem because of different classes,races, and religious groups are present in every society. A new communalism and social prejudice is being propogated  in the guise of inclusivity now a days.The idea that Brahmins are the bad guys and thatdifficutyany other groups experienced  is due to no fault of their own but by the oppression at the hand of the cruel brahmins.They are not given  credit with any thing good they have done..
But theBrahmin had little powewr during Rana or Saha rule. it was a family rule ,but better than Brahmins Newars were trusted in the Durbar and Char Kajis ran theadministration.Brahmins were religious priest or clerks. They could not issue Fatwa like the Immams.They hadneither economic norpolitical advantage. They were not in military service either..There were a few royal gurus who had priviledges.Missinaries in India came from colonial military and tried to devide the society; this has influence in Nepal as well.Left tried to show them as rich, which is not real.Inthe West priest weredisliked so they try to show the Brahmin as their priests.,Who esed to rule in Medieval days.Brahmins are not priest in the Catholic ways. They never had the power of the churchas in the West.nor of the Mullas.They have not created inquisitions,holy wars or missionry activities. or aided in colonial expansions.
Sadhus are the real spiritual leaders in Hindu society., not the Brahmins.
In the West aristocracy was disliked by democratic movements but Brahmins were never the higher class of rich people. They lived in poverty in most cases. They had respect only due to education and as teachers.Karl Marx was a Jew but this does not make communism pro-Jewish... Brahmins never achieved economic power like theJews.Anti-Brahmin Brahmins are more vociferous anti -Brahmin in denying their own heritage, as you will  find in UCPN or UML.
Brahmins are guilty, when they are not practicing their virtues and in Satwic ways., as selfless teachers.The bane of Brahmins is;that they have hurt the pride of other people.,as superior to other groups., including the Europeans.They forgot their virtue humility. They failed to come up with reformation as in conformity with the changing times. yes due to the effort of some Gandaki anchal Bahuns and theur command of language and Sanscrit in the recent times they could achieve high marks in PSC examinations and are over represented in civil services.
Anti-Brahminuism like Anti-Semetism or negative steorotypingof any group, class  is no more acceptable
. Society needs integration.Each group has its contributions and faults.There is always a common national cause. So united we stand.


21. ck. Shrestha ,ktm
@18 above Jhol nath ley chokta khanu ko lagi Tyagi vako tara Oli ley jhol ma dobayera  JHOLNATH lai babu ko bihey dekahi dincha n that is Bahun bad!!


22. Arthur
Nirmal, #2 "it has been the Maoists who raised the new political concepts but it should be reminded that anyone who can implement them in praxis could win the medal leaving the Maoists empty hands. Monopoly in competitive politics is a chimaera."

True enough, even though it was the Maoists who raised the agenda of republic, federalism, constituent assembly, peace, constitution other parties were able to get votes by pretending to agree. If they could actually deliver what they have agreed to, then the Maoists would be left sidelined (just as capitalism sidelined communist led workers movements in the west by delivering much of what the workers demanded).

But can these parties deliver? The Madheshi parties could eventually abandon their demand to rule over tharus etc and instead accept federalism for all. But could they support the land reform that would result from agreeing to a constitution? Congress obviously cannot support land reform or federalism at all. Most of the UMLs can only support Congress in practice, while making speeches in support of progress "later".

jange #3, we seem to be agreed that this article by Prashant Jha is more like "political gossip" than analysis. I am still wandering though, what is your analysis of what will happen? I see only the usual anti-Maoist sniping from you, no analysis.

saroj #4 and #5, thanks for the thoughtful discussion and for the link to Prashant Jha's recent more analytical article for the Hindu on The impasse in Nepal

One paragraph struck me in that article:

"
Isolating the largest party in the country just creates a situation of dual power on the ground, and adds to the instability. If they are worried about the undemocratic tendencies of the Maoists, the only way to counter it is by building their steadily diminishing political strength on the ground."

On the one hand this is insightful in noticing that the obstruction just increases the Maoist dual power on the ground. On the other hand it proposes that the "only way" for the anti-Maoist parties to counter it is to build their own strength. But the reason for their obstruction is the simple fact that they are already so discredited and in decline that they know they cannot build enough support to win future elections and therefore want to put off holding elections by delaying completing of the peace agreement and constitution.

I will respond to your comment in detail:

"You have to be in Nepal to know how sharp the divide between Prachanda and Bhattarai is. Jha is not sharpening the divide but reporting on it and analysing its implications."

Obviously there is no point in having a politburo or standing committee if all the party leaders are clones who agree with each other. Some differences among Maoist leaders are quite public, in a refreshing revival of the traditions of the early Bolshevik party rather than subsequent pretenses of "monolithic unity". But I think one would need to be a member of at least the central committee to have a clear understanding of the details and how sharp the differences are. Just being in Nepal wouldn't provide much insight. Even jange can see that the media discussion of Bhattarai versus Prachanda is just political gossip. The assumption behind the gossip is that they are both just typical politicians out for personal interests and grasping for lucrative positions. That assumption is essential for anti-maoist propaganda, and jange would of course say that they are both mafia. But that is quite useless for analysing what they will actually do and what different tactics and strategy they have. They could all have had much more lucrative careers in mainstream politics or business if that is what they wanted. I doubt that either of them cares all that much for the position of Prime Minister. They are both more interested in actually changing the system in Nepal and are both united and in disagreement about how best to achieve that.

"The Kantipur interview was surely not a figment of Jha's imagination but what Bhattarai said at a time when his own candidate was in the fray."

My understanding is that Prachanda says the same thing and both are expressing a Maoist view that the other parties are also now echoing - ie they are all now agreeing that it was a mistake to move from the consensus agreed on for overthrowing the monarchy to a majority system with an opposition as demanded by Congress, that no such government will be able to conclude the peace process and adopt a constitution, so they need to form a national consensus government instead of another failure prone majority government. Khanal is certainly saying the same thing, and K P Oli even used it to prevent Khanal being elected with only Maoist support but not two-thirds support.

Presenting that widely held common position as an attack by Bhattarai against Prachanda seems to me an example of the sheer childishness of the anti-Maoist media.

"Jha last week did not blame Prachanda for wanting to split the UML. He merely pointed out that this is one of Prachanda's aims, and of course it is since that will benefit the Maoists."
 
Ok, fair enough. One could call it wanting to split the UML or wanting as many UMLs as possible to unite with the Maoists rather than with the Congress. But we are talking about the same thing.

However after pointing this out last week, Jha completely forgets it this week and "analyses" as though the UMLs do not exist or will stick to their current abstention forever. Another 42 votes (eg just the MJF and some more of the fringe parties) would result in Prachanda being elected with a "razor-thin" majority in the next round on August 5. Is it really likely that this would be the actual government formed and the UML would be happy to just join the Congress in opposition waiting to pull it down in a few months? If so Prashant Jha should explain why before assuming that this razor-thin majority is what Prachanda is aiming for and what Bhattarai disagrees about.

I would assume that the next government will include UMLs, whether or not Prachanda wins a razor-thin majority without them, and therefore it will not have a razor-thin majority. Otherwise it would, as Bhattarai and Prachanda have both pointed out, be paralysed and stuck like the MKN government the Indians organized to exclude Maoists.

How long it takes to form a government including both UMLs and Maoists and hopefully Congress as well as Madheshi parties remains to be seen, but that is still the Maoist objective. The reason I assume that will be the end result is simply because any other option obviously won't work and those pushing to exclude the Maoists have already proved that it won't work while nobody is pushing to exclude the UMLs (including K P Oli although he appears to be trying to exclude his own party for temporary tactical reasons).

As usual, the Maoists point out the obvious, the other parties all resist and then after a delay and losing more of their mass support because of their obstruction, they end up having to agree to what the Maoists proposed long ago.

"I personally agree with you that the peace deal included democratisation of the NA. But Na has changed to the extent that it will in the present round of political struggle. You have to objectively look at the options that Maoists have in pushing this agenda. They can do what they did last year with limited success. They can say we won't write the constitution which suits the other parties just fine since they do not want it anyway. Jha seems to be making an underlying point which is recognise the reality and compromise for the sake of the constitution."

You may be right that the stalemate over democratizing the Nepal Army and integrating the two armies will continue because the Nepal Army (and India) will not be compelled to actually implement the peace agreement without another round of struggle. But neither will the Maoists give up the PLA while a feudal army remains a threat.

The compromise Prashant Jha is asking for misses the underlying point that it is a matter of life or death for the Maoists who have already lost more than 10,000 martyrs to the "security forces" and are still suffering  the murder of cadres almost every week. Land reform isn't possible with a feudal army standing ready to intervene and a new Nepal isn't possible without land reform.

The other parties aren't serious in demanding that the Maoists surrender to their enemies despite not having been defeated. What they are really saying is that they know the Maoists won't do that and they prefer the resulting stalemate in which both sides have an army and there is no stable constitution to facing the elections that will follow adopting a constitution.

That obstruction has lasted for a surprisingly long time. But it cannot last forever and the longer it lasts the more damage is done to Nepal by the obstruction and the less support the obstructive parties will have. Prashant Jha is not helping anybody by pretending it is just Prachanda who doesn't want to trust his life to an unreformed Nepal Army. There are no Maoist leaders willing to risk it.

"Perhaps he seems to be pushing Bhatarai since that is his line within the party. Surely you know not all your comrades want the constitution and this process to succeed."

As a foreign supporter who does not speak Nepali I have no special insight into views among comrades in Nepal. It would certainly be surprising if there weren't any thoroughly impatient with the long transition delay and ready to go back to war instead.

 But I see no sign that this is the position of any of the party leaders. The tactical and strategic differences I can see do not appear to be about the basic line of leading the Nepalese people's current agenda of republic, federalism, peace and constitution, but about how to implement that basic line.

Avik #7, thanks for the spelling correction.

Deep #8, the anti-Maoist parties have skillfully intrigued themselves into their present position by saying they agreed with the Maoist agenda of republic, federalism, peace and constitution but then doing the opposite. The Maoists, by doing exactly what they say, have built up a dual power on the ground and ensured that their opponents end up intriguing against each other. I find studying the Maoists grasp of strategy and tactics in both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary mass politics a fascinating contrast with the behaviour of pseudo-leftist sects in the west. They are certainly much more skilfull at handling intrigue than their transparantly stupid opponents in Nepal.

Others, bahunabad is an interesting topic, but it doesn't have much directly to do with the article.


23. Hermann
What is the use of the right to sit in a cafe if one does not have the means, the money to buy coffee.. So job creation is the issue. Who creats the job. / Not the State,its the Entrepreneurs. The job of the state is to facilitate and create simple rules to promote industries. Labour laws should be made rational  and beneficial to both  the labour and the employers.Protecting both interests.How long can  government give fish to the hungry, they should be given the fish pond and the block and the tacle ,the fishing rod and the training to raise fish. In the long run western capitalist countries have been able to address to the needs of the poor and raised their living standard than in Communist North Korea , Cuba or in other Dictatorial/authoritarian states.
So we should have Pluralism in politics,but address the poor and the needy in economics.
Who the hell is this Artful Dodger Arthur bye the way proselyting in our struggle against poverty, for  equality and inclusiveness .  but supporting  advocates of semi-militarists one party rule.,who brought the culture of abduction , murder and extortion in this land.
What this country needs is democratic social justice rule like in North Europe, not Communist  rule.


24. Dahmoines

In response to #9

Politicians in Nepal starting from Ranas/Shahs/Thapas/Pandeys to present day politicians have all been motivated for the most part by personal greed and ambitions. This is not limited to any one caste or ethnicity or even nationality ( there are plenty of corrupt politicians in many countries); and trying to view and solve this problem through an ethnic lens would be very misguided.

The core problem has been that historically, the political leaders in Nepal unlike in other countries, have never had to answer for their behavior to the people they supposedly represent; and have hardly ever been held accountable to the laws of the nation.

And unless there can be construed some mechanism to hold the political leaders and parties accountable for their behavior, the culture of impunity and corruption will continue like always.




25. Deep
22. Arthur "...a fascinating contrast with the behaviour of pseudo-leftist sects in the west." That must surely include your own tiny grouplet.

"They are certainly much more skilfull at handling intrigue than their transparantly stupid opponents in Nepal." Up to a point, they have been able to achieve their goals; but they already reached the limits of what armed struggle could achieve, necessitating an entry into politics. They are only the most recent Nepali party to lay down the gun and (re)enter the political arena; now they may have reached the limits of what they can gain by politics, with a return to military struggle looking a fading possibility...  Just like your romantic Stalinist fantasies.


26. Arthur
saroj, sorry, I forgot to respond to your #5 as well:

"Also Jha alludes to the point you raised about bhattarai not having the numbers either since NC UML have said they will not accept Maoist leadership. That is a question party members are sure to ask Bhattarai through this process where he has thrown his hat into the ring by pushing for new nominations."

Prashant Jha's comments on this are as, always, aimed against Prachanda and focussed on a personal conflict between them.

As far as I can see Prachanda being the initial candidate only makes it easier for the other parties to agree on Bhattarai later, without feeling humiliated by the Maoists.

Another aspect, not noticed, is that by rejecting Prachanda and choosing Bhattarai the other parties are implicitly accepting that their demand for the "compromise" Prashant Jha insists on - giving up the PLA while the feudal army remains unreformed - is simply unacheivable.

I do not believe any  Maoist leader could deliver that. But if any were to even propose it and be taken seriously it would have to be Prachanda, not Bhattarai.


27. Satya Nepali

#24:

Agree with you that accountability is the major weakness of our polity and society. Which is why I have constantly advocated for Referenda on major issues such as secularism, federalism, and republic.

The current CA clearly failed to deliver its mandate. Something has to be done to ensure that people in power don't get away scot-free for NOT delivering on their jobs/promises. Besides, a lot of decisions have been imposed on the Nepali people without our explicit consent or even clear understanding. Therefore, holding referenda will be a major achievement. It will correct the mistake of the past and drive home the point to all and sundry that the people of this country, not the politicians, hold the ultimate power.

I could say a lot more, but in short, holding referenda is the strongest way we can drive home the concept of accountability into our politicians' and peoples' minds!



28. Satya Nepali

#24 Dahmoines:

Totally agree with you that lack of accountability is the main problem in Nepal. Which is why I think holding Referenda on a number of major issues (eg. secularism, federalism and republic) is necessary. It is the most effective way of disciplining the politicians and making it clear, in no uncertain terms, that it�s the people, not the politicians, who are the supreme power in the country.

At the moment, the politicians have imposed many changes on the people without their explicit consent or understanding. I'd argue that most of these changes have been taken to promote the politicians� or parties� interests � and perhaps even that of foreign powers. But Nepali people themselves have not had the chance to consider the issues and make their own choices. If the politicians are allowed to continue like this they will forever continue abusing their powers. But if the decisions they�ve imposed on us are put to the vote, then finally the point will be driven home that politicians derive their authority from the people and are answerable to us.

This C.A. has failed to deliver its mandate. Politicians and people both need to realize that there are consequences to failure. They need to realize that it is NOT okay to make promises and not deliver on them. Holding referenda is the strongest (and most peaceful) way of delivering this message. It will both discipline the politicians and empower the people, making them aware of their ability to hold politicians to account. This is the way to resolve this serious problem of lack of accountability.


29. Budabaaje

@ Sushil K (#20), thanks for that long sad story about the Bahuns� historical lack of power. So they never had political power like Muslim imams or Christian priests, nor the economic power of Jews, eh? Perhaps that explains why they are so power-hungry today then! They feel that they never had it so good as their counterparts of other civilizations, and now, finally, is their chance! Perhaps they believe it�s their due, which is why they are so apathetic to the peoples� frustrations. �and let me clarify again, I was talking about the Bahuns in politics and media, not all Bahuns.

@ Dahmoines (#24), the difference between the Rana/Shahs etc of the past and the current Bahun politician  is that the Rana/Shahs were feudal rulers who presented themselves as such. They came to power through the sword and ruled by it. The politicians of today claim to be �democrats�, here to devolve power to the people and to work for their benefit. But they wield power just like a feudal ruler, using the state resources for their personal benefit and leaving the people in disarray. I�m not saying the Rana/Shahs were better. But they were wolves who presented themselves as wolves. Today�s Bahunist leaders are wolves who present themselves as lambs (�democrats�); Wolves in sheeps� clothing, as they say. That�s the difference. Get it?

@Arthur (#22), you say this article hasn�t much to do with Bahunism. As a foreigner you still have a lot to learn. This article is just the symptom, the outer results, of the inner Bahunist mentality and modus operandi.



30. jange
If Bahuns are so bad why do people keep voting them back in?


31. reader
budabaaje,

two problems with your argument.

1. being wolves in wolves' clothing, as you say, is not any better. but you still imply that they are better than bahuns who are supposedly wolves presenting themselves lambs. you may not say it - you only present it as a difference - but your history of comments proves that you feel this sort of honest rapacity is better than hypocrisy. am i right?

2. or perhaps i would be right if your initial argument held water. has it really been that long that they've been gone for you, budabaaje, to imagine that the ranas and shahs honestly presented themselves as wolves? they may have been honest about holding and keeping power (ie their lack of democratic credentials) but at least the shahs always maintained this was according to the desire of the people, who wanted to be ruled and looked after, and this was what they were doing. whatever they did, in fact, whether it was taking or relinquishing power, was for the greater good of the nation.

i wouldnt say either chhetri/thakuris or bahuns were better or worse than each other. they've had more of the share of the pie, and more opportunities to screw things up, that's for sure. perhaps other groups will find they can't do much better. let's hope not.


32. jange
I guess people need someone to blame. The King is gone- he was useful as a blame bag.

Ranas were too long ago but people still blame them.

Now it is Bahuns. Who next? Maybe we should pick Thakuris. After all the King was Thakuri-in-chief, was he not?

Find a Thakuri (or bahun, or whoever) and blame him.

Could make you feel better if nothing else.

Let's have a blame jatra. For a whole week we can blame all sorts of people/things/ideas/ghosts for our problems.


33. Dahmoines
In response to Budabaaje #29:
Your claim that Ranas/Shahs were not hypocrites like present day politicians is a tenuous one.
That Ranas/Shahs and their many supporters projected themselves as bad guys ie "wolves" is a fallacious argument.Almost every  dictator and politician in the world has tried to project himself as honest and working for the people and the country, while trying to fulfill his own  personal agenda. That is true in Nepal as well.
Even during the Panchayat era, the king and his supporters held "sham" elections to the Rastriya Panchayat to prove their "democratic" credentials to the people and the outside world, while maintaining a corrupt and repressive system that did nothing for the people of the country.
Would it not sound ludicrous if based on our history, someone claims that being repressive and corrupt is a unique feature limited to Shahs/Ranas/Thapas etc? 
Your previous arguments #9 #17 sound the same way, and seems to reflect your personal bias.
I think most people would like to be judged on their individual merits; and we should desist from trying to associate  certain traits to certain groups of people based on their caste, ethnicity or origin.








34. Budabaaje

Reader (#31), when I say Rana/Shah + others were not better, I mean that I am not supporting their rule i.e. feudal rule again. But is it better to see wolves in wolves� clothing as opposed to wolves in sheeps� clothing? Obviously, yes! Obviously honesty and straightforwardness is better than hypocrisy and sly cunning (Duh!) Do you disagree? In fact, you almost sound like you do prefer the second. Do you? (If so, maybe that helps to answer Jange�s question, #30!)

And quite honestly, I do not understand your second point. King Birendra gave up power in 1990 with very little bloodshed (relatively speaking). Throughout the 90s he didn�t interfere with the rule of the parties. Gyanendra took over power at the heat of the Maoist insurgency when, like now, the parties could not decide on their leadership. After he gave up power, he too has not interfered with the new rulers and system. So what�s your point? What intricate complexity are you trying to build into this simple truth? Are you trying to imply that somehow the �ghosts� of the Rana/Shahs are responsible for the mess we are in today?! (Perhaps this is an example of Bahunist �shabda-jal�!)

Jange, will get back to you if there�s time. But it�s already Thursday. We might have to continue this in another thread�



35. Arthur
Budabaaje, #29 surely you are not suggesting that the "political gossip" approach in the article reflects some sort of Chakari from a Shrotriya Brahmin of Mithila to a Bahun of Gorkha? Why wouldn't Prashant Jha curry favour with one of the other Bahuns instead of Bhattarai?

Oh I see, you are not referring to the article itself but to the idea that all the main parties argue endlessly about nothing because they are all led by Bahun males, as mentioned frequently by (Bahun male) Kunda Dixit. How original! But as I said, that doesn't have much directly to do with the article.

jange #32 no, no, no, not even for a single post should you fail to blame the maoists for all problems!


36. Manik

Wow, amusement in plenty.

 Look how NT regulars have succumbed to pseudo-intellect blackhole and suddenly decided to talk 'Bahunbad'___its again the multiple scores of 12 blind men taking stock of the elephant [sickly, the sorry state of Nepal]. I woundn't be surprised should 'BUDABAAJE' & 'DAHMOINES' or even the likes of 'SLARTI' ultimately purpose to turn[or even murder-such is the moronic psyche of otherwise bahun bums] all the 'Bahuns' into whatever sheep or goat or a tiger breed of 'somethingbad' good enough to rule the country...possibly the new breed carry the secret potion to turn the country into singapore, switzerland, Canada for heavens sake!

Arthur, Jange...you do better than that.

Bahunbad if there was any...would be, when all Bahuns came together and decided to work together...isn't that what we all want as of today mate?! stale.

 



37. jange
Arthur ji,

God forbid that I should blame the Maoists for anything. You will never meet another group as peace loving, friendly, honest and who have all the other good attributes plus the standard 32. Verily, Prachanda is he reincarnation of Buddha.

No blame on the Maoists at all. It is just that they murder, loot and extort. That's not blame. Just a description of what they do.


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