When the history of the wasted years after the May 2008 elections is written, it will not be kind on Pushpa Kamal Dahal. The heavily-garlanded man who stood up on the steps of the Convention Centre and declared that his party's victory was "a triumph of the Nepali people, and a triumph for peace" could have seized the future. He could have been a statesman to steer this country's destiny, but instead of being a leader of all Nepalis he just behaved like a party boss.
Prachanda's slide started the day he reached that peak four years ago, with vacillation and ambivalence on the peace process, manipulation behind enemy lines of the fickle and venal leaders of the NC and UML, back-stabbing of Girija Koirala to prevent him from becoming Nepal's first president, his personal ambition, the fork tongue and constant lying, and his corrosive envy of Baburam Bhattarai. He squandered his party's mandate, wasted his charisma so that the leadership qualities and oratorical skills that had stood him in good stead during the conflict lost their edge.
If he had only been able to rise above it all, used his popularity to prioritise the national interest to show domestic and international players that he could be trusted as a guarantor of stability, perhaps the history of the past four years would have turned out differently. When he found his path blocked by the determination of the Indian establishment to prevent him from getting anywhere near power, he sold his soul to be anointed again. It didn't work. Within his own party, he is now reviled by the hardliners, and distrusted by the establishment faction. His clout among the NC, UML and Madhesi parties has diminished after he showed himself to be willing to align himself with even monarchists to retain a foothold.
But such is the force of the man's personality, and the fear that the word 'Prachanda' still evokes, that he can still make or break the peace and constitution project. The party which he has headed for 25 years still carries the swing vote to block, delay or finally bring closure to the political transition so this country can move ahead.
The Constituent Assembly this week unanimously voted itself another, and last, extension. If the constitution is still not written by 30 May 2012, we are in deep trouble. And the responsibility for that failure will lie with the Maoist party, and particularly Chairman Dahal. After all, he has shown half-hearted commitment to concluding the process because of a combination of internal party pressure, a desire to keep his army in the camps as a bargaining chip, and a hardly-concealed obsession to be in the driving seat so he can take the credit for ending the peace process.
A lot of what happens in the next six months will depend on how much leeway the Baidya faction gives Dahal, how much they will be tempted to brandish the ethnic card to counter Dahal.
Despite past mistakes, Pushpa Kamal Dahal is still the lynchpin for the constitution, here is his chance to belatedly show statesmanship and to rise above personal and partisan ambition to steer the country towards democracy and stability.
Read also: Unfinished business, RUBEENA MAHATO The problems of a nation are too complex and entrenched to be corrected by fait accompli decision-making
Corrupt at the roots, ANURAG ACHARYA The all-party mechanism grabs headlines for all the wrong reasons
When the history of the wasted years after the May 2008 elections is written, it will not be kind on Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
When you have to resort to future historians to back up your argument you are well and truly lost.
02 DEC 2011 | 5:35 PM NST
Imagine if Nepali Times had played a constructive role in the past few years. Instead of the "usual" anti-Maoists shouting that they want the world to stop so they can get off, you could have provided a forum for constructive debate.
Now you are reduced to blaming Prachanda for all problems. Easy cheap popularity with your mandale readers but not much help for understanding what happens.
02 DEC 2011 | 6:45 PM NST
Girija represented the corruption, instability and nepotism of the 90s. He supported the rebellion against monarchy only after the king dissolved the parliament. He was an opportunist. Girija was ineligible to be the first president of Nepal. Thanks to Prachanda that it didn't happen. Prachanda has declined because he has become soft.
02 DEC 2011 | 10:57 PM NST
4. Ashok SJB Rana
Bull shit coments by N T ! Come on, give us a break. Do u think u are the only one with any brains. Prachande is a chor, a thief, a liar, a cheat, a back stabber, corrupt and stinking man. He is just a man. If he disappeared from the face of the world no one will miss him. That is how disgusting I find this man to be. And yet, NT says without PKD, we are stuck, sunk, blowing in the wind, what ever. Come on NT, do u know that " the King is Dead, Long live the King ". Actually we need a REAL Pranchanda... we need a Prachanda Pratapi Bhupati. A man who is fit to be a King, who cares about the Nepalis like they are his own family. We definetly DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT need this chor Prachande read PKD... he is disgrace to Nepal. NT editors, you must all be Maoist in disguise... Give us a break ...man
02 DEC 2011 | 1:28 AM NST
5. manohar budhathoki
always listen to Arthur. Arthur knows best. Just listen to the venom he spews as a die hard supporter of the group that started this culture of violence and counter-violence, and our country will prosper? The 'revolution' has left scars on our society that will take forever to heal. For the record, i donot espouse that the society before the 'revolution' was anywhere near perfect. But two wrongs do not make it right. What we needed was sound policies for economic development and integration of the marginalised. Not violence! Violence begets counter violence, in case people have not worked that out. What would have happened if the 'revolution' had not happened? Food for thought? I strongly feel Nepal would have made huge strides just like India, China, Bangladesh or most other countries of the world despite our bungling multi-party leadership.I have no problem with where we have arrived today as country but rather how we have arrived there. The future will demand answers!
03 DEC 2011 | 12:17 PM NST
If there is anything I like the most of Nepal's power structure is its extra-ordinary ability to undress its agents with little willpower. Even the King revered as the God could not be saved then I ask who is Prachanda, the very awesome? He is being already stripped off in front of everyone at fast speed so If he paces up and down with his rhetoric of "we'll seize the power anyhow, through ballets or by bullets." For sure he will be the first leader of the world to get the capital punishment in front of large mass in a country where it does not exist in 21st century. The nepali people have just about had it up to here with this man called Prachanda and he is far from understanding this ground reality.
03 DEC 2011 | 12:19 AM NST
The Maoists lied, looted, murdered and plundered and continue to do so. For each crime they are rewarded. And, on top of that they steal even more, and all we get in return is abuse.
The people of this country had their throats cut open when they opposed the Maoists when there was a war, they were abused by the media for being rightist.
The people of this country are being cheated by the Maoists as we speak, one can see the riches of those connected with the Maoist everyday. When the people of this country point to that theivery they are insulted by the unber-educated elite of this country who get a share of the riches.
The abusive supporters of Maoists interrupted the education of thousands upon thousands of kids and use them as a cannon fodder against a righteous army and King. The King and the National Army are abused by the intellectuals of this country and are abused every day as a form of standard defense. The Maoists get the moolah, and on top of that steal from the people of this country.
Muderers in any country are imprisoned, here the intellectuals and the political leaders ensured that they were paid 15000 per murderer for nearly six years, and on top of that they stole, they looted, they murdered still, and continue to loot, murder and steal, and on top of all that they are going to continue to loot murder and cheat.
All that the people of this country will get is abuse, more abuse, more loot more abuse, more thievery, more abuse, more murder, and if you oppose them some deranged foreigner will call you Mandale.
Welcome to the new world of new politics in new nepal.
04 DEC 2011 | 10:11 AM NST
Prachanda, has lost a great opportunity in the past to move forward in bring the peace process to the conclusion earlier but then again the situation was slightly different politically. Don't get me wrong I don't support him, or his looney left party that have only caused misery and suffering to this nation inorder to over throw an already established multiparty democratic system through violence.
The situation in 2008, was very different in terms of the false confidence the Maoist had in successfully winning the election due to multiple reasons, including fear, intimidation and booth capturing during the election process by Maoist cadres, people's fatigue during the insurgency therefore an attempt to keep the maoists from returning to the Jungle, people's willingness in Nepal to try something that has been untested , a genuine Nepali inquisitiveness cultural trait, the open corruption by the political parties in the 1990's long in the mind of alot of people well the Maoists have certainly caught up with that in last 3-4 years.
Anyway in winning the 2008 elections, they now got a false sense of great confidence of pushing their militant policies, and false promising which were made to their cadres and supporters. A strong revolutionary stance in negotiations, ignoring past agreements which were signed in New Delhi and turning their back on their opportunistic supporter slimey Girija of the NC. I guess it had to take 3-4 years for their militant stance to slowly calm down, weakneing and finally accept the planned proposal of Army intergration of their cadres, consistent to the original Army proposal in the first place. This wouldn't and could not have happened in 2008, the Maoists were talking about dismantling the Nepal Army and creating a new force with them leading. What a load of baloney it tunred out to be and has shown all along the insurgency was about getting to power and using these cadres as a tool of force which could be discarded quite easily when not required anymore.
Prachanda has lost alot of respect and trust both domestically and Internationally during his time in the CA, his weaknesses are bare for everyone to see and remember. But as politics is a dirty game and especially Nepali politics he still remains an important figure which probably say's more about our society than him in all truth.
04 DEC 2011 | 11:02 AM NST
9. sano bhai
Why do the words of the editorialist seem so obvious? so repetitive?
Who can say he did not see it coming?
Soon enough we will have the "I told you so", the "we should have and shouldn't have"
04 DEC 2011 | 7:29 PM NST
Who created this image of a great man fighting for the rights of the poor and downtrodden in the popular Nepali imagination? Who infused the 'awesomeness' into this Biology teacher with extreme political views? Who sold the dream (an empty one, one might add) of a 'naya Nepal' with 'naya smabhidhan'? Who got millions of Nepalis rallying behind this man's party that rose to prominence, not through any tangibly good work to uplift the poor, but through sheer terror and violence and empty rhetoric?!
When the history of Nepal, both pre and post 2008 is written, one hopes the historians will pay adequate attention to these questions too. Only then will it be a truthful, sensible and useful history.
04 DEC 2011 | 3:10 AM NST
Going through the recent interviews of Prachanda, anyone with enough knowledge on the term leadership and leadership analyzed from Nepali viewpoint will say that he is a good orator and a good demagogue for people like us who have seen how these sorts of personalities were able to seize the power in name of liberation of oppressed ones. Prachanda bears this capacity to attract the diverse audience of Nepal. He previously thinks what he is going to say but he doesn't say clearly what he thinks. Certainly, it is a good quality to manage a conflict in a private business company(even within his party) but when it comes to a leader of a party with one third of representation in the country, we should be preventive with some intelligent precautionary measures. Because the ultra-left tumour of Prachanda continue nibbling his brain and his ubiquitous desire for a single predominant communist party. He is betraying the country and the people because the cause of higher rank for him is neither the democracy nor the oppressed ones, they are just mere means to garner votes but it is his dream to be appeared in the books of history as the Nepali Lenin of godlike communist party of Nepal. In case it happens (and there is nothing that could say the contrary) his targets will be following: 1. A highly controlled judiciary. 2. The journalism completely hooked on the idea to serve the regime and the governing party i.e the journalism with no professional independence. 3. An electoral system where political influences can be cash in.
I do not share the idea that the12 points peace pacts made the current change be possible. If we are to be honest while analysing the situations, it was first the idiocy of King Gyanendra, second the ego of GPK and the third, the most important one, is Indian's forever known target to lust for the control of Nepali politics that made possible 12 points pact.
It can be said that yesterday we people were fool to believe everything that was told because sometimes people can be infatuated and "the leaders" can use them up and make them indolent. But I'm pretty sure that the man/woman in the street, the ordinary citizen will not be so stupid TOMORROW as today. Let me finish this comment by saying that YOU ALL have to JOIN to write this TOMORROW, only the fascists be it from the right spectrum and/or the extreme left like the Maoists dream of writing/correcting history but we who believe in democracy(in spite of some existing flaws) we put in a lot of effort to write TOMORROW, worthy of admiration.
05 DEC 2011 | 6:35 PM NST
12. K. K. Sharma
".........Pushpa Kamal Dahal is still the lynchpin for the constitution, here is his chance to belatedly show statesmanship and to rise above personal and partisan ambition to steer the country towards democracy and stability."
This last sentence seems to indicate you are writing for the sake of writing, not for saying anything useful. A Communist " to steer the country towards democracy and stability,"....and a radical one for that, is a wishful thinking of a hilarious kind. Or is it really that you do not know the difference between Democracy and Communism.
06 DEC 2011 | 9:35 PM NST
#2 Arthur or
Macarthy ? I wonder why are you not in the groovy Group of 601 ? Off course from PKD's nomination Then we could call you Senator Mac- Arthy of Nepal. You must be the Maoist Minister of Dis-information. Then you could ban news papers like the Nepali Times. No regret ; we imported a capable one from the land of the Imperialist White andCo. Not their running dog or a lackey. Their loss is our gain. The more of you ,the better for our nascent democrazy.