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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The unravelling in Nepal

The whole Maoist political experiment is crying out for a rethink

Written by Yubaraj Ghimire | March 17, 2009 12:38:54 am

Complete distrust now clouds the relationship between the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (CPN-M). As the two parties had joined hands in the anti-monarchy agenda three years ago with the pledge to work together along with other pro-democracy parties,for peace,democracy,prosperity and political stability, this development will have a far wider impact in the country.

This threat of political instability comes at a time when the country is already dealing with the initial impact of the global recession. The remittance-based economy is on a downward slide as an estimated 400,000 Nepalis earning abroad are trickling back,adding to the existing unemployment in the country. Moreover,a daily 20-hour power cut has already dealt a fatal blow to existing industries in the country. Massive taxation on people and industries is only raising the discontent level against the Maoists-led government . And the Maoist response to all this is simple one liner: this is the outcome of the 240-year feudal (monarchy) rule.

The Nepali Congress that danced to the Maoist tune for about three years,beginning November 2005 until the overthrow of the monarchy,now blames the Maoists for having joined the democratic system for tactical ends,and appears to be in a hurry to replace it from the government,without actually having enough strength to do so in the constituent assembly.

The Maoists’ response to such a move is: ‘we will capture power if there is any attempt to remove us from the government’. No one knows what ‘capture’ of the state by a ruling party means. But everyone has now come to realise that the Maoists are yet to adopt multi-party system of democracy,and their ultimate faith remains fixed on the strength of weapons.

Its impact on Nepal’s politics is apparent. The politics of weapons has been legitimised to the extent that anyone who wants to raise certain political demands first begin collecting arms. The birth and rapid growth of armed outfits led by criminals — at present about 42 — is proof. Their justification is simple: if the Maoist party that rules the country can have its own army and armoury,‘why can’t we do the same’?

Of course,the Maoists have a history of having waged armed insurgency against the state for one decade beginning February 2006,but they are playing politics of deceit and dishonesty — one after another — by simply refusing to honour the provisions of the comprehensive peace process. They have betrayed the political parties at home who were party to the peace process,and the international community that put high hopes on the courage of the Maoist leadership to say farewell to arms.

But they have failed at home,and they have failed the international community in less than three years. The country faces the worst kind of crisis in its life. While the central authority of the state has almost collapsed,far more radical demands for creation of autonomous provinces (ethnicity based provinces) with the right to self determination are threatening the existence and unity of the country. The Maoists and some other groups are now asserting that the unity of the country following a military conquest by Prithvinarayan Shah,the 11th forefather of the last king Gyanendra,is an unacceptable historical factor. And now the Maoists are facing questions from the angry people,and dejected political partners — can you hold the unity and integrity of the country intact ?

Any bid to topple the Maoist led government may lead to disintegration of the country. In fact,the country never appeared so fragile and weak in the past.

With the Maoist-dictated multi-party democracy experiment in Nepal failed beyond hope,Nepali Congress chief G. P. Koirala has gone to Delhi,ostensibly for a medical check-up. But this visit also seems to be for a political postmortem — where did all the actors (and mediator) go wrong? What will be the price of Maoists refusing to toe the democratic line ? And incidentally,the much-vilified and hounded former king is also going to be in Delhi for few days after March 17 on his way back to Nepal after a social-cum-religious trip. Whether he will be involved in the Nepal review process formally or informally in Delhi will send a much deeper signal in Nepal.

yubaraj.ghimire@expressindia.com

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