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Blessings from Indian Political Gurus

Issue 12, March 22, 2009

By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

Nepalese political leaders having lost their grassroots level political base as a result of their activities that went against the inspiration of the people for building a New Nepal recently sought blessings of the Indian political gurus for returning back to power. They went to India on the pretext of health checkups and met with their Indian political gurus. However, Indian gurus were not in the mood of interfering in the internal matters of Nepal despite the desire of some Nepalese political leaders for doing so. They complained to the Indian leaders about the Maoists’ authoritarian rule in Nepal.

First went the political leader called Mr. KP Oli to India on the pretext of health checkup. He was the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of former Prime Minister Girija Parasad Koirala in the Interim Cabinet set up by the People’ Movement against the despotic monarchy in 2006. During his term of the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Oli did everything possible to assist Girija in saving the despotic monarchy in Nepal. However, he could not do much against the popular will for removing the monarchy forever.

Mr. Oli lost the election for the seat of the Constituent Assembly as the result of his standing on saving the monarchy. He also recently lost the election for the chair of his party called Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML).

So, most of the Indian leaders, Mr Oli wanted to meet did not entertain his request, as he was rejected by his people and his own party cadres too in the elections. He attempted to boast saying that he had the support of the former king. However, he could inspire none of his Indian political gurus for blessing him with at least a meeting.

In the second week of March, Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala was in New Delhi. He went for quick health checkups then he started meeting with his Indian political gurus. He complained to them about the authoritarian tendency of the Maoists in Nepal. However, his Indian political gurus advised him to cooperate with the Government of Nepal and other political parties on writing a constitution and institutionalizing a lasting peace in Nepal.

After the return from India, Nepali Congress President Girija has indicated that his party might join the government. It is the clear indication that his Indian political gurus must have told him that he has no alternatives but to cooperate with the government and other political parties on institutionalizing a lasting peace in Nepal. However, it was not the first time he indicated to join the government but had not done so, yet.

Girija was after all in search of getting back to fully fledge power not sharing the power with the Maoists. He even offered the position of Prime Minister to the leaders of the CPN-UML and Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) in a coalition government without the Maoists. However, seeing his past performance of manipulating such governments headed by other political leaders for taking back the power, these leaders did not trust him and did not form a coalition with the Nepali Congress of Girija.

After the failure of forming a coalition government without the Maoists, Nepali Congress President Girija opted to stay in the opposition. Since then he has been trying various options to take the power back. First, he went for the campaigning the awareness of the Maoists’ excessive deeds among the Nepalese people but it did not create ripples. He ordered the members of the Constituent Assembly belonging to his party to block the sessions of the Constituent Assembly demanding the return of properties seized by the Maoists. Most of his party men got back the properties. Thereafter, he has been opposing any decisions made by the government, and lastly he went to India begging for the corrections of the Maoists’ authoritarian rule in Nepal.

Maoists’ leaders particularly Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai so much concerned with the visit of Gyanendra Shah and then President of Nepali Congress Girija Prasad Koirala expressed his satisfaction from their visit to India, as none of the Nepalese political leaders have achieved anything in India. He even told the state-run Radio Nepal anchor that it was a good sign that none of the Nepalese leaders received anything in India. The Indian leaders were in no mood of advising anything to Girija and others visiting India except for asking them to going back to Nepal and cooperating with the political parties and the government of Nepal on institutionalizing a lasting peace in Nepal and crafting a new constitution.

Some political analysts say that Girija has been Mr. ‘No’ in building a new Nepal. First he said, ‘no’ to let form a Maoist-led government after the election for the Constituent Assembly despite the major seats they had won in the election, and then he refused to join the government headed by Prime Minister Prachanda breaking the tradition of the consensus politics that had been agreed upon among the political parties. Thereafter, he went after the current government saying ‘no’ to anything the government did, and attempted to overturn the government’s decisions on many things. Girija has been vehemently opposing the recent government’s decision on not extending the terms of the eight brigadier generals of the Nepal Army. In the recent past, he had encouraged the Nepal Army chief to disregard the instruction of the Ministry of Defense on stopping the process of the new recruitment, despite the fact that the new recruitment went against the Comprehensive Peace Agreement he had once signed with the then rebel leader Prachanda. Some political analysts have been saying that Girija had been attempting to set a dangerous precedent drawing the army to the political game. He often said that he would go even to the hell to resolve some particular problems. So, he might be taking his party with him to the hell not cooperating on resolving many political economical and social problems Nepalese people have been facing so far.

Former King Gyanendra Shah has been in India for several weeks attending the wedding part of his relative and making contacts with the political leaders. He met with Narendra Modi: one of the Hindu fanatics. Gyanendra could spend a lot of time in India, as he had nothing to do in Kathmandu.

One of the Maoists’ leaders speaking to the Radio Nepal anchor told that his party has reliable information on Gyanendra going to Indian political leaders begging for support for making his grandson a baby king; he confessed his past political mistakes to Indian leaders and then seeking their support for making his grand son a baby king in Nepal.

Similarly, Minister for Finance Dr, Babu Ram Bhattarai told in the public meeting that Gyanendra had gone to India for reviving the dead monarchy. He even went on telling that other Nepalese leaders taking a trip to India had been intriguing to topple the current government.

On March 19, 2009, the Nepalese media reported that Gyanendra Shah requested an audience with President of Indian Congress Sonia Gandhi. She gracefully granted a private audience to Gyanendra after a long silence to the request for the audience; however, it was not a political audience.

Nepalis had not forgotten that Nelson Mandela refused to meet the then-autocratic King Gyanendra in South Africa in 2005. However, Sonia Gandhi is not a Mandela; she also inherited the position of the party president from her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi otherwise she as an ordinary housewife of the Italian origin could never dream of being the president of such a large political party in India.  She would even have been the Prime Minister of India if the opposition political parties had not rejected her to be the Prime Minister because she was of foreign born. She is also the friend of the so-called Nepalese royalties.

Some Nepalese political leaders had set the tradition of seeking the blessings from their Indian political gurus. Even believed to be the mighty family rulers called Ranas had sought the favor of the then British rulers in India to sustain their authority in Nepal. Then the leaders such as Ganesh Man Singh and B. P. Koirala of Nepali Congress and King Tribhuvan sought the assistance of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for political settlement with the Ranas and had tripartite agreement among the Nepali Congress leaders, the king and the Ranas in 1951 following the advice of Indian Prime Minister Nehru. So, Girija has simply followed the footsteps of his senior brother B. P. Koirala 

Girija would have been well off going to the Nepalese people seeking the blessing for the return to power than going to India and seeking the blessings of Indian political leaders. In the democratic system of governance, only voters could return political leaders back to power. So, if Girija believes in democracy then he needs to build the grassroots level political base to return to power in the next elections rather than going to India and seeking assistance from the Indian leaders for correcting the Maoists’ authoritarian rule in Nepal and using the same old tricks of removing former Prime Ministers such as Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Sher Bahadur Deuba, Surya Bahadur Thapa and Man Mohan Adhikari in the past to remove the current government. Girija needs to understand that in the changed political context and the power balance, he would not be able to apply the same old tricks. Let Girija get enlightenment to save his party and himself from ruin.

March 19, 2009.

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