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Deuba’s Strategy Worked

Issue January 2018

Deuba’s Strategy Worked

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s strategy of hanging on to power has been even though he has made his party a fearful crash in the provincial and federal elections, has been quite triumphant, and he might be successful to gain a few seats in the National Assembly of which the elections are going to be held soon after the president approved the National Assembly Election Ordinance Deuba had submitted to the president more than two months ago. He also had effectively punched away his rivals and opponents defeating them in the provincial and federal elections. Now, he is driving away the supporters of his opponents not giving them the seats in the federal and provincial parliaments elected through the proportional representation, which his party had won significantly.


On December 29, 2017, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari put her signature on the National Assembly Election Ordinance Deuba had submitted more than two months ago for her signature to make it a temporary law and pave the way for holding the election to the National Assembly after the federal and provincial elections held in various stages to complete the total election process definitely.


Politicians, and so-called legal and constitutional experts belonging to the Deuba camp have been saying that the president has been holding the ordinance unnecessarily and unconstitutionally and even one of the advocates went to the Supreme court demanding the president signed off the ordinance immediately but the president did so before the court has conducted any hearings on the petition.


While others belonging to the KP Oli’s camp have been saying that Deuba has unscrupulously changed his stand on the election process from the direct to a Single Transferable Voting (STV) system for the National Assembly after the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist-Center announced the formation of the Left Alliance for the provincial and federal elections, and the unification of the two communist parties into one being sure that his party would absolutely lose the elections, and to save his party from the total disastrous failure in the elections adopted the STV, and submitted the ordinance accordingly to the president for ratification. That is not fair at all, they said.


According to the guys in the Oli camp, Deuba’s party and Oli’s party had been for the majority rule in the election to the National Assembly and submitted the Bill on it to the parliament but the CPN-Maoist-Center had been for the STV. So, the parliament could not passed it and left as it was for Deuba to submit as the ordinance but Deuba deviously switched into the STV when he was sure that his party was going to lose the provincial and federal elections.


President Bhandari has been holding the ordinance so long because she once belonged to CPN-UML, and she is still under the influence of CPN-UML. She has approved the ordinance only after Chairman of CPN-Maoist-Center Prachanda went to see the president and urged her to accept the ordinance obviously after agreeing on this matter with his counterpart KP Oli. That has been the political skill of Prachanda that has been saying the issue of ordinance is the political one and it needs to be resolved politically. Finally, he did it.


However, Oli has continued to say that Deuba has created an unwarranted situation to put heavy pressure on the president to approve the ordinance. The pressure might be for Deuba simply hanging on power without completing the election process and ultimately creating the constitutional crisis. Following the provision made in the constitution of 2015, all the elections including the local-level elections have to be done by January 20, 2018. Time has been running out very fast for completing the National Assembly elections. Deuba is still taking time to set the date for the National Assembly elections even after the president has completed her duty of signing off the National Assembly Election Ordinance. Deuba has been deliberately dragging his feet, Oli says.


Deuba would not have a problem of this sort had the president belonged to his party or the person belonging to his camp but unfortunately for Deuba the president has been the person of the opposite camp even though his party had voted for her. However, Deuba has used his mind unquestionably well for winning at least a few seats in the National Assembly forcing the president endorsed the ordinance he had submitted with some corrections thus politically striking Oli very hard that had been adamantly sticking to his stand on majority votes for the election to the National Assembly.


Deuba has claimed that he is committed to enforce the constitution; to this end, he has fruitfully completed the elections for which he deserves to be appreciated but rather than getting thanks he has been subjected to criticism, according to the news in “gorkhapatra” of December 31, 2017.


Despite the criticism of the opposition that Deuba has been intriguing to postpone the elections, and the Maoist ministers hanging out in the cabinet so that Deuba would not be able to do anything drastically, Deuba has done something for the elections but not for successfully holding the elections as the Election Commission has held the elections not the Deuba’s government. Election Commission deserves the admiration for the success of the elections despite the violence and threats of some minor opposition political parties not the prime minister.


National Assembly will have 59 members, 56 of them are elected every six years; and then the president appoints the remaining three. For the first time, the term of office of National Assembly members will be decided by a lottery who will get two-year, four-year and six-year term. Thereafter, elections will be held to elect one-third of the members of the National Assembly every two years. Thus, National Assembly is a permanent body.


“An electoral college made of members of the State Assembly, chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of the Village Bodies, and Mayors and Deputy-Mayors of the Municipalities, with different weightage of vote by members of the State Assembly, chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of the Village Bodies, and Mayors and Deputy-Mayors of the Municipalities, as provided for in the Federal law will elect the members of the National Assembly,” says the constitution of 2015.


Deuba has still to nominate the provincial (State) chiefs to make EC able to submit the results of the provincial elections to the chiefs following the constitution of 2015 to complete the election process for the provinces so that the members of the provincial assemblies could be part of the electoral college for electing the National Assembly members. Deuba also needs to appoint three members to the National Assembly to give a full life to it.


Deuba, as a man of high moral standard has to consult at least with the Left Alliance and appoint the provincial chiefs to the seven provinces, and then the three members to the National Assembly before he could claim for any rewards for completing the elections. However, he is not for consulting with his antagonist: Oli and any other political leaders on selecting the persons to be appointed. Oli has been warning Deuba of Oli is not recognizing the Deuba’s appointments to the provincial chiefs, and probably to the members of the National Assembly if Deuba is to appoint without consultation with the opposition leaders.


In fact, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Deuba, the president does all those appointments. Neither Deuba nor Oli as a prime minister is to appoint the provincial chiefs and the three persons to the National Assembly. Their job is to make recommendations only. However, the president could not make any appointments without the recommendations of the prime minister.


A meeting held on December 28, 2017, Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Ayodhee Prasad Yadav has presided over made the decision on calling on the political parties to register their parties with it for the purpose of holding the election to the National Assembly following the Article 269 of the Constitution of Nepal, according to the news posted on The decision says, “Interested political parties, earlier registered with the EC as per Article 269 of the Constitution, are required to re-register with the election body according to Article 271 of the Constitution as well as Clauses 48 or 49 of the Political Party Act 2016.”


Anticipating the president would approve the National Assembly Election Ordinance EC has begun the election process for the National Assembly immediately. Once the deadlock is broken up the president signing off the National Assembly Election Ordinance, EC could work on the election to the National Assembly. So, EC has been working smartly to make sure that election is held without glitches.


On December 29, 2017, EC also said that the deadline for the parties to submit the final list of the names of their candidates to the provincial assemblies following the proportional representation system would expire on Friday, December 29, 2017. EC has set a seven day-deadline for the political parties to submit the list of their candidates to fill up the seats they won through the proportional representation (PR) elections to the provincial assemblies. Thirteen political parties have won one or more PR seats in the provincial assemblies but only Nepal Workers and Peasants’ Party and Biveksheel Shajha Party have managed to provide EC with the list of their candidates so far, the news on stated.


At the meeting with Prime Minister Deuba held at his Baluwatar official residence on Friday, December 29, 2017, CEC Yadav said that EC would need 30 days to hold the election to National Assembly after the government sets the date for holding the election, and announces it. All Election Commissioners were present at the meeting, and they also have urged the government to appoint provincial chiefs, as the members of provincial assemblies have to take oath of office from the provincial chiefs, the news on stated on December 29, 2017. A total of 2056: 1,506 chiefs and deputy chiefs of 753 local bodies, and 550 provincial assembly members of seven provinces will be the Electoral College for the National Assembly election.


EC has said whether to use ballot papers or electronic voting machine for the National Assembly elections has not been decided, yet. “We must also conduct voters’ education program about the Single Transferable Vote system; It will take 30 days to complete all that,” an EC commissioner said, and EC has also yet to decide whether to hold the election in each province or to call all the voters to a single place for election, the news posted on stated on December 29, 2017.


At the meeting with Prime Minister Deuba at the president’s Shital Niwas official residence on Friday, December 29, 2017, President Bhandari has said that she signed off the ordinance for ending the political dispute and the political stalemate it has caused, President’s Chief Personal Secretary Bhesh Raj Adhikari told RSS reporter, the news posted on stated on December 29, 2017.


Deuba had been at the president’s office for the regular briefing the president.


President Bhandari had held separate talks with Prime Minister Deuba, Chairman of CPN-UML KP Oli, Chairman of CPN-Maoist-Center Prachanda and the top leaders of Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal to understand their views on the ordinance before signing it off. The president had been insisting on building a political consensus on the ordinance. However, Deuba stood out against the president’s suggestion on building a consensus on the ordinance, and the Oli’s strong opposition to the ordinance the president signing it off as it was


Chairman of CPN-UML KP Oli has claimed that President Bhandari had signed off the National Assembly Election Ordinance under the heavy widespread pressure. “The ordinance has been brought in a conspiratorial, sly manner through an undemocratic process violating the Constitution and the norms and values of democracy,” said he. “President has issued it. It’s her business. We don’t say issuing it is unconstitutional. She has issued the ordinance. It is not unconstitutional but the matter inside the ordinance is unconstitutional,” explained he, according to the news posted on stated on December 29, 2017.


Oli also accused NC of dragging the President into controversy and not respecting her. “NC doesn’t show any respect for the president. It’s not just about lack of respect. NC sent the kids to the streets and insult the President, and asked its cronies in the media to write against her and drag her into controversy in an unfair manner when she said she will hold consultations for a while. This is an undemocratic and uncivil manner,” said Oli, the news on stated on December 29, 2017.


The Left Alliance has been demanding EC announce the final results of House of Representatives and send that to the President’s Office for formalizing the elections before the National Assembly election. However, other political parties such as NC, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) have stood up against it and argued for holding the election to the National Assembly instead.


Senior advocate Gyan Mani Neupane has filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday, December 28, 2017 demanding different orders on the ordinance about election of the National Assembly making the President’s Office, Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the three major political parties such as NC, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist-Center as defendants. The SC has confirmed registration of the writ petition, according to the news posted on on December 28, 2017.


Senior advocate Neupane has demanded an order to issue the National Assembly Election Ordinance held at the President’s Office, and also demanded an order to instruct PMO to immediately appoint provincial chiefs, Election Commission (EC) to not announce final results of House of Representatives before the issue of ordinance, and NC, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist-Center not to put pressure on the president to hold on the ordinance, the news posted on stated on December 28, 2017


Deuba had smack down Ram Chandra Poudel, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Shekhar Koirala, Bimalendra Nidhi, two KCs (Arjun and Govinda Narshings) and two Mahats (Ram and Prakash Sharans) in the provincial and federal elections.


Koirala had attempted to rise up and punch back Deuba calling for the meeting of the central working committee of the NC party but no response from the NC leadership so far, and what Koirala has been doing known to him only.


Poudel has apparently got up, and has been trying to punch Deuba back sending his student cadres to hold a different rally to mark the 40th year of the reconciliation day of BP Koirala. Students belonging to Deuba camp have hard time to fight with the student cadres of Poudel camp.


Sitaula, Nidhi, KCs, and Mahats have not been able to wake up to the political situation from the hibernation they have gone after the smack down of Deuba, and probably soon they would come to the sense and do something to punch Deuba back.


Deuba wants to take the advantage of political rivalry between Prachanda and Oli, and split them apart to take another advantage of their breakup means the breakup of the Left Alliance. However, Deuba might not be able to snare them, as both Prachanda and Oli have learned a lot during the last decade, and probably they have been hardened politicians that would not be easily tricked.


However, Deuba continued to conspire against Oli attempting to attract Prachanda to the five-year term prime minister. It is a childish trick Deuba trying to play with, as already said, Prachanda and Oli are both matured politicians and they would not be ensnared by the Deuba’s offer. However, Deuba’s offer if it works would kill a number of birds with a single bullet of Deuba. First, the Left Alliance would break up; then Oli would lose the chance of being a prime minister for a second term. Third, the left parties trying to be a single unified party would splinter into a number of parties again making the Deuba’s party a large party.


Deuba has successfully struck Oli too hard but Oli still standing up and probably Oil would hit Deuba back after two months when Oli would be the prime minister and Deuba would be a jobless guy fortunately not homeless, yet.


Obviously, Oli becomes prime minister no matter how many months after, Deuba will be without a lucrative elected State job. However, Deuba will not be a homeless at least, as Deuba has a small palace at Narayanthan in Kathmandu, and his spouse Dr Arju Rana Deuba had recently purchased a nice house at NPR 30 million in the far west. So, they have the choice of living in Kathmandu and going back to his birthplace.


One could easily guess from his recent activities, what Deuba would be doing once Deuba is out of the job, as he has been inciting Kamal Thapa go for a street movement for the monarchy and Hindu state for which voters have taught a good lesson to Thapa not voting for these two issues at all. Thus, Deuba is for making political instability to keep him engaged even after he will be out of office. Clearly, Deuba has not understood that the current Nepalese were not of 1990 not to mention of 1960 but of the 21st and are not ready to tolerate any repression from anybody. Any repressive heads rising up would be chopped off immediately. So, any reactionary government would not survive for even three months unlike the past panchayat regime survived for 30 years starting in 1960s and ending in 1990.


As encouraged by Deuba, Thapa has been in a mission to heat up the street by the movement of the monarchists and Hindu fundamentalists. On December 30, 2017, Kamal Thapa went to meet former king Gyanendra in Nepalgunj, and thereafter he told the reporters that he would launch a street movement for the monarchy and Hinduism, according to the news in a local media.


Probably, Thapa must have received the assurance of Gyanendra providing Thapa with some funding required for such a street movement, as Thapa must have burned out all his resources in the provincial and federal elections. However, Gyanendra is widely known for his stingy nature. He would provide Thapa with funding as minimum as possible if Gyanendra really provides.


Deuba has been as generous as possible to provide funding to the twice betrayer and one-time betrayer, too with millions of rupees from the State treasury apparently for medical treatment that is the only excuse politicians could have to claim some State money for filling up their pockets. However, Deuba had been very ungenerous to provide senior citizens with an allowance of a few thousands rupees driving them away from his party to vote some other parties in the provincial and federal elections.


For example, Deuba has provided Tulsi Giri with NPR 2.5 million, and Taranath Ranabhat with NPR 7.0 million for the medical treatment from the State treasury. Deuba’s deputy Kamal Thapa proposed to grant NPR 2.5 million to Giri for the medical treatment Deuba accepted it with a nod, and then he sanctioned to provide Ranabhat with NPR 7.0 million, according to the news posted on on December 28, 2017.


It is understandable that Thapa wanted to provide Giri with funding as he was one of the betrayers to kill democracy and put BP Koirala, and Ganesh Man Singh to jail for more than seven years, and kill thousands of NC cadres in the early 1960s, and put democracy to deathbed for 30 years. However, it is hard to believe that Deuba approved it because Giri not only betrayed in 1960 but also in 2005 after which Koirala had to serve a jail term for more than seven years and Deuba had to serve a year respectively. Thanks to the people’s movement without the participation of the Deuba party, Deuba got released from the jail.


After Gyanendra collapsed in April 2006, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala fired Taranath Ranabhat from the position of the Speaker without the parliament he had been hanging on for a number of years after the people’s movement forced Gyanendra to reinstate the parliament, which elected Subhas Nemwang a new Speaker, and dismantled the monarchial setup in 2006. Ranabhat betrayed the NC and the country for hanging on office. However, Deuba was happy to award Ranabhat with so much of State money for his medical treatment.


Deuba had successfully downed his party colleagues, and bullied Oli: another political bully, too, and got along with the reactionary element such as Kamal Thapa that has been in one republican government or another keeping almost silence on the monarchy and Hinduism all the time in the government but started off talking about monarchy and Hinduism immediately after he was out of office. None could be so opportunist than Kamal Thapa with whom Deuba had been friendlier than with any politicians. So, Deuba has been serving the interest of the minority rather than the majority making his colleagues lose the provincial and federal elections.


It is incredible that Deuba had been very happy to let the candidates of the same democratic coalition compete with each other for the same seat in the House of Representatives in the federal elections. For example, Krishna Prasad Sitaula of NC competed with Rajendra Lingden of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) at the same Jhapa constituency for House of Representative; and Bimlendra Nidhi of NC fought against Rajendra Mahato of Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN). NC, RJPN, and RPP were the democratic alliance partners Deuba was supposed to lead. Both Sitaula and Nidhi of the Deupa’s party lost the elections to their opponents Lingden of RPP, and Mahato of RJPN respectively. As the democratic alliance partners, all four candidates were supposed to win the elections thanks to Deuba only two could win the elections thus contributing to the opponents win the two more seats in the house of Representatives.


January 2, 2018

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