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Dr. Baburam Bhattarai Stays On-Part XV

Issue 27, July 1, 2012

Siddhi B Ranjitkar

Games are played by the rules, and a referee is the final decision maker in any game. Nepalese politicians were great players in the past but without a referee. So, players could get away from any foul plays in absence of a referee. They played as they liked and blamed one another for any fouls. Even now, some players particularly the opposition wants to follow the past method of playing political games without a referee even though the Supreme Court of Nepal as a referee has sent the political players to the field of an election to a new Constituent Assembly (CA). The opposition leaders don’t want to go to the election to a new CA fearing they would be defeated. So, they are for toppling the government unleashing their cadres on the streets and creating a panic among the people to force the government out of office. If that were the game they wanted to play it would be never ending game, as another party would follow the same method to force the government out of office. If the opposition political leaders have even a little respect for the democratic norms and values they need to go to the election to a new CA. In this case, the Election commission is the referee. So, its decision on the election result is the final. Political transformation will complete after the promulgation of a new constitution. So, all political leaders need to work on this matter rather than on toppling the government and forming a new one. The worst thing for the opposition will be if they wisely or unwisely follow the politics of tearing down the current government means ironically keeping the current government and president perpetually in power.

The current government and the president would remain in power forever if the opposition political parties do whatever they can to stop the election to a CA and engage in toppling the government. The only way the opposition could follow is the street protests demanding the prime minister to quit the office. If the history is any guide then the opposition might not be successful to topple the democratically elected government only to form a puppet government by the street protests. Surely, the opposition would be successful to disrupt the election process and stop the Election Commission from holding the election to a new CA at the very high cost to the nation and certainly to the parties that would stop the election, too. The current mindset of the opposition leaders is to capture the power anyhow. Shamelessly, they have even said that they would launch streets protests to save democracy but in practice they are hurting democracy.

Naturally, to capture the state power is the only goal of every political party. The opposition leaders are also trying to achieve their goal of capturing the state power. However, the current method of street protests the opposition has followed is totally wrong, as they would not achieve the goal following that method. The opposition leaders have adopted this method based on the assumption that the current Bhattarai government is an autocratic government and the common folks on the streets would support them to topple it. That is only illusion. Common folks would not support the opposition call for shutdowns and so on, as they don’t see justification to topple the duly elected government and they have had already more than enough shutdowns to lose the regular businesses recently. The only path left to the opposition to capture the state power is to follow the ruling of the Supreme Court of Nepal on holding an election to a new CA, and go to the people and ask for their votes. That election would be decisive one and the CA thus elected would promulgate a new constitution. The elected CA would work as a parliament, too. This parliament will elect a new prime minister for the time until the next election to a new prime minister is held. Then, following the new constitution, people would elect a new president, a new parliament and a new prime minister. Be prepared for that event and make necessary preparation for the election. Unleash your cadres to the people for convincing the people that they should vote for you: the leaders of the opposition that have been so thirsty to have the state power. Now, you guys have been doing just the opposite believing that you could capture the state power forcing the current Bhattarai government out of office. Even if you are successful to capture the power, how long you will be able to keep the power before some other political parties snatch it from you again. This process would be a never-ending one and the sufferers would be the common folks sandwiched between the politicians of various colors polarized into the group (UCPN-Maoist and UDMF) following the democratic norms and values and the group (NC and CPN-UML) following the street protests.

You political guys had played political games without a referee in the past. So, you could do whatever you wanted without getting punished by a referee. You had developed such a mindset that you could play any sorts of fouls and go without punishments. You guys have signed so many deals that it has been hard to keep the track of all those deals but none of the signatories has wholly followed those deals, as you did not have a referee that would strictly enforce the deals. The result is the political mess. Stop signing any deal that does not work but play the political games by the rules. The rule is the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007, and the game is the election to a new CA. The referee is the Election commission that would say who won the game and who lost it. Then, you could be a president, prime minister, a member of parliament or remain as a leader of one party or another. However, don’t anticipate to be Madhav Kumar Nepal that lost the election at two constituencies but succeed to be the prime minister in 2009 for 20 months. That is not going to happen again.

The worst thing happening in Nepal is the same old guys have been running the political parties and are not willing to play the political game by the rules rather want to topple the current government and take the office by any possible means.

On June 23, 2012, speaking at a function held by the NGO Federation-Nepal in Kathmandu, senior leader of NC Sher Bahadur Deuba said that holding the new elections without a political consensus was impossible, according to the news posted on the digital ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 24, 2012.

For Mr. Deuba even when he was a prime minister holding the election to the then parliament had been impossible and then went to the then king pleading for postponing the election for a year in 2002. But the then king rather than following the recommendation of the prime minister declared Mr. Deuba the incompetent and fired him from the job and took the power in his hand only to lose it forever. Mr. Deuba is not a leader that believes in any election. Naturally, for him an election is impossible. So, he could unleash his cadres to the streets for capturing the state power.

"The new election is not necessary to promulgate the new constitution," ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 24, 2012 quotes Deuba as saying and added that all parties should reach a consensus to resolve the political crisis and the government should create an environment for consensus politics in order to end the ongoing constitutional, legal and political crisis.

Mr. Deuba sees the ongoing constitutional, legal and political situation as crisis because his party is not in the government. Mr. Deuba needs to say whether the call for an election to a new CA is the constitutional, legal and political crisis. If he understands the norms and values of democracy well, any election is to resolve the political mess and misunderstanding. In addition, Mr. Deuba says that the government needs to open the way to build a political consensus. He needs to tell whether building a political consensus among the current political leaders of different colors is possible even though they have not been able to do so during the last four years.

On Saturday, June 23, 2012, Chairman of CPN-UML and former Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal said that the Maoists and Madhesi alliance were committed to moving ahead with a totalitarian manner after dissolving the Constituent Assembly; the current coalition was sticking to the power with the intention of imposing a dictatorship in the country; the government would be compelled to come to an agreement through street demonstrations; his party was leading the democratic forces while the Maoists were leading the dictatorial forces, ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 24, 2012 reports.

The irony is that Mr. Khanal’s party is leading the democratic forces not abiding by the ruling of the Supreme Court of Nepal on the election to a new CA only to force the current government out of office. He needs to explain what would be the democratic process of electing a new prime minister if his cadres are successful to force the current prime minister out of office. In absence of a parliament, anybody could claim for the office of the prime minister. The president might appoint anybody even his daughter to the office of prime minister. Mr. Khanal should say whether this is the democratic process he wants, and whether his party wants to lead the democratic forces to such a political mess. Will Mr. Khanal take the issue of appointing a new prime minister to the streets again if the president appoints a new prime minister of not his liking?

Mr. Khanal should know that the current coalition government of the UCPN-Maoist and the UDMF would continue forever if his cadres did not allow the Election Commission to hold the election to a new CA scheduled for November 22, 2012. If they could force the current government out of the office they would no doubt bring another political mess if not chaos. In case, they could not force the current government out of the office then the president and the government would continue in their respective office forever.

Mr. Khanal dreams of bringing the current government to an agreement through street demonstrations means most probably on quitting the office and forming a new government. He has seen that the political leaders have not been able to force the current government out of office through the parliamentary process when the parliament was still alive but now the parliament gone only the street protests are the means left to topple the current government. Ironically, Mr. Khanal says that his party is leading the democratic forces to do such most undemocratic things.

Speaking to the reporters in Damak on Saturday, June 23, 2012, senior leader of CPN-UML Madhav Nepal said that a political consensus would not be forged until Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai stepped down; street protests were essential to end the current political crisis; the prime minister was trying to capture the state power by creating a constitutional vacuum; the current government had no right to bring the new budget; the new budget would be introduced only after forming a new consensus government; his party was in favor of consensus politics and added, "We are ready for holding discussions with any forces to resolve the ongoing crisis” ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 24, 2012 quotes Madhav Nepal as saying.

Mr. Madhav Nepal is a junk politician. Whatever he said was also a junk but he was one of the leaders of the CPN-UML; so, sometimes his voices were also counted on. In fact, he had been so smart he could run the office of prime minister for 20 months despite being rejected by the people in two constituencies in the election to the CA held on April 10, 2008. As other opposition political leaders, Madhav Nepal also sees only the street movement as a means to remove the current government from the office. He also talked of a political consensus that was never realized in the past and would not be so in the future, too, given the junk leaders’ goal is only to be in the office of prime minister no matter what happens to the country and the people. Now, to achieve the goal of capturing the state power from the Bhattarai government, Mr. Madhav Nepal also is for unleashing the cadres of his party to the streets to shut down the businesses of the common folks. If the people disobey the cadres’ call for shutdown of their businesses then the cadres would break the means of their businesses.

Talking to reporters in Birtamod on Saturday, June 23, 2012, NC general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula said that the UCPN-Maoist had hinted at paving the way for the formation of a national unity government; chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda had assured of the Maoists paving the way for a national consensus government; if the Maoists honestly quit the government, the new consensus government would be formed under the NC leadership; however, leading the new consensus government was not his party’s priority; the issue was that the Prime Minister should step down to end the political deadlock and start consensus politics; the NC was taking to the streets against the Maoists and the government to save democracy and prevent the country from falling prey to dictatorship, ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 24, 2012 quotes Mr. Sitaula as saying.

Mr. Krishna Prasad Sitaula is one of the NC leaders that talk reasonably but he also has been for the street movement for removing the current coalition government in the name of saving democracy. As other opposition political leaders, Mr. Sitaula also has deliberately or unknowingly thought that the democracy is at risk or in danger whenever the Maoists are in the government. Mr. Sitaula as other unreasonably biased leaders against the Maoists has seen only the street movement as the means to undermine the current government but actually the democracy. He has surely forgotten that the current coalition government of the UCPN-Maoist and the UDMF was democratically elected. His party and he had a chance to remove the government by the no-confidence vote in the parliament but they did not dare to do so when the parliament was still alive. Now, the parliament has gone, these guys have opted for the most undemocratic means: street protests (forcing the common folks to shut down their businesses) to remove the democratically elected government.

Chairman of newly formed CPN-Maoist, Mohan Vaidhya has met with President Ram Baran Yadav at the Shital Niwas presidential residence to inform the president about his party's position; and pleaded the president to form a national unity government and hold an all-party roundtable on the new constitution; and also explained to the president about the recent split of the UCPN-Maoist, according to the news posted on the on Sunday, June 24, 2012.

"We said that neither the election of the new CA nor the reinstatement of the dissolved CA could solve the present problems. For the solution, there should be a round table conference among all the political parties including the agitating new political forces," ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 25, 2012 quotes Chairman Mohan Vaidhya ‘Kiran’ as saying to the president while talking to the reporters after nearly three-hour long meeting with the president at the Shital Niwas. Blaming the key leaders of the major three parties and the Madhesi Morcha for the present deadlock, Chairman Kiran said that his team suggested the president that the president should take steps to solve the problems following the suggestions of all the political forces, according to the news in ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 25, 2012. His party leaders such as Ram Bahadur Thapa, CP Gajurel, Dev Gurung and Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplov’ accompanied Chairman Kiran.

As other opposition leaders have done, Mr. Vaidhya also paid the courtesy visit to the president. After the breakaway from the mother party UCPN-Maoist, Mr. Vaidhya is one of the opposition leaders willing to follow whatever means possible to remove Dr. Baburam Bhattarai from the office. At one time, Dr. Bhattarai and Mr. Vaidhya were brothers in arms. We can understand Mr. Vaidhya does not want to follow democratic norms and values, as he does not recognize the parliamentary democracy, and wants to seize the power through a revolution and impose the dictatorship of the proletariats. Mr. Vaidhya poses a real threat to democracy. However, he is enjoying the democratic norms and values to say that he wants to kill democracy.

On June 24, 2012, Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gacchedar said in Nepalgunj that the government declared fresh elections to a new CA to avoid constitutional vacuum in the country after it was sure that the CA would be dissolved; there was no any alternative to declaring the fresh election to a new CA to ensure the identity-based federalism, ‘The Himalayan Times’ of June 24, 2012 writes.

Speaking at a gathering of Muslim leaders in Nepalgunj, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bijaya Kumar Gacchedar on Sunday, June 24, 2012 urged the opposition parties particularly the NC and CPN-UML to follow the path of a political consensus, and explained that the government had announced the election to a CA to avert the constitutional crisis, according to ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 25, 2012. "I urge the leaders of the opposition and other parties to focus their attention on writing a new constitution and safeguard the achievements made in the process," ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 25, 2012 quotes Gacchedar as saying. He claimed that the NC and CPN-UML were trying to introduce a federal system without identity and he succeeded to foil their plan.

Speaking at an interaction held with the employees of the District Development Committee of the Parbat district on Sunday morning, June 24, 2012, Acting Chief Commissioner of Election Commission Neelkantha Upreti has said that the Election Commission could hold the election to the Constituent Assembly on November 22 if the political parties build a political consensus to end the current political stalemate and agree on election programs; in case, the Election Commission could not held it on November 22, 2012, then the Election Commission would held it before April 13, 2013. Acting Commissioner Upreti has said that his office has written the government to make the provision for holding an election to a new CA, as the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 has no such provision, ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 25, 2012 writes.

The Acting Chief Commissioner of the Election Commission has surely missed the fact that the Supreme Court of Nepal has ruled on this matter and the ruling becomes the part of the constitution; so, no need of making any more provision for the election to a new CA in the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 by the presidential ordinance.

Talking to reporters at the press conference held at the International Airport upon arrival from Brazil on Monday afternoon, June 25, 2012, Prime Minister Bhattarai said that there is no provision in the Interim Constitution to form a new government, his exit from the government before holding the election to a new CA would land the nation in a political and constitutional crisis; the political parties have no alternative to going to the CA election, however, the current government can be transformed into a consensus government; the government will keep trying to form a consensus government that will hold the CA election; an agreement of political parties is essential even to hold the CA election because the interim constitution needs to be amended for it, as the constitution lacks a provision to hold a fresh poll of the CA (however, the ruling of the Supreme Court of Nepal on holding an election to a new CA becomes the provision for holding the election in the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007); no possibility of reviving the defunct CA exists, as it ended following the ruling of the Supreme Court, according to ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 26, 2012.

 “Let it be clear that this government will remain in office until the next Parliament is in place,” Prime Minister Bhattarai told reporters at Tribhuvan International Airport upon his arrival from Rio de Janeiro, where he had attended the Rio+20 Summit held from June 20-22, ‘The Himalayan Times’ of June 25, 2012 writes. Concerning the possibility of reviving the dissolved Constituent Assembly, Prime Minister Bhattarai said that the Supreme Court’s November 25 verdict did not allow to do so, as the SC had said that failure to draft and promulgate a new constitution by May 27 would lead to the automatic dissolution of the CA. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai also warned of creating a situation like February 1, 2005 (when then king Gyanendra assumed absolute power by dismissing the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government) if he stepped down. “I will not let arise yet another constitutional crisis by tendering my resignation as demanded by opposition parties,” ‘The Himalayan Times’ of June 25, 2012 quotes the prime minister as saying.

On June 25, 2012, Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai returned home after attending the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development dubbed as the Rio+20 summit from June 20 to 22, 2012. Upon arrival at the International Airport in Kathmandu, speaking to the reporters at the VVIP lounge of the international airport, Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai clearly told the reporters that he would turn over the power to the elected prime minister; so, he was not going to quit the office as the opposition leaders wanted.

Stating he would not bow to the demand of the opposition leaders, Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai has surely challenged the opposition leaders to play politics by the rules. The opposition leaders were not for playing the politics by the rules but by their show of strength on the streets. One thing the opposition leaders have failed to take into account is other political parties could come forward for a showdown, too. Refusing to quit the office, Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai is actually saving the democratic norms and values that the opposition leaders have demeaned by launching street protests against the election to a new CA.

According to the email interview of political scientist Prof. Lok Raj Baral posted on on Tuesday, June 26, 2012, Prof. Baral said, “Multiparty democracy has no alternative as of today. Nepal has already experimented with monarchical authoritarian regime and cannot go back to the old model, as such regimes cannot cope with challenges being thrown open by various forces and trends. However, conventional multiparty democracy without social justice and inclusiveness is not likely to be successful. The present constitutional crisis will be overcome in the course of time. The major political parties are under tremendous constraints. Either they should accept the fresh election to the new Constituent Assembly in November or forge a consensus for a national unity government, which is expected to settle all outstanding issues concerning federalism, election system and form of government. However, parties are still not prepared to come to the table for finding a way out of the present stalemate.”

According to the news posted on on June 27, 2012, speaking at the Reporters Club, Minister for Education and spokesman for UCPN-Maoist Dinanath Sharma said that the president could not fire the prime minister as desired by the opposition leaders; if the president would do so then it would be a coup and invite a disaster; whatever the prime minister said at the VVIP lounge of the international airport in Kathmandu upon arrival from Brazil on Monday afternoon, June 25, 2012 was the bottom line of his party.

In fact, Mr. Sharma’s statement is the challenge to the opposition leaders: either the opposition leaders go to the election to a new CA scheduled for November 22, 2012 or the current government would be stay on; there would be no resignation of the prime minister, as they wanted.

President of NC Sushil Koirala has met with some Madheshi leaders in an attempt on luring them to his side for toppling the current coalition government led by Dr. Baburam Bhattarai. Mr. Koirala engaging in such undemocratic activities was proud of being the democrat. According to the news posted on ( on June 29, 2012, since Thursday, June 28, 2012, President of NC Sushil Koirala has begun seeking support from Madhesi coalition partners of the caretaker government to form a next government. On Thursday, June 28, 2012, NC president Sushil Koirala: the most likely candidate to replace Bhattarai held discussions with Mahanta Thakur: Chairman of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party: a member of the Maoist-Madhesi coalition. According to the Koirala's close aide Laxman Dhakal, Mr. Koirala has focused his discussions on ousting the Prime Minister and forming a NC-led national unity government building a consensus among all parties but Mr. Thakur asked Mr. Koirala for clearly stating the NC's stance on issues concerning the welfare of the Tarai region and its population. Mr. Koirala met with Minister for Health and Chairman of Sadbhawana Party Rajendra Mahato on Friday, June 29, 2012 and sought support for forming a next government. "There is no alternative to consensus among parties as the present government is caretaker and there is no provision in the interim constitution to replace it," the news quotes Mahato as saying after the meeting.

From now on, everybody needs to play the game by the rules. The game should be inclusive. So, no matter what trick the NC and CPN-UML leaders try to play on the Nepalis would not work. The spirit of the People’s Movement of 2006 is to make Nepal a federal democratic republic and the state mechanism inclusive. Possibility of one class of people ruling over any other group or groups of Nepalis is over. So, federalism is the bottom line of the system of governance. Whether the NC and CPN-UML guys like it or not, the reality is that. So, the NC and CPN-UML leaders would be well off preparing for the election to a new CA without saying the election to a new CA is unconstitutional and setting aside their ambition to take over the power from the current government. You cannot play any more political game to scathe democracy in the name of protecting it. Only the leaders without any political sanity would not go to the election to a new CA and would engage in a make-and-break government causing uncertain political consequences.

June 29, 2012

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