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Failed Leaders And Corrupt Nation - II

Issue 46, November 14, 2010

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

The next failed Prime Minister has been the Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda. The Constituent Assembly acting as a parliament has elected him with an overwhelming majority in August 2008 but he has failed to cash in the majority votes, and live up to the aspirations of the people for making great contributions to building a new Nepal.

Prachanda has not honored the aspirations of the legislators other than of his party for completing the peace process and the writing of a new constitution. To this end, he needs to bring the opposition NC to his fold and lead the coalition partners to integrate the PLA members with the Nepal Army but he has managed to push the opposition to the extreme edge and the coalition partners to the opposition focusing on several other petty matters rather than the matters of nationally importance.

For example, his ministers have appointed Nepalese priests to attend Lord Pashupati at Gaushala in Kathmandu provoking protests from the NC leaders. NC leaders such as Ram Chandra Poudel and Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat have led the protest march from the Naya Baneswore to Gaushala protesting against the appointment of the Nepalese priests and demanding the reinstatement of the South Indian priests. Forcing the Prachanda government to reinstate the south Indian priest at Pashupati, these so-called NC leaders don’t care how much they have hurt the nationalistic feelings of the true Nepalis.

Prachanda’s Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has stopped the annual state grant to the revelers of Indra Jatra again provoking the protest of the local people and certainly of the NC cadres, too for a week. Indra Jatra is one of the most important festivals in Kathmandu. So, no matter what the Prachanda government has the reason for stopping the grant, the people are not willing to give in to the Maoist government for that matter. By this time, the government has been Maoist. So, we can call the Prachanda government as a Maoist even though it is a coalition government of several political parties including one of the largest parties such as CPN-UML.

Prachanda and his colleagues have been giving impression that they have been trying everything possible to capture the state power. The NC leaders and cadres have been there to oppose anything the Maoist government does, and exaggerate whatever it does and continue to publicize that the Maoists have been working for capturing the state power even though the Maoists cannot do anything to this end following the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007. NC leaders have been successful to create some sorts of fear on the minds of the democratic-minded people.

The Prachanda government has faced several weeks of NC legislators taking the parliament hostage demanding the return of the land seized by the Maoists during the period of the conflicts, as most of the losers of the property have been the leaders of the NC. Prime Minister Prachanda has to go to the parliament and promise the return of the seized property. The joint-commission of the NC and the Maoists on returning the seized property has started returning the property but the committee members including Dr. Baburam Bhattarai have faced strong opposition from the farmers in the far western Nepal. Then, the Prachanda government has come up with the proposal for giving compensation to the owners of the property seized by the farmers. However, NC leaders have opposed the use of the taxpayers’ money for paying the compensation for the property seized by the Maoists.

CPN-UML legislators have taken the parliament hostage demanding the punishment to the killers of their cadres for about eight weeks. Even though the police have to take up the criminal cases, the political parties particularly the NC and CPN-UML have opted to politicize the murder cases believing they can discredit the Maoists rather than punishing the criminals. So, they have settled the murders cases paying one million rupees to the families of the victims in some cases declaring such victims the martyrs. NC cadres have even forced the then Maoist government to declare the NC cadre killed in the road accident a martyr. So, you find so many thousands of martyrs killed by each other cadres of CPN-Maoist (CPN-Maoist became UCPN-Maoist after the merger of Narayankaji Shrestha’s party with it), NC and CPN-UML. Later, cadres of the Madheshi political parties have joined the cadres of CPN-Maoist, NC and CPN-UML to kill each other.

In view of the NC and CPN-UML legislators taking the parliament hostage for the ransoms of returning seized property or declaring the murdered cadres martyrs and stopping the enforcement of any decision taken by the Maoist government, the Maoist leaders have already felt that they will not be able to achieve anything concrete that people can appreciate. They want to see the exit of the Prachanda government. In addition, the Maoist cadres have been dissatisfied with the performances of the government, as it could not perform as they think it can.

Vice-Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Mohan Vaidya ‘Kiran’ and CP Gajurel have been for quitting the government and engage in completing the people’s movement. They believe that the people’s movement will not complete as long as the regressive forces in the political parties such as NC and CPN-UML continue to live on, and they pose a threat to the new republic and there remains the possibility of the regressive forces not introducing any changes in the political, economical and social systems rather taking Nepal back to the previous stage. They have seen that working together with the leaders of the political parties that don’t want changes in the governance, leaders of the UCPN-Maoist have not been able to do much, even doing small things against the establishment has been met with the strong opposition from the leaders of the NC. In this situation, they believe that it is fruitless to staying on in the government just to be harassed by the opposition leaders and achieving nothing.

So, Mohan Vaidya ‘Kiran’ and CP Gajurel have been for completing the people’s movement. Mr. Vaidya has quit the office of the parliamentarian and has dedicated his whole time to managing the party affairs. He has publicly said that he is not for returning the property seized by the Maoists during the conflict with the state in other words he is not for compromising with the leaders of NC on this matter no matter what happens to the peace process and the writing of a new constitution. In fact, he does not believe in writing a new constitution sitting together with the leaders representing the regressive forces.

So, Mr. Vaidya is not for integrating the members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into the Nepal Army and not to have any say in commanding the army.  He believes that as long as the UCPN-Maoist commands the PLA, the regressive forces will not be able to dare to do anything that will take Nepal back to the no-change status.

The UCPN-Maoist leaders have been for drastically changing the governance, economical and social systems. They want to tear down the existing administration and replace it with a new one, change the judiciary so that people will receive justice without delay. The current system of judiciary has been the long process and once you are in the system it becomes very hard to come out of it and it will take 20 years and in some cases even 50 years before you get the final verdict. The Nepalese society has been plagued with caste, ethnic and gender discrimination. They want to do away with all sorts of discrimination that has disabled the Nepalese society to develop. Having the privileges and benefits out of the existing system, the leaders particularly of the NC have been doing everything possible to off set the power of the UCPN-Maoist leaders that have been for drastic changes in everything that affects the lives of the common folks.

Currently, the bitter battle is going on between the leaders of the UCPN-Maoist opting for drastic changes and the leaders of the NC sticking to status quo. The battlefield has been the Prime Ministerial election. Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda has pulled out of the Prime Ministerial race thinking that it will help to move forward rather than sticking to the never-ending election to a new Prime Minister. However, the single NC candidate for Prime Minister has continued to remain in the marathon race for the office of Prime Minister not with the hope of winning the race but for not allowing anybody doing anything that will bring changes that will be beneficial to the common folks at the cost of those leaders of the NC. All the members of the parliament except for some of the NC legislators are for building a consensus on forming a new government but the NC leaders have been continuing the political deadlock holding the election to a Prime Minister hostage for the ransom of going back to the status quo reversing even the changes brought by the People’s Movement in 2006. Are those NC leaders not failed ones?

Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has terrorized the Nepalis holding so-called black assets or money stating the government will confiscate the assets illegally earned if they don’t declare their assets and pay 10% tax on them and made the assets legal. Many people have voluntarily declared their assets and paid 10% taxes on them. Some people have sold their assets rather than declaring them to the government and paying 10% tax.

Similarly, the Finance Minister has terrorized the tax officers, and custom officers stating anyone taking bribe and making irregularities in dealing with the taxpayers will be fired immediately. So, the officials that have been used to taking rents for adjusting the tax amounts have suddenly started working without taking advantage of their positions either at the tax offices or at the Custom offices.

However, Prime Minister Prachanda could not live up to the aspirations of the Nepalese people for building a consensus on the army integration, peace process and the writing of a new constitution. He has pushed not only the opposition NC leaders but also leaders of his coalition partner CPN-UML and Madheshi political parties father away from his party. Nepalis have anticipated that Prachanda will emerge as the builder of a new Nepal.

Finally, on the fateful day of May 03, 2009, Prime Minister Prachanda and his colleagues without the support of the coalition partners have taken a decision on firing the Chief of Army Staff Rukmangud Katuwal and appointing the second-in-command, have sent a letter to the Chief of Staff simply giving information to President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav.

This simple action has sent the shock waves to the opposition leaders and coalition partners, and has convinced them of the Maoists capturing the state power with the help of army. Leaders of the 22 political parties that have representation in the parliament hurriedly have met and taken the decision on appealing the President for revoking the decision made by the Prime Minister on firing the Chief of Army Staff.

Chairman of CPN-UML Jahalanath Khanal has unwisely led the delegation of the representatives of the 22 political parties to the official residence of the President during the late hours of the day and submitted their appeal for annulling the decision on firing the Chief of Army Staff to President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav and save the country from the Maoists taking it over.

By the late night of November 03, 2010, President Yadav in turn has taken the most unwise and unconstitutional decision on directly writing a letter to the Chief of Staff of Army stating to stay on the job and has sown the seed of the political deadlock in Nepal. The Chief of Army Staff has been waiting at his office at the Army Headquarters in Kathmandu to receive the letter. No matter what other political pundits and gurus have said about the action of the President but it is the most unconstitutional action Mr. President has taken abusing the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007. The President has saved the job of the Chief of Army Staff but has put the newly acquired democracy at risk.

On May 04, 2009, Prime Minister Prachanda has addressed the nation live on the Nepal television and finally has declared he has resigned from the office of Prime Minister protesting against the unconstitutional action of the ceremonial president and submitted his resignation to the President on that day. This has opened the way for the corrupt politicians to act and make the man rejected by the people at the two constituencies the second Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

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