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Heading Toward Showdown

Issue 18, May 2, 2010

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

By design or default, the UCPN-Maoist leaders have been speaking in favor of the rule of law whereas the so-called parliamentary leaders of the NC and CPN-UML have been bullying the rule of law. They are heading to a final showdown after the Maoist leaders have announced the indefinite shutdown of Nepal ‘for peace and constitution’. The Maoist leaders have collecting mandatory donations from the public whereas the NC and CPN-UML leaders have been amassing huge wealth through the corrupt practices. All those three political parties have their respective youth organizations and have put them on the payroll. They have been tending to a head-on collision. The people’s mandate is for them to work on the consensus politics and running the administration following the rule of law for a lasting peace in the country.

The UCPN-Maoist has planned to celebrate a May Day in a grand manner bringing hundreds of thousands if not millions of people for parading in Kathmandu in celebration of May Day obviously in preparation for the shutdown of the country for an indefinite period. According to the media reports, hundreds of thousands of cadres are already in the Kathmandu Valley taking shelters in private schools and public buildings.

Talking to the anchor of the morning program called ‘antar sambad’ of the state-run Radio Nepal on April 29, 2010, one of the UCPN-Maoist leaders, Krishna Bahadur Mahara has said that his party has followed all the democratic principles and the rule of law for correcting the President’s unconstitutional move on directly writing a letter to the then army overriding the decision of the elected Prime minister on firing the army chief for indiscipline and making political comments for the last one year but the so-called parliamentary leaders claiming to be the saviors of democracy have been blocking all sorts of democratic means to correct the president’s undemocratic act; so the UCPN-Maoist has no alternative left except for going to the people for ‘peace and constitution’.

The Madhav government has also prepared for a showdown. Prime Minister Madhav Nepal has a meeting with the Nepal Police, Nepal Armed Police Force, Nepal Army and Department of Intelligence people. Home Minister Bhim Rawal has already issued orders to stop anybody attempting to enter the prohibited areas at any cost in other words to use live ammunition to assault the unarmed people. Defense Minister Bidhya Bhandari has already declared that she might use the Nepal Army in case the peaceful rallies turn to violence. She does not care about the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with Maoists. She is one of the typical characters of the Madhav government that consistently bulling the rule of law.

The UCPN-Maoist leaders say that they have been standing on the support of the people for ‘peace and constitution’. While talking to the reporters and reading out the decision of his party on going to the indefinite shutdown for ‘peace and constitution’, Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda has said that the people have given his party a green signal to this movement for  ‘peace and constitution’.

To counter the power of Chairman of the UCPN-Maoist Prachanda, Prime Minister Madhav Nepal has been standing on the shoulders of Acting President of NC Sushil Koirala and NC Parliamentary Party leader Ramchandra Poudel, and has been balancing on the shoulder of the Chairman of CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal, as Chairman Khanal is not fully dependable. He might say to Prime Minister Madhav Nepal to resign at any time. Chairman Khanal is a flip-flop and he might move to any direction given the benefit he might gain from such a move.

Home Minister Bhim Rawal and Defense Minister Bidhya Bhandari have been two shields for Prime Minister Madhav Nepal to protect from the shots coming from either the Maoists or from the members of the his own party. They have been strong shields, as they don’t need to follow any rules for killing the unarmed and innocent people. They have not been concerned with the fundamental human rights of people to live.

The Maoists have put many cadres on their payroll; they have the farmers living on the land seized from the large landowners belonging to the NC and CPN-UML parties; they have the workers belonging to various trade unions. In other words they have the grassroots level support. So, the UCPN-Maoist leaders have been talking about the rule of law and the principles of democracy rather than use of firepower for capturing the state power.

The Maoists’ cadres on payrolls will certainly work for the UCPN-Maoist, as they have been paid for that matter. Farmers seizing the land from the large landowners and cultivating it for their living will certainly work for the UCPN-Maoist, as they will have the land as long as the UCPN-Maoist leaders are strong enough to disregard the demand of the NC and CPN-UML leaders for returning the seized land to their respective leaders. The workers at factories, at tourism industries and other business organizations will support the UCPN-Maoist, as its leaders have been favoring them at the cost of their employees.

NC and CPN-UML also have the cadres on payroll, too. The cadres of NC and CPN-UML certainly work for their respective party bosses but they don’t have as many as the UCPN-Maoist has, and they are not as disciplined as the Maoists’ cadres are.

Most of the large landowners working for the NC, CPN-UML and RPP have lost the land to the Maoists’ farmers. So, the return of the seized land has been the burning issue for the NC, CPN-UML and RPP leaders. So, one of their main preconditions for doing businesses with the Maoists is the return of seized land.

The UCPN-Maoist leaders could promise to return the seized land but they practically cannot return the land without provoking their farmers to rebel against them. So, they would not return the seized land risking the rebellion of their farers. While in power the UCPN-Maoist leaders have planned to pay compensation through a land reform program to the landowners for the land they have lost to the Maoists’ farmers but the NC and CPN-UML leaders have opposed it.

Businessmen and industrialists have been thriving on the discretionary administration of the NC and the CPN-UML leaders. On the one hand they could evade various taxes and on the other hand they could pay less to their laborers than the amount prescribed by the rule. So, the trade unions formed under the umbrella of the UCPN-Maoist have demanded the pay following the rule of law, most of the businessmen and industrialists under the patron of the NC and CPN-UML leaders have used the Nepalese private media to discredit the Maoists using some cases of the union members manhandling the employees.

The NC and CPN-UML administration has used the media to publicize the criminal acts of some cadres of the UCPN-Maoist for discrediting the UCPN-Maoist rather than enforcing the rule of law for punishing the criminals. In addition, the NC and the CPN-UML leaders encouraged the cadres of the respective youth organization such as ‘tarun dal’ of NC and the ‘youth force’ of CPN-UML to follow the criminal path of some of the UCPN-Maoist cadres have taken. So, the NC and CPN-UML cadres have been directly confronting with the UCPN-Maoist cadres and killing each other with impunity.

The UCPN-Maoist cadres have collected huge sums of money from the compulsory donations. Their targets for collecting donations have been the large business companies, hotels, industries and even the large private schools making a lot of money. Practically, all the large business houses have been supporting the cadres of the UCPN-Maoist.

NC and CPN-UML leaders have accumulated huge wealth through corrupt practices starting from Girija Prasad Koirala and continuing to the current Madhav Nepal. Immediately after Girija Prasad Koirala became the elected Prime Minister in 1991 after the general elections, Mr. Koirala sold two brand new Boeings and took two old Boeings in a lease again for commission thus he had made a lot of money to support his supporters. Mr. Koirala had bullied any rules that had stood in his way of making money. His daughter Sujata Koirala became the middle person collecting the commissions.

Former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had let his coworkers to amass wealth as much as possible bullying the rule of law. So, even now, most of politicians indicted for corruption are sitting on the central committee of the NC.

The CPN-UML administration did not lag behind in corrupt practices in 1994 when the CPN-UML ran a minority government but the current Madhav administration has openly amassed huge sums of money through the corrupt practice. For example, the Madhav administration has increased the price of sugar at the time of purchasing the sugar from the mill owners and then decreasing the price of sugar after completing the purchase of sugar from the mill owners and collecting the sums of money coming out of the price difference causing tremendous loss to the state-owned company and the sugar consumers. This is only one example of several cases of increasing the prices of foodstuff the Madhav administration has practiced bullying the rule of law.

The Girija administration had set the tradition of collecting money from the people seeking the political appointments, the Sher administration had followed it and the current Madhav administration has intensified. The appointment of Dr. Yuva Raj Khatiwada to the position of the governor of the Central Bank of Nepal called Nepal Rastra Bank is a case in point. Prime Minister Madhav Nepal stood firmly for appointing Mr. Khatiwada to the governor despite the tremendous pressure put up by his deputy Sujata Koirala for not doing so. Mr. Nepal had bullied the rule of law for appointing Mr. Khatiwada to the governor of Nepal Rastra Bank.

Nepalis need to fight for the rule of law. So, first, they need to demand the punitive action against the President for abusing the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007, against the Speaker of the legislature for not allowing the debate over the President’s action on abusing the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007, and against all the political leaders and their parties for supporting Prime Minister Madhav Nepal that has been bullying the rule of law.

April 30, 2010

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