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Politics of Defeating Each Other in Nepal

Issue 30, July 27, 2008

By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

Victory of Dr. Ram Baran Yadav over his rival Ramraja Prasad Singh for the position of the first president of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is the direct defeat of Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist), Terai Madhesh Democratic party (TMDP) and Nepal Sadhabhavana Party-Mahato (NSP-Mahato), the indirect defeat of Nepali Congress (NC), as it could not succeed in getting elected its President and incumbent Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to the position of the president, the indirect defeat of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML), as it also could not get elected its former General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal to the position of the first President of Nepal, and certainly the direct defeat of the Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF), as it sold its soul to get its person elected to Vice-president to the antagonists of an autonomous one-Madhesh province. MPRF and other Madheshi Parties also wasted 12 working days of the Constituent Assembly (CA) taking it a hostage on June 26 and releasing it only on July 09, 2008 and demanding the inclusion of the provision for one-Madhesh province in the Fifth Amendment to the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007, which they could not succeed.

Election for president and vice-president has institutionalized the republican setup in Nepal. Any Nepali could make his/her target of getting to that position in the future. It has cleared off the doubts from the minds of some people that did not want to believe in Nepal becoming a republic. It is the victory of all Nepalese people that have dreamed of making Nepal a republic. It also has put an end to the tradition of the high positions in the political party and in the government becoming the monopoly of the Koirala family. It also probably has put an end to the voice of Mdheshi people for one-Madhesh province, as the MPRF has joined hands with the deadly opponents of one-Madhesh province. Nepalis need to take note of this political game, as anybody betraying its own members and people could betray all of he Nepalese people.

The CPN-Maoist leaders have said that the three-party coalition of the MPRF, NC and CPN-UML formed to defeat their candidates for the president and vice-president is an unholy one, they would not participate in an upcoming coalition government and declared the break-up of the Seven-party Alliance (SPA). Both of this saying of the CPN-Maoist leaders and the formation of the three-party coalition certainly go against the Nepalese people’s aspirations for all of the 25 political parties on the CA working together for building a new Nepal. It might be the good opportunity for the CPN-Maoist leaders to learn the lessons from the defeat of their candidates in the presidential and vice-presidential poll if they really want to lead the country to a political stability and then prosperity.

The leaders of the three-party coalition of the MPRF, NC and CPN-UML said that they had to form a new coalition to break up the dictatorial tendency of the CPN-Maoist leaders that did not want to listen to other leaders rather demean others and even attempt to destroy other political parties. Their strategy had been to create internal dissention in other political parties and take the advantage of it. Certainly, such a political development is not a healthy one. It goes against the Nepalese people’s aspirations for all of the political parties working together for making Nepal a new prosperous nation.

Leader of the MPRF Upendra Yadav first sowed the seeds of this politics of defeating each other saying it was necessary to replace the provision for forming a consensus government or by two-third majority with a simple majority. The NC and CPN-UML leaders picked up this idea and forced the CPN-Moist to agree to this idea. Then, the CA passed the Fifth Amendment to the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 on July 13, 2008 for replacing the two-third majority with a simple majority for electing a president, Vice-president, Prime Minister and Chairman of the CA. The passage of the Fifth Amendment was the first step toward taking Nepal again to the regression.

After the Fifth Amendment to the Interim Constitution, every rational political analyst in Nepal anticipated that Upendra Yadav would play a regressive and disgusting role in the political game. It came true on July 19, 2008, when Upendra Yadav stepped to regression the second time making coalition with the NC and CPN-UML and joining hands with the General Secretary of the CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal that was deadly against the one-Madhesh province, for getting elected another antagonist of the one-Madhesh province Dr. Ram Baran Yadav to the President and his own candidates for the Vice-president. Thus, he betrayed the trust placed in him by the people that have advocated for one-Madhesh; and he made himself a sacrificial lamp to win the presidential and vice-presidential positions.

Nepalese political analysts say that the CPN-Maoist won the political game despite the defeat of its candidate for the president in the poll held on Monday, July 21, 2008, and its candidates for vice-president on July 19, 2008, as they succeed to defeat the efforts of the NC leaders on getting their party president Girija Prasad Koirala elected to the president, and of the CPN-UML leaders’ efforts on getting former General Secretary of CPN-UML Madhav Kumar Nepal to the president. According to the political analysts, the CPN-Maoist leaders did it so to break up the arrogant feeling among the NC leaders that others would not be able to run the administration without Girija Prasad Koirala at the helm of administration, and not to put Madhav Kumar Nepal rejected by Nepalis in two constituencies in the poll held on April 10, 2008 for the election for a CA, and rejected by his CPN-UML party members accepting his resignation tendered after the defeat in the poll, in the position of the highest esteem.

In the press conference held at Kathmandu on July 22, 2008, CPN-Maoist Chairman Prachanda said that the success of electing Dr. Ram Baran Yadav to the first president of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal was the victory of the idea of his party and the efforts made by his party to this end although Dr. Yadav was not the candidate of his party. Certainly, none of the candidates put up by the NC and CPN-UML for president at the last moment of filing the nomination would get this chance if the CPN-Maoist leaders had agreed to the demand of either of those two parties for making one of their leaders a first president, and of the MPRF for its vice-presidential candidate according to the Maoist chairman. Had the CPN-UML put forward the name of Ram Prit Paswan for the candidate for president, the CPN-Maoist would have immediately accepted it but the CPN-UML stuck to its decision on making its former General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal a president until the last moment of filing the nominations said Chairman Prachanda.

In the press conference, chairman Prachanda also said that his party could have won the presidential election if his party had accepted the candidate for vice-president put up by the MPRF; however, his party did not do so, as it would hurt the people of the hill origin; and it would go against the principle of inclusive.

According to the Nepalese media reports, the CPN-Maoist came very close to the alliance with the CPN-UML in the poll for electing a president and vice-president but the CPN-UML did not budge from the position on making its former General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal a president; similarly the NC also did not budge from their position on making its president Girija Prasad Koirala the first president of Nepal. When the CPN-Maoist leaders flatly rejected the candidatures of both of Girija Prasad Koirala and Madhav Kumar Nepal for the first president of Nepal only then they realized that their candidates for president would not have a chance to win the election. Subsequently, the CPN-UML put up Ram Prit Paswan for president and Astha Laxmi Shakya for vice-president, the NC put up Dr. Ram Baran Yadav for president and Man Bahadur Biswokarma for Vice-president for showing that they are meeting the aspiration of the Madheshi people for holding a highest position in the government, and following the principle of inclusive. However, they had been joker candidates for president and vice-president until the MPRF joined hands with the NC and the CPN-UML for alliance.

Then the chance of joker candidates becoming serious candidates came to light when the MPRF chief Upendra Yadav put up Permanda Jha his own candidate for vice-president, and the CPN-Maoist refused to accept his proposal for the vice-president, as Mr. Yadav broke the loose alliance with the CPN-Maoist and joined hands with the NC and CPN-UML agreeing to elect Dr. Ram Baran Yadav to the president, Permananda Jha to the Vice-president, and the candidate of the CPN-UML for the Chairman of the CA. The three parties in question hastily made an agreement on the morning of July 19, 2008 just before the poll held at International Convention Hall, Kathmandu for electing a president and a vice-president.

Probably, Upendra Yadav could not put the message of voting for Dr. Ram Baran Yadav through the members of the MPRF while voting for the president and vice-president was going on at the International Convention Hall on July 19, 2008; consequently, Dr, Yadav could not garner 298 required for presidency out of 594 votes of the CA, as some of the MPRF members voted for the candidates of the CPN-Maoist following the previously agreed alliance. However, the candidate for vice-president got through the poll on July 19, 2008.

In the second-round of voting for presidency held on July 21, 2008, Dr. Ram Baran Yadav convincingly got elected. He secured 308 votes out of 594, his rival Ramraja Prasad Singh got 282. Four members belonging to the Nepal Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal abstained from voting. Thus, the joker candidate for president got elected. The TMDP and NSP-Mahato stuck to their alliance with the CPN-Maoist and voted for Ramraja Prasad Singh.

As anticipated after the Fifth Amendment to the Interim Constitution, the political parties polarized into the main and opposition parties. They could go back to the old political game of mid-1990s when none of the political parties had a majority in the then-parliament. All of them lost their political values and ideals and certainly political serenity as they sold souls and consequently turned over the power to the regressive force at the end of the last century.

At the beginning of the 21st century, all Nepalese political parties have been facing the challenges of preserving their values and ideals, as the old game of buying and selling parliamentarians is repeating. Probably, the old players have been up in arms to grab this opportunity of again playing the foul and disgusting political game, and ruining the country once again. However, any political party retaining its political values and ideals help in crafting a new constitution of Nepal following the Nepalese people’s aspirations will win the game in the long run.

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