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Prachanda-led Government-1

Issue August 2016

Prachanda Became A New Prime Minister

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


The Nepalese parliament appointed Prachanda a new prime minister firing his predecessor KP Oli. Prachanda received immediate congratulations from the two large neighbors. He has committed to continue the development work and honor the agreements the Oli government had reached with the neighbors. He also has said that he would sincerely enforce the Constitution, resolved the Madheshi problems, rehabilitate the quake-destroyed structures, and provided the quake victims with relief, and complete the peace process means the reconciliation process giving relief to sufferers and pardoning the perpetrators of human rights violence.


On August 3, 2016, the Nepalese parliament overwhelmingly voted Prachanda for a new prime minister. He received 363 votes out of 573 votes cast. NC, CPN-Maoist-Center, Federal Coalition of Madheshi and ethnic people, RPP and other small parities totaling 16-parties lawmakers voted Prachanda. CPN-UML, RPP-Nepal, NWPP, CPN-ML and other fringe-parties lawmakers altogether 210 voted against Prachanda.


Eight lawmakers belonging to the CPN-UML failed to show up for voting in the parliament. It is a clear indication some parliamentarians belonging to the party of KP Oli were not happy with Oli and did not show up to vote against Prachanda and they also did not like to be rebels voting Prachanda for a new prime minister. Thus, Oli had failed in keeping even his party parliamentarians happy.


Immediately after the Speaker of the Nepalese parliament declared Prachanda got elected to a new prime minister by the majority votes, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi picked up his cell phone and made a call to Prachanda, and Modi congratulated Prachanda on getting elected to a new prime minister. Indian Prime Minister Modi also invited the newly elected Nepalese Prime Minister Prachanda to visit India. It indicates that Modi has been impatiently waiting for this moment.


His government and Indian Prime Mister Modi had asked the British government for an apology to the Indian people for the unjust British rule in India, and even pay a token of a single British pound as the compensation for the injustice done to the Indian people. Will Indian Prime Minister Modi follow the same principles and values for apologizing to the Nepalese people for the trouble and sufferings he had caused to them blocking the supply trucks to Nepal at the border entry points, and pay even a single Indian rupee to Nepal as the compensation for the injustice done to the Nepalese people?


Indian Prime Minister Modi had been a villain for the Nepalese in general and for KP Oli in particular. Modi blocked all supply truck coming from India to Nepal at the border entry points for more than five months. Oli did nothing to ease the unofficial blockade rather waited for Modi to get tired and lift the blockade but Oli harvested the credit for being the nationalist at the cost of the sufferings of the Nepalese people.


Oli did not stop to condemn Indian Prime Minister Modi even just before getting out of the official prime ministerial resident. He had charged that the Indian establishment (practically Modi) had been playing with the witch puppet (Chhauda in the Nepalese language) in Delhi to trouble him in Nepal. Oli had lost even a little of diplomatic etiquette he needed to follow during the last days of his term of office of prime minister.


Oli’s supporters had portrayed him as a great nationalist leader. Probably, most of the Oli’s supporters must have taken the anti-Indian stand Oli took throughout his term of office as the nationalist. However, one thing we need to understand is that Oli has offset the balance of our neighborly foreign policy that might be one of the reasons why Oli needed to quit the office prematurely. Another thing is if the definition of nationalist is “a person who advocates political independence for a country”, according to the online dictionary, then Oli rather put the nation at the risk. He did not show any diplomatic skills to save the nation from the unofficial blockade Indian Prime Minister Modi had imposed on Nepal.


The Oli government had taken some unproductive decisions. For example, the Oli government had got the Education Bill passed from the parliament. It has become the law after the President put her assent on it. It prohibited the private companies to run schools. It has the provision for non-profit trusts to run schools. So, the private schools will be either closed or will be running half-heartily. The Oli government has met the demands of Dr Govinda KC offering to buy the Man Mohan Private Hospital. Another the most unproductive decision the Oli government made is restricting the Nepalese working in foreign countries bringing gold more than 50 grams, cash more than five thousands dollars, and other things. The Oli government took the country back rather than forward.


Chairman of RPP-N Kamla Thapa did not leave the company of Oli even on the final days of the Oli administration and ultimately RPP lawmakers voted along with Oli against Prachanda in the parliament on August 3, 2016. Thapa as the foreign minister of Prime Minister Oli might have misled Oli concerning the relations with the Modi government, and might have been instrumental to the deteriorating relations with Modi.


Kamal Thapa also has said that the three-point agreement the Federal Coalition has reached with the coalition of the NC and CPN-Maoist-Center is the victory for the Oli government. He has not elaborated how come such an agreement has become the victory for the Oli government. The leaders of the Federal Coalition (means the coalition of Madheshi and ethnic leaders) have reached the three-point agreement on resolving the Madheshi and ethnic problems through the amendment to the Constitution.


Former Deputy of Prime Minister Oli and CPN-UML leader Bhim Rawal has said that he would not accept the amendment to the Constitution the Federal Coalition and the coalition of the NC and the CPN-Maoist-Center have reached to amend. How much voice Mr. Rawal has in his party remains to be seen. His voice is not surely the voice of his party.


After Indian Prime Minister Modi, the second person to congratulate Prachanda on getting elected to a new Prime Minister was the Chinese ambassador to Nepal. The diplomat visited the private resident of Prachanda at Lazimpat in Kathmandu and congratulated Prachanda on behalf of the Chinese prime minister and the Chinese government. The diplomat stopped short of inviting Prachanda to visit China.


The non-resident Nepalese Chief Shesh Ghale congratulated Prachanda on getting elected to a new prime minister. Dr. Baburam Bhattarai: one-time comrade-in-arm but split away from Prachanda for setting up his new party called Naya Shakti congratulated Prachanda on getting elected to a new prime minister, and wished him for the successful term of office. On the evening of August 3, 2016, KP Oli opened up his mouth to congratulate Prachanda. Chairman of RPP-Nepal had congratulated Prachanda immediately after voting against Prachanda in the parliament possibly making Thapa a first man to congratulate Prachanda.


In a statement released in Kathmandu on August 4, 2016, the US Embassy in Kathmandu has congratulated Prachanda on being the prime minister of Nepal, and also has said that the peaceful transfer of power has proved that Nepal has been committed to democracy, according to the news in “gorkhapatra” of August 5, 2016.


In the similar statement of the embassy of Japan in Kathmandu, Japan also congratulated the new Prime Minister Prachanda, and also has said that the government of Japan is always committed to the democratic process for the peace and development in Nepal; and Japan also has committed to work together with Nepal for the construction and socio-economic development in Nepal, according to the news in “gorkhapatra” of August 5, 2016.


After taking the oath of office, Prachanda has a good talk with KP Oli on camera. This is the beauty of the smooth transfer of power in the democratic system of governance. It indicates that democratic norms, values and principles have been taking roots in Nepal. They need to work together to enforce the new Constitution and institutionalize the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal setting aside any political differences they might have.


After taking the oath of office from the President on August 4, 2016, Prime Minister Prachanda went to martyr pillar at Lazimpant in Kathmandu, and offered a garland of flowers to the martyrs. He went to Kiritipur to offer a garland to the statue of founder of Communist Party of Nepal: Pushpa Lal Shrestha, and then to his party’s office at Perisdanda in Kathmandu to offer a garland of flowers to the martyr pillar dedicated to the people killed and disappeared during the conflict with the State.


Prime Minister Prachanda needed to go to the places where the statues of Ganesh Man Singh and Tanka Prasad Acharya are standing and offer a garland as an appreciation for their contribution to making Prachanda possible to be the prime minister today. Had they not fought against the Shah-Rana rule risking their lives, probably, Prachanda would have been a common farmer tilling land in Chitwan. Prachanda also needed to appreciate Ram Hari Sharma: a founder member of the Praja Parishad in 1940s to fight against the autocratic Shah-Rana rule, and many others.


Speaking to the anchor of the morning program called “antar-sambad” of the Radio Nepal on August 4, 2016, NC leader Ramesh Lekhak said that KP Oli had not been serious about enforcing the Constitution. Oli wanted to hold elections for the local bodies following the old system not the system the new Constitution has provided. Lekhak also said that Oli had simply put the enforcement of the Constitution in crisis not seriously taking up the Madheshi issues. So, the coalition of NC and the CPN-Maoist-Center has to take up the enforcement of the Constitution as the national agenda resolving the Madheshi and ethnic issues.


Speaking at the parliament before the election to a new prime minister on August 3, 2016, Prachanda appreciated the political move of the CPN-UML not putting forth its candidate for a new prime minister creating an environment conducive to the positive political development. He also said that a national consensus government was necessary but it had not been possible due to some differences. He said that the political parties have to work together for completing the peace process, and enforcing the Constitution, according to the news in “gorkhapatra” of August 4, 2016. He also has said that there is not an alternative to talks and dialogues for resolving the Madheshi, Tharu, and indigenous ethnic issues.


Responding to the concerns of KP Oli for the projects he has launched, Prachanda has said that the railways linking with the northern neighbor, the fast track highway, and the postal roads are not the new inventions. These projects have been there for ages. Prachanda said that he was the one that had talked with the Chinese to connect Nepal with China by the railways. Prachanda also has said that whatever the Oli government has done has been done with the participation of the ministers of Prachanda’s party. Prachanda also said that he would do whatever Oli thought was necessary to do but Oli had to show the source of resources required for those projects, according to the news in “gorkhapatra” of August 4, 2016.


After taking the oath of office from the President, Prime Minister Prachanda has immediately taken a decision on making available one hundred thousand rupees to each recent flood victims, on “the government for the poor” special program, on releasing the first installment of the grant to the quake victims within 45 days, on sending physicians to the primary health centers within three months, and on providing the dalit and residents of the Karnali that register birth of child on time with one thousand rupees, according to the news in “gorkhapatra” of August 5, 2016.


Concerning the rehabilitation of the quake-damaged world heritage sites, the Oli government had done as little as possible. Anybody could see the fallen heritage at Basantapur in Kathmandu, and similar things in Lalitpur and Bhaktapur Durbar squares. UNESCO has recently warned the government of Nepal that the world heritage sites have been at the risk of getting removed from the world heritage list if the government of Nepal were not to rehabilitate those structures damaged by the quakes in 2015.


Prachanda was the first prime minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal in 2008. The parliament had elected Prachanda to the office of prime minister with the overwhelming votes in 2008. At that time his party was the largest party in the parliament. However, he quit the office after nine months in office in 2009 protesting against the President stopping him from firing the then Chief of Army Staff Rukmangud Katuwal.


Prachanda quitting the office opened up the door to the man called Madhav Nepal that had lost the elections in two constituencies to be the next prime minister with the support of NC. Madhav Nepal went on to be in office for 27 months including about eight months as an acting prime minister until a new prime minister was elected.


Madhav Nepal remained in office until a new prime minister was elected. Ram Chandra Poudel broke every possible record of running for the office of prime minister 17 times but not getting elected. This unfortunate process had taken terribly long time to elect a new prime minister after Madhav Nepal quit.


Not Ram Chandra Poudel but Jhalanath Khanal came out as a winner of the election to a new prime minister. Not visiting China and India as a prime minister, Khanal simply broke up the tradition of any new prime minister visiting the two largest neighboring countries. Practically, Khanal became the puppet of Prachanda.


After six months in office, Khanal gave way to Dr Baburam Bhattarai to be the next prime minister. Dr Bhattarai neither could get a new Constitution promulgated nor resolve any burning political issues. However, he dissolved the Constituent Assembly leaving the crafting of a new Constitution in limbo. Dr Bhattarai was not a consensus prime minister to hold elections to a new Constituent Assembly. Dr Bhattarai had to give way to the Chief Justice of Nepal to be the chairman of next council of ministers entirely made up of professionals for holding elections to a new Constituent Assembly.


Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal Khil Raj Regmi became the consensus Chairman of Council of Ministers made to hold elections to a new Constituent Assembly. Chairman Regmi successful held the elections to a new Constituent Assembly.


NC came out as the first largest party, CPN-UML the second and UCPN-Maoist the third in the new Constituent Assembly after the elections to a new Constituent Assembly. In making these election results possible, the breakaway party of UCPN-Maoist headed by Mohan Vaidhya played a crucial role. He took a great pride in doing so until the new government headed by Sushil Koirala threatened to take actions against the Maoists for the human rights violence during the conflict period.


Prachanda, Sushil Koirala, and KP Oli agreed on adopting a new Constitution. The Constituent Assembly promulgated a new Constitution on September 20, 2015. NC and CPN-UML had an agreement in writing on transferring power to CPN-UML after the adoption of a new Constitution.


Prime Minister Sushil Koirala shamelessly refused to honor the agreement his party NC had reached with the coalition partner CPN-UML on transferring the power to CPN-UML chief rather he opted to face the challenges of CPN-UML in the parliament the Constituent Assembly had turned into after the promulgation of a new Constitution.


Knowingly or unknowingly Sushil Koirala as the prime minister of Nepal had left a dark spot in the history of his term of office as the prime minister openly accepting the support of Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi for him to unsuccessfully try to get elected to a next prime minister again. Not surprisingly, Madheshi leaders working with the active support of Modi on blocking the border points demanding to meet their political demands flocked en mass to Kathmandu to vote Sushil Koirala for a new prime minister. Thus, both Sushil Koirala and Madheshi leaders turned out to be the puppets of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


The erroneous and shameful political activities openly supported by Modi gave a unique opportunity to the shrewd political player like Prachanda. He came out as the winner of the political deadlock Sushil Koirala and Madheshi leaders created.


Taking the unique opportunity brought not only by the wrong foreign policy Modi had on Nepal but also by the shameful political activities of Sushil Koirala along with Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ram Chandra Poudel, and the Madheshi leaders, Prachanda put Oli in the office of prime minister, one Maoist in the office of the Speaker, another in the office of Vice-president leaving the office of the President to the CPN-UML leader.


NC lost everything due to the wrong political activities Sushil Koirala, Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ram Chandra Poudel had followed. Prachanda and his party gained everything possible even staying in the third position in the parliament.


Now, NC leaders are back again in the political arena relegating the CPN-UML to the opposition. As the local media have it, NC and CPN-Maoist-Center reached a seven-point agreement that the job of prime minister rotates in other words Prachanda would hold the office for nine months and then he would turned it over to Deuba who would preside over the council of ministers for another nine months.


Prachanda regretted that he wasted the nine months in office in his first term of office of prime minister because ha had no experiences in the parliamentary system of governances. He would probably perform better than used to be as a prime minister after ten years of experiences in the parliamentary political game he had played. He had ten years of experiences in the people’s war, which he though had been successful. Now, he would be a successful player in the parliamentary politics, too, according to the local media reports.


August 5, 2016 

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