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Sushil-led Government-47: Nepal: Bullying The Opposition Unconstitutionally

February Issue 2015

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


On January 25, 2015, the chairman of the CA bullied the opposition setting up a ‘proposal-making committee’ unconstitutionally against the opposition protest. The CA chairman said that it had opened up the door to craft a new constitution. However, the chairman did not bother whether the process he followed for setting up the committee was legitimate or not or it was simply a bully. The opposition front decided to launch protests in three phases against the CA attempting to craft a new constitution without the involvement of the opposition. The president advised the majority rulers to craft a new constitution with the involvement of the opposition. The NC and the CPN-UML leaders chided the international community including India but except for China for stating to build a consensus on a new constitution, and craft a new inclusive constitution.


The scene of the CA session had been disgusting on January 25, 2015. The two-thirds-majority parties and the opposition prepared for a showdown. Standing as a wall at the rostrum on which the chairman presided over the CA session, the security men and women determined to stop any members of the CA approaching the rostrum. Behind the security wall, Chairman Subhas Nemwang performed his duty on holding the session of the CA. He proposed and passed the ‘Proposal-making Committee’ through the voice votes of the members amidst the opposition shouting slogans against it.


Nobody knew how the chairman made out the number of voices for the proposal. He declared that no-voice votes had been heard against the proposal. So, he did not record any no-voice votes. He must be a great pretender to say he did not hear any no-voices despite the opposition shouting against the committee. If Mr. Nemwang were to be a sincere or he was not deaf to hear the no-voice votes then the opposition slogans were enough for him to record the number of negative voices. He could not do so, as he was not for listening to the opposition. That was the political prank the two-thirds-majority political parties played at the CA.


The passing of the ‘proposal-making committee’ was the first defeat of the two-thirds-majority parties at the CA. The committee was made of 73 members. Following the rules of the CA, the committee must have the representation of all the political parties represented at the CA. How could Mr. Nemwang make sure that the opposition members would sit on the committee? If Mr. Nemwang were not to violate the CA rules then the committee would not see the light of the day. Mr. Nemwang was the professional lawyer; he must know how to twist the rules. Would not the committee be a fiasco, as it might not be able to give any positive results without the participation of the opposition? The committee did not make any sense without the participation of all political parties represented at the CA.


The funny thing Mr. Nemwang said was that passing the resolution of forming the ‘proposal-making committee’ he had created an environment conducive to dialogue and build a consensus. He also said that the opposition did not boycott the resolution, and even did not protest intensely. Mr. Nemwang must have either thick ears or sitting behind the security wall, he could not hear the opposition protests voices or he must have lied publicly saying the opposition had not protested profoundly.


Protesting against the passing of the resolution of the setting up of a ‘proposal-making committee’ at the CA, the opposition front of the UCPN-Maoist, Madheshi and other political parties held a news conference on January 25, 2015. The front said that unilaterally passing the ‘proposal-making committee’ at the CA, Chairman Subhas Nemwang had contributed to polarizing the political parties. Speaking at the news conference, the coordinator of the opposition front and chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda said that the opposition would not hold any talks with the ruling political parties including the CA chairman until this overwhelmingly erroneous and immoral step was not corrected.


The gorkhapatra of January 26, 2015 quoted Prachanda as saying, “The step the CA chairman had taken today (January 25, 2015) was a great reactionary step. It has not taken the country to the peace and prosperity rather it has pushed the country to the regression and conflict.” Prachanda also said, “We will not talk to the government, political parties running the government, and the CA chairman until the environment conducive to correcting this step, and to ensuring the crafting a constitution following a consensus is created.” Prachanda also said, “Today is the black day as the today’s step has ended the peace process and broke up the peace agreement.” He also said that the front would not attend any meeting called by the CA chairman but the front would not boycott the CA session.


Prachanda also said that working as an ordinary cadre of the NC and CPN-UML, the CA chairman had disregarded the neutrality, the honor and the prestige of the office of the chairman of the CA. He said, “What has happened at the CA today has been the most flawed undemocratic and regressive act in the history of the CA. It will push the country to the conflict has been the well-planned policy of the ruling parties to meet their selfish motives. They have abused the Twelve-point understanding, the comprehensive peace agreement, and agreements with the Madheshis, and ethnic people.” Prachanda also said that the 19-party front decided to burn CA chairman Subhas Nemwang in effigies across the country. The cadres of the front accordingly burned the effigies across the country.


The opposition including the UCPN-Maoist and the Madheshi political parties had marked the day of passing the ‘proposal-making committee’ at the CA as one of the black days in the history of Nepal. The behavior of the two-thirds majority parties such as NC and CPN-UML had been unusually undemocratic ordering the CA chairman to hold the session disregarding the protests of the opposition, they said. These two-thirds-majority parties claiming to be the so-called saviors of democracy had awfully shamed themselves without taking into consideration of the opposition voices at the CA. They ignored the fact that the CA was not a parliament where they could pass their resolution by the two-thirds majority but the CA was elected to craft a new constitution that must be a long lasting. Would a new constitution crafted behind the security wall be a long lasting?


The news posted on on January 27, 2015 said that preparation had been made to suspend the members of the CA that had been involved in the breaking up the chairs at the CA hall on the night of January 20, 2015. A five-member investigative committee had been set up to investigate the incident and the amount of the damage it had caused. General secretary of the CA Secretariat Manohar Prasad Bhattarai would preside over the committee. The committee said that the preliminary investigation had indicated about three million rupees worth of damages had been done; the actual cost of damage would be known after the detailed investigation. The committee would submit the report to the Chairman of CA Subhas Nemwang.


It was the magnificent thing that the CA chairman was about to setting up the tradition of punishing the culprits thus ending the high profile criminals getting away from crimes with impunity. It would be the historical event if the CA chairman Nemwang were to punish those culprits of breaking up the chairs, microphones, and TV screens and so on, and Nepal would be on the track of rule of law ending the tradition of the big shots committing crimes with impunity. However, the committee should not trump up charges against anybody. Today, probably Mr. KP Oli would not have been the chairman of CPN-UML, and he would not be so stubborn to craft a new constitution bullying the opposition if the then Speaker Damanath Dhungana had punished Mr. Oli for breaking up chairs in the parliament while protesting against the then Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in 1990s.


If the then Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala were to take the actions against the criminals that had killed so many unarmed protestors, and injured many more in attempting to suppress the people’s movements in 1990 and then in 2006, most of the former ministers would have been serving jail terms rather than currently serving as the members of the CA. The country would not have been plagued with the current rampant corruption in the administration if the then Prime minister Girija Koirala were to clean up the administration and the political process rather than following the corrupt path Mahendra had set up to kill democracy.


Today, the country would not have the shortage of water, power, gas and anything if the popularly elected prime ministers were not to join hands with the corrupt rulers of the previous regime in 1990s, and continued the corruption; we would not need to suffer even the ten-year people’s war, as Nepalese would not be landless, poor, and deprived of everything except for dying from hunger and diseases. Prime Minister Girija did clean up the administration firing the bureaucrats that his people did not like only to open the slots for the party cadres with the fake credentials.


CA Chairman Subhas Nemwang recorded the majority-voice votes on passing the setting up of the ‘proposal-making committee’ at the CA session on January 25, 2015. He also recorded that there were no voice votes against the setting up of the committee. How could he dare to do so when the opposition members had been standing and shouting slogans against the setting up of the ‘proposal-making committee’? Is it not the blatant lie chairman Nemwang to say he did not heard no-voice votes against the committee despite the shouting of the opposition against the committee? It is probably not only a crime but also an unpardonable crime that would push the country to the political chaos and conflict. Time would come when a committee would be set up to investigate such unconstitutional actions of the CA chairman if the CA chairman were really be serious about punishing the CA members breaking up the chairs.


Why the two-thirds-majority political parties needed to set up a ‘proposal-making committee’? Chairman of Constitutional Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee (CPDCC) Dr Baburam Bhattarai was supposed to submit the contentious issues to the CA for resolving them either through discussing or building a consensus on them or passing them by the two-thirds-majority votes. Dr Bhattarai did not do so. That was why the CA Chairman needed to set up a ‘proposal-making committee’ to override the CPDCC bullying the opposition. KP Oli had a number of times lamented that they had made Dr Bhattarai the chairman of CPDCC.


The UCPN-Maoist and Madheshi front jointly had the two-thirds majority at the then CA elected in 2008. They could do what the NC and CPN-UML have been doing in the CA now. They wisely did not do so otherwise the NC and CPN-UML would have done the same thing as the UCPN-Maoist and Madheshi political parties have been doing today. Then, the UCPN-Maoist and Madheshi parties had pushed them to the streets inviting the political instability at that time. Rightly, the then UCPN-Maoist and the Madheshi political parties did not go on head-on collision with the NC and CPN-UML as the NC and the CPN-UML had been going today. The country was then more politically fragile than today. Thus, the UCPN-Maoist and Madheshi political parties had saved the country from the political chaos. Today, the two-thirds-majority political parties determined to push the country to the political instability and possibly to the conflict.


Everybody knew that a new constitution or any proposals passed at the CA behind the security wall would not be a long lasting. Any rational person would believe that the NC and CPN-UML could not force their version of a new constitution to the people to accept it. Even the first step of bullying the opposition at the CA had already provoked the opposition to take the issue of a new constitution to the streets. So, promulgating a new constitution without the consent of the opposition would be a political madness. The two-thirds-majority political parties would be better off following the rules-based process at the CA rather than bullying the opposition voices behind the security wall.


With the help of the security, the two-thirds-majority parties could easily pass any bill and even a new constitution amid the opposition shouting the slogans at the CA. Then, they could ask the president to promulgate a new constitution. President Dr Ram Baran Yadav had been for a consensus constitution. If the president were not to promulgate the constitution of the NC and CPN-UML then they could ask their puppet Chairman Subhas Nemwang to do so. He would happily do so to record his name in black letters in the history of Nepal. He had already done so as the chairman not recording the negative-voice votes on passing the ‘proposal-making committee’ at the CA. His natives had declared that he would not be welcomed to his native district and constituency.


Spokesman for NC Dilendra Prasad Badu said that the prime minister had already talked to the opposition leader Prachanda and Madheshi leaders, and from tomorrow on, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala would start multi-lateral, bilateral and one-on-one talks with the opposition members so that a new constitution would not be promulgated on the street but with the due process at the CA, according to the news posted on on January 27, 2015.


In his address to the nation aired live on TV on Friday, January 23, 2015 after the opposition blocked the CA proceedings, Prime Minster Koirala had inflexibly said that he would proceed with the due process to craft a new constitution with his two-thirds-majority votes in the CA. He could boldly claimed so, he had puppet Chairman Subhas Nemwang that was doing everything for the two-thirds-majority parties. He had even disregarded the advice of the international community to make a new constitution acceptable to all and inclusive of all Nepalese people’s aspirations.


Now, Prime Minster Koirala has shown his soft corner for the opposition leaders stating he would like to talk to the opposition leaders. Coming out of the CA after passing the bill on setting up a ‘proposal-making committee,’ Chairman of CA Nemwang said to the reporters, “Now, it is up to the prime minister to build a consensus.” What was it? When the two-thirds majority had already passed the bill on a ‘proposal-making committee’ and they could go ahead with the procedure to craft a new constitution without the participation of the opposition. His colleagues and he had been masters of trickery in the past. Would the opposition believe in his call for building a consensus after the CA had deceptively passed the setting up of the ‘proposal-making committee’? The prime minister should not ignore the truth that ‘anybody could trick somebody into believing him/her once even twice but not the third time.’


If Prime Minister Koirala had been really sincere to build a consensus on the contentious issues why he did not go back to the CPDCC and asked its Chairman Dr Bhattarai to build a consensus giving him time as much as he needed. The irony is that his CA chairman Subhas Nemwang did not even give ten days to the coordinator of the opposition front Prachanda for dialogues. Reassigning Dr Bhattarai to build a consensus on the disputed issues, Prime Minister Koirala did not need to spend his precious time on making everybody agree on the contentious issues. He could spend most of his precious time on doing the daily official chores of his administration. He also needed to understand why he needed to rush into the promulgation of a new constitution when he had three more years to go before the life of the CA would run out.


So, he could scrap the ‘proposal-making committee’ illegitimately passed in the CA with the so-called voice votes amid the opposition members shouting the slogans against it. He also could ask chairman Subhas Nemwang explanations for not recording the voice votes against the passing of the ‘proposal-making committee’ despite all the opposition members standing and shouting slogans against the passing of the committee. Such actions would protect the democracy if Prime Minister Koirala were really to be a savior of democracy he frequently claimed to be.


Speaking at a function in Kathmandu, former Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal said, “At present, some of the neighbors are giving us unsolicited advice on Constitution-drafting. But China has not tried to dictate terms here, so I want to express special thanks to her.” Mr. Khanal also urged the international community “not to interfere in Nepal’s internal matters”. Similarly, NC vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel chided foreign powers for making recommendations on building a consensus on Constitution. “Do the countries, which are advising us, take all their decisions by consensus?” asked the NC leader. (Source: “Nepal leaders take dig at ‘meddling’ India, praise China’s ‘neutrality,’”, January 30, 2015).


Praising China for not saying anything about the unconstitutional move of the CA, Mr. Khanal was sure to play a ‘China card’ against India. However, Mr. Khanal should understand that the time was not the 1960s of the last century but of the 21st century, any country card would not work in this century.


Not knowing how to manage the unexpectedly found two-thirds-majority power, and facing the formidable opponent’s voices against the bullying at the CA to pass the bill on setting up a ‘proposal-making committee’ unconstitutionally, senior leaders of the so-called democratic parties such as NC and CPN-UML but most often behaving undemocratically have the vision of the “foreign interference” in Nepal when they got the advices on precisely what they needed to do following the democratic norms and values. The two-thirds-majority power had made them intoxicated and even made them forget to follow the constitutional provision to craft a new constitution. Would people accept such a new constitution crafted not following the proper constitutional procedures if they really were to promulgate it? The answer is certainly ‘no’.


The two-thirds-majority political parties had already given birth to the secessionist leader such as CK Raut. Now, it remained for him to grow a matured leader with the unwise actions of the NC and CPN-UML; those actions might turn into the blessing in disguise for Raut. Madheshi people had already shown their support for Raut fighting against the police force that went to stop him from holding a public rally in Madhesh.


Then, a busload of the EU diplomats went to Chitwan: Southern Nepal to meet with Raut. Furious at the diplomats for meeting with Raut, Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey met with the diplomats at a hotel in Kathmandu for seeking explanations. The diplomats made it clear to Foreign Minister Pandey that Raut they went to meet with was not a criminal. They went to see his concerns for the abuse of the rule of law, human rights, and inclusiveness in the administration. The diplomats told the foreign minister that they had been for the rule of law, for the respect of human rights and for the inclusive administration, and would remain so, too but they were not for breaking up Nepal into pieces.


It reminded me of the event in 2000s that the Gyanendra’s foreign minister called American ambassador John Moriarty to his office seeking the explanation for what he said, “Gyanendra should talk to the protesting parliamentary parties when the Maoists have already captured 72 of the 75 districts.” Everybody knew what fate had been of Gyanendra. Probably, the same destiny might be waiting for those two-thirds-majority parties.


Speaking at the interaction event held by the CPN-Maoist in Kathmandu on January 28, 2015, chairman of CPN-Maoist Mohan Vaidhya said that the recent squabble at the CA was ‘a storm in a teacup’, according to the news posted on the on January 28, 2015. He said that after the CA had failed in promulgating a new constitution on January 22, 2015, its importance had been faded away, and he insisted on the need for an all-party political assembly with authority.


Mr. Vaidhya and his lieutenants had been responsible for causing the current political turmoil. They had intended to stop the general elections to a new CA held in November 2013 but they could not do so but they succeeded in helping the NC and CPN-UML winning majority votes first boycotting the elections then causing defeat to the UCPN-Maoist and the Madheshi political parties.


Most of his lieutenants could have won the elections, if they had stayed with the UCPN-Maoist and went to the elections with the good intention. His lieutenants and he had been for an all-party roundtable conference, then an all-party assembly rather than the CA crafting a new constitution. Then, his cadres were neither in the CA nor on the streets. Was it not really the political immaturity of chairman Vaidhya if he had split away from the UCPN-Maoist only for taking office of the chairman of CPN-Maoist? Then, ‘Biplav’: one of his smart lieutenants left Chairman Vaidhya, and set up his own CPN-Maoist.


Was not a demand for forming an all-party assembly discarding the elected CA similar to the Thais had been doing in Thailand in 2014? They dissolved the elected parliament and removed the elected government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office and then they arbitrarily set up a new parliament of the members appointed by someone. Currently, the illegitimately appointed parliament impeached the elected former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Mr. Vaidhya! Was it politically rational to impeach anybody when s/he had been out of office?


Mr. Vaidhya! Rather than asking for any sorts of politically illegitimate actions as that happened in Thailand, we needed to force the politicians in power to do what the recently elected president has been doing in Sri Lanka. “The new government of President Maithripala Sirisena said it would investigate all financial deals struck by Mr. Rajapaksa and his brothers during his time in office. "Black money invested in various foreign countries is going to be investigated," said cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senarathne, referring to illegal capital flight, according to the Reuters news agency.” (Source: ‘Sri Lanka seizes car fleet 'not returned by Rajapaksa,' BBC, ASIA, January 23, 2015).


“The Asian Human Rights Commission is pleased to know that the stumbling block impeding the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka has been removed. The illegally appointed Chief Justice Mohan Peiris is removed from office, and Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, who was unlawfully impeached by the Rajapaksa regime, is reinstated as the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka.” (Source: WORLD: Independence of judiciary is restored in Sri Lanka: A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, January 28, 2015). The Rajapaksa regime had forcibly removed Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake from the office of the Chief Justice for acting independently and taking up the cases that went against the interest of the Rajapaksa regime.


Another right thing the current Sri Lankan government had done was to appoint a justice of the minority Tamil origin to the office of Chief Justice after Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake quit the office next day after she was reinstated to the office of Chief Justice. “Sri Lanka's president has appointed a Tamil judge as the new chief justice - the first member of the minority community to hold the post in decades. Judge Kanagasabapathy Sripavan, 62, was sworn in, in the capital Colombo. President Maithripala Sirisena, from the majority Sinhalese community, has sought reconciliation with Tamils after the separatist war that ended in 2009. Mr. Sripavan is the first Tamil to be appointed to the top position since 1991.” (Source: Tamil Sripavan appointed Sri Lanka's top judge BBC NEWS, ASIA, January 30, 2015)


Mr. Vaidhya! Why you did not demand to remove the illegitimately appointed allegedly corrupt justices from the Supreme Court of Nepal to minimize the arbitrary settlings of cases, and appoint the sincere justices legitimately, as the newly elected Sri Lankan government had done. You also should demand punishment to the illegitimate actions of Chairman of CA Subhas Nemwang not listening to the opposition-voice votes while passing the bill on setting up a ‘proposal-making committee.’ The two-thirds-majority politicians have been going to be ‘Rajapaksas’ in Nepal if Vaidhya were to go to the people and secure the people’s mandate for punishing those ‘Rajapaksas’ in Nepal.


Once we truly follow what has been happening in Sri Lanka today then our corrupt politicians would be in jail rather than at the cozy ministerial offices. Then successive politicians taking power would be careful not to be the targets of the future government for investigation into the corruption cases. If only one previous government had investigated the corrupt ministers then we would not have the rampant corruption we had today. Today, our politicians have been openly robbing the state but Mr. Vaidhya has nothing to say about it. Commission on Investigation into Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had been able to take up only a few corruption cases out of hundreds of thousands of cases. The irony is that even the staffers of the CIAA had caught red handed while taking the bribe.


Biplav had been keeping his cadres busy with raiding the stores of the cooking gas dealers and protesting the Nepal Oil Corporation for causing the shortage of the gas. However, he ignored that the concerned minister and his ministry had been selling the Nepal-bound gas in the market that fetched the high prices of the gas. So, it was actually the punishments to the voters for voting the two-thirds-majority political parties. Similarly, the cadres of Biplav went to the office of the Commission on Investigation into Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on Sunday, February 1, 2015 to submit the memorandum demanding to catch the big fishes rather netting the small fishes on charges of abuse of authority but the CIAA chairman did not accept it. Biplav needed to understand that the system had been designed so to provide the big shots with the loopholes to escape from the punishments. So, Biplav needed to engage his energy and resources in changing the system and building a new one that would not let escape anybody from the abuse of authority and corruption.


Unlike chairman Vaidhya, taking the scandalous event at the CA on January 25, 2015 seriously, chairman Biplav of CPN-Maoist issued a three-point statement on January 26, 2015. In his statement, Biplav said that the current political events have been the results of dissolving the people’s army without institutionalizing the political gains made by the people’s war; he urged the left forces including the UCPN-Maoist to join him to the new battle.


What political battle could be except for fighting in the CA or on the streets for building a consensus on a new constitution? Any other battles would be illegitimate. So, Vaidhya and Biplav needed to join in the battle the opposition front of the political parties including UCPN-Maoist and Madheshi parties had been waging rather than asking them to join your parties. If you were to ignore the current political reality, most probably you guys would be a little ‘mohan bikrams’, [1] and you would be soon disappear in the political clouds; you would not be able to stay on in the mainstream politics. You guys have been wasting your intellectual power and other resources using them for the most unproductive and not legitimate political activities.


January 29, 2015


Note: [1] Mohan Bikram had been a leader of a one-person communist party after he split away from the founder of the communist party of Nepal: Pushpalal in 1960s.





Three-point statement of CPN-Maoist signed off by chairman Biplav posted on on January 26, 2015 (informal translation from Nepali to English):


Our opinions on the step taken by the NC and CPN-UML through the so-called constituent assembly on January 25, 2015 (Magh 11, 2071) are as follow.

  1. After the CPN-Maoist entered the mainstream politics quitting the people’s war and entering into the peace process signing off different agreements with the then parliamentary political parties, the parliamentary parties had been denying one point after another of the major facts of the agreements. Dissolving the people’s liberation army without crafting a constitution for ensuring the institutionalization of the changes (brought by the people’s war), continuing the landlord system causing pains to the landless farmers and the problem of the agriculture, not resolving the disappearances of martyrs, and dissolving the elected constituent assembly were the steps of reinstating the old regime. The results had shown it.
  2. However, our party had been putting political pressure and continuing the political dialogues to make possible the return to the political situation in favor of the people through the roundtable conference, and an all-party political meeting. On January 25, 2015 (Magh 11, 2071), the past peace agreement had been fully violated. Going against the aspirations of Nepalese people for their emancipation and development, the reactionary elements had unilaterally used the feudal and capitalistic supremacy thus totally ending the possibility of building a consensus, working together, and power sharing, and this had been happening to end the peace process and all the agreements reached in the past.
  3. In this situation, to search for the possibility (of a consensus) in the reactionary parliament would be nothing but only illusion to most of the leftist forces including the UCPN-Maoist. Resigning from the reactionary parliament, and not falling in the illusion of that the parliamentary parties have been fighting for the people, I urge all these forces again for coming to the people and launch another battle for building another political consensus.


Signed off January 26, 2015 (Magh 12, 2071)


General Secretary 

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