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Sushil-led Government-49: Nepal: Democracy Off The Track In Nepal

February Issue 2015


Siddhi B Ranjitkar


'Time is vital for promulgation of new constitution‚ but what is even more important is good result' ADB President Takehiko Nakao


Democracy in Nepal clearly had stepped out of the track. Chairman of CA Subhas Nemwang ran the CA session without the presence of majority of the opposition on February 6, 2015. The CA hall looked more like a citadel. The security had been all around the CA building. CA members had to take a thorough security check before they could get in. The CA hall was full of the security even though majority of the opposition did not show up in the CA session. Only the RPP-Nepal, and NWPP were in the opposition. The recent international political event had sent a warning signal to the two-thirds-majority parties.


The business of the CA had been to extend the term of the ‘proposal-making committee’ for five more days on February 6, 2015. The CA full of the two-thirds-majority parties happily extended the term up to February 11, 2015. The RPP-Nepal opposition members shouted slogans against the Chairman of CA holding the session. The leaders of the two-thirds-majority parties had been chuckling while Kamal Thapa of RPP-Nepal was shouting that he would not recognize federalism, secularism, and republicanism, according to the news posted on on February 6, 2015.


Chairman of CA Nemwang and his two-thirds-majority bosses had been taking democracy to the hell. Mr. Nemwang had been the good tool for NC and CPN-UML leaders to exclude the opposition. In absence of the major opposition, they could quietly run the CA for any business. They did not need to be in a hurry to call a vote on a new constitution. They could do it any time without any obstruction. They had successfully pushed the opposition to the streets if not forest.


The two-thirds-majority parties might wake up belatedly to the political reality. Nepalese had lived more than two-and-a-half centuries under the injustice perpetrated by the then rulers. Many brave Nepalese gave their lives for freedom from injustice. They had done with the Ranas then with the Shahs. Now, the Kamal Thapa has been shouting for reinstating the system of injustice means to kill federalism, secularism and republicanism. However, the two-thirds-majority political parties had already quietly reinstated the injustice. The current rulers could not hold on to injustice for long as the previous rulers including the panchayat rulers did. Nepalese of that time were weak. They had no choice but to give in rather than face the gun. Today, nobody could hold Nepalese at a gunpoint. The battle for democracy and against injustice would be fought on the streets not on the battleground.


A leader such as KP Oli could call on the cadres of other political parties, and tell them to join his party only to be ministers rather than getting fired from the party memberships for not taking part in the street politics. Only the most irrational leader could say such words. It has been fashionable for the Nepalese leaders to say such a silly thing. However, we cannot dismiss such a call of a leader even though he is irresponsible.


The opposition had been on the way to launch street protests. Leaders had been in the districts to mobilize the cadres for the street protests. The two-thirds-majority leaders had been running the CA session with the heavy security in and around the CA hall. Soon, they might need to fight the street battles that would be decisive this time.


Some of the UCPN-Maoist leaders had prophesied that the next battle would be with the NC and CPN-UML. It has come true. Madheshis and UCPN-Maoist cadres had been preparing for the battle against injustice again. The NC and CPN-UML had the advantage of having the State police and the army. The opposition had the advantage of all the people suffering from injustice. People fighting for justice would certainly win the battle. It is only the question of time. The oppressors were bound to die or disappear.


Everybody knew that a new constitution would be dead on promulgation. If the NC and CPN-UML wanted to have a good constitution that would last a long time, it would require compromise. Both the establishment parties and the opposition standing quite apart today needed to come closer and stand side by side to promulgate a new constitution. As some leaders had sarcastically said that the CA had been the house of monkeys then the constitution promulgated with the two-thirds-majority votes would be a monkey constitution that would not be accepted by any humans.


The news posted on on February 8, 2015 said that the Madheshi leaders had had four-hour meeting with President Ram Baran Yadav at the presidential residence starting at 4:00 pm and ending at 8:00 pm on February 8, 2015. President Yadav was serious about the widening gap between the establishment parties and the opposition. He wanted the Madheshi leaders to have dialogue with the ruling parties rather than going to the street protests. Madheshi leaders rejected the president’s plea and asked the president how they could talk to the ruling parties when they wanted to bully the opposition with their two-thirds majority. They said that they would not sit with the two-thirds-majority parties until the unconstitutionally passed ‘proposal-making committee’ was dissolved. The president realized the faults of the establishment parties, according to the news.


Prime Minister Sushil Koirala called on the opposition to sit for talks was positive but the call had no meaning as long as ‘proposal-making committee’ unconstitutionally passed in the CA by the two-thirds votes was dissolved, said the opposition leaders. Speaking at the Reporters' Club in Kathmandu on February 8, 2015, Chairman of Federal Sadbhavana Party Anil Jha said that the Prime Minister's appeal for talks failed to convince the Madheshi parties of good intention. “His letter still boasts two-thirds strength," Jha commented, "He has called us to join the process," according to the news posted on on February 10, 2015. “Dissolution of the Committee would give opposition parties a base to resume talks. That would also force us to withdraw protests," said UCPN-Maoist Secretary Barshaman Pun speaking at the same function, according to the news.


Chairman of Sadbhavana Party Rajendra Mahato said that the letter the PM wrote to the opposition could be a ploy to diffuse the protest programs of the opposition alliance. “We cannot sit for dialogues with the ruling coalition on the basis of a letter, which is vague and ambiguous,” said Mahato. “We have already set our condition for dialogue with the ruling coalition. Unless and until the ruling coalition is ready to draft a consensus-based constitution and dissolve the questionnaire committee, we cannot sit for talks,” the news posted on quoted Mahato as saying on February 9, 2015.


“Let us start meaningful talks without further delay to forge necessary consensus and understanding and actively engage in the constitution-drafting process so that we the partners of the peace process and democratic movement can promulgate the new statute together, keeping in view our responsibility towards nation and people,” the news posted on on February 9, 2015 quoted the prime minister as saying on Sunday, February 8, 2015.


At a meeting held at the Prime Minister's official residence in Baluwatar on the morning of February 6, 2015, leaders of NC and CPN-UML decided to adopt utmost flexibility for having a dialogue with the opposition, and building a consensus on the contentious issues of a new constitution. However, they said that the ongoing process of the Proposal Drafting Committee to prepare questionnaire for the unsettled issues of the constitution writing would not be halted at any cost, according to the news posted on on February 6, 2015.


In Biratnagar on February 7, 2015, coordinator of 30-party alliance Prachanda said that he had already told the leaders of NC and CPN-UML either dissolve or suspend the questionnaire committee, and he asked them to make a public commitment that they would not deviate from the Comprehensive Peace Accord and the 12-point deal reached among the political parties, if these were acceptable to them, we could start talks for a consensus on a new constitution, according to the news posted on on February 7, 2015.


The Nepalese opposition leaders needed to learn from the recent elections to a New Delhi State Assembly. Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 67 seats in the 70-members Delhi Assembly leaving only three seats to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) the elections results posted on February 10, 2015 stated. It has been possible because its leader Kejriwal went to every corner of the Delhi neighborhood and asked the voters for ‘pardon’ for the mistake he had committed.


“Mr. Kejriwal launched his campaign to regain Delhi as early as last July. Most believe the anti-corruption campaigner's masterstroke was telling people that he was sorry for quitting in haste after a chaotic 49-day stint in power following an impressive debut in the December 2013 state polls. He went to every neighborhood and slum to beg forgiveness. "We have made a mistake", he told people, "but we haven't sinned." In a country where politicians are increasingly seen as aloof and arrogant, Mr. Kejriwal's atonement worked wonders. Every comeback needs true believers, and Delhi's voters believed him.” (“India's Arvind Kejriwal makes an epic comeback by Soutik Biswas” BBC NEWS, INDIA, February 10, 2015)


The ruling parties: NC and CPN-UML also needed to learn from the defeat of the BJP that had won all the seven Delhi’s parliamentary seats in the general elections held in May 2014. It might be the results of Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s not-in-a-hurry attitude to the economic reforms rather the Indian Statistics office came out with improved version of the economic growth the serious economists hardly believed in.


“One young professional, who voted for the BJP in May, told me he was voting for Mr. Kejriwal this time because he was unnerved by Mr. Modi's failure to gag his party's radical fringe.” But more importantly, say analysts like Neerja Chowdhury, "voters in Delhi also reacted to the BJP's arrogance of power". The BJP is a cadre-based party with deep roots in Delhi. Analysts say voters did not take kindly to former policewoman Kiran Bedi being introduced at the last-minute as the BJP's chief ministerial candidate. For Mr. Modi and the BJP, defeat marks the end of the honeymoon period and they are stripped of their aura of invincibility. "This is a big morale booster for India's opposition parties," says Neerja Chowdhury. But it will take a lot more effort to translate that spirit into votes against. (Source: “India's Arvind Kejriwal makes an epic comeback by Soutik Biswas” BBC NEWS, INDIA, February 10, 2015)


Chairman of CPN-Maoist Mohan Vaidhya wanted to fix Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda. He thought that he could do so splitting away from him. Currently, Mr. Vaidhya did not find any place in the mainstream politics. His lieutenants had been in the worst positions. The most powerful and courageous lieutenant Netran Bikram Chand “Biplav’ challenged the leadership of Vaidhya setting up a new party with the same name. Now, the UCPN-Maoist, Madheshi parties and ethnic parties have been on the streets. He saw the opportunity of having his share in this street movement. With his egoist mind, he could not say he would join the universal movement; he rather invited UCPN-Maoist to join him. UCPN-Maoist leaders outright rejected the approach of Mr. Vaidhya. It has been the result of the highest level of political naiveté of Mr. Vaidhya.


Referring to the decisions of the central committee of his party on Thursday, February 5, 2015, Vaidhya proposed to merge the two Maoist parties, to set up a Maoist Communist Center and strengthen the alliance for the street protests. “To remain in the CA would mean surrendering to the regressive forces. So, they (UCPN-Maoist) have no alternative other than joining forces with us in our protests," the news posted on on February 5, 2015 quoted Vaidhya as saying. “Neither unification nor any working alliance with Baidya´s (Vaidhya’s) party is possible now because we are still for making efforts to bring a new constitution in consensus while they want us to quit the CA permanently," UCPN-Maoist Secretary Barshaman Pun told ‘Republica’. He said they would consider forming a working alliance with the Baidya (Vaidhya) -led alliance only if the latter forfeits its demand for CA dissolution. (Source: “Baidya Offers UCPN (Maoist) For Unification”,, February 5, 2015)


“Survival of fittest,” said the British natural scientist Charles Darwin. He was referring to the plants and animals that could adapt to the environment, and that could not, simply perished. Now, it has been applicable to our daily lives, in business, commerce, and even in the politics.


Chairman of CPN-Maoist Vaidhya needed to adapt the current political situation, and stay on the mainstream politics if he were to survive in the politics otherwise he would make not only himself redundant but also his lieutenants, too. We have seen how Matrika Yadav had been out of the politics recently, and Mohan Bikram in the past. Chairman Vaidhya needed to join the opposition front to put the democracy derailed by the two-thirds-majority parties on track if his lieutenants and he were to stay on the politics otherwise the fittest would take the lead and remain in the politics.


Vaidhya would lose everything if his lieutenants and he were not to take the opportunity given by the two-thirds-majority parties of strengthening his party joining in the movement launched by the opposition front against he two-thirds-majority parties. Vaidhya needed to understand that the two-thirds-majority parties had written off the Federal Democratic Front erroneously believing in UCPN-Maoist and Madheshi political parties had been politically frozen. It might have been partially true, had the two-thirds-majority parties sincerely taken into considerations of the aspirations of the ethnic people, Madheshis, and other underprivileged people for their say in crafting a new constitution. They had unintentionally strengthening the UCPN-Maoist, Madheshi parties and ethnic parties with their intention of imposing their constitution with the two-thirds-majority power.


We have seen how the BHJ was routed giving almost everything to AAP in the state assembly elections held in the first week of February 2015. Even with the power of Modi’s flawless speeches and 120 members of the parliament could not save BJP from getting not more than three seats in the 70-seats state assembly. This has to do with the BJP refusing to pass the Anti-Corruption Bill put forward by the APP at the Delhi State assembly in particular, and the Modi’s lackluster actions of reforming the economy in general.


The same fate of BJP in the Delhi state assembly elections must be waiting for the two-thirds-majority political parties in Nepal. The opposition front had been on the way to launching a movement for crafting a new constitution acceptable to all ethnic, Madheshi and underprivileged people and all the major political parties. The people’s direct and open verdict would be the final.


We were not worried about the fate of the two-thirds-majority political parties but certainly about the democracy being derailed by those so-called parliamentary democratic political parties currently holding two-thirds majority in the CA. Chairman Nemwang was there to chair the CA sessions unconstitutionally stating the CA was not a parliament that needed the presence of the opposition. Thus, Mr. Nemwang had been fueling already burning Nepalese political arena.


February 11, 2015

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