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Nepal : Things Go Wrong For Maoists

 article about Nepal : Things Go Wrong For Maoists
2008-08-12 08:22:37

Loosing an important ballot race in the Constituent Assembly for the 'Head of the State' and his subordinate, the rebellion communists of Nepal find themselves in an embracing situation. The emergence of a three party alliance, opposing the Maoists, has even compelled the Maoist leader Prachanda, who was projected as the Prime Minister of the new Himalayan democratic republic, to rethink about his next step.     


Why things go wrong, the Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda might have asked himself. Prachanda, who lead a bloody revolution to end the then Hindu monarchy, wanted a major share of power in the new democratic regime at Kathmandu. And for many weeks after the April 10 general election (to form the Constituent Assembly), where his party (the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist) scored highest number of seats, everything went on smoothly. In the polls, the Maoists won 220 seats and they were followed by Nepali Congress (110 members) and Communist Party of Nepal - Unified Marxist Leninist (103 members).


It was the glorified time, when the Maoists demanded both the posts of President and Prime Minister for their leaders. But soon they faced the heat of democracy, when the other political parties rejected their demand out rightly. The Maoists then left their claim (for the post of President) but sticked to the post of an executive Prime Minister (which was reserved for Prachanda, 53).


Initially, Nepali Congress projected its leader and the acting Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala as the candidate for the first President of Nepal, who would replace the King as the head of the state. But Prachanda rejected the proposal, because he feared that a senior politician like Koirala as the President would definitely invite troubles for him (as the Prime Minister).


Prachanda however described Koirala as a statesman and a National figure of Nepal. But he preferred Koirala to keep away from any heavy responsibility because of Koirala's age (he is over 80) and fragile health.


Following the mounting pressure from the Maoists, Koirala had earlier resigned from the office of the Prime Minister and waited to submit his resignation letter to the newly elected President. Earlier his resignation letter would have been sent to the King. Mentionable that Nepal Constituent Assembly declared the country as a democratic republic in May 23 and even asked the last King Gyanendra to leave the Narayanhiti palace, which was later converted into a museum.


The Presidential and Vice Presidential race in the Constituent Assembly has however paved way for an alliance of three political parties opposing the Maoists. During the July 19 polls in the Assembly, Maoists faced the first defeat, when their candidate Shanta Shrestha lost to Paramananda Jha, a Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Madhesi People's Rights Forum) candidate for the post of Vice President. Jha, 73, bagged 305 votes in the 601-member Constituent Assembly to get elected for the ceremonial post.


The Madhesi community, who lives in southern Nepal that is adjacent to India, emerged as a visible political power after the general election and the community leaders asserted its space for political bargaining with the Maoists. Possessing nearly 40% population of Nepal (total populace 27 million), Madhesis, who are culturally and linguistically closed to India, were primarily demanding for an autonomous structure in their localities.


The polls for President could not be completed on Saturday as no one gained the required minimum number (301) of votes. The final round of the polls held on Monday, where Ram Baran Yadav, 61, was declared elected as the first President of Nepal. Yadav, also a Madhesi candidate won the support from 308 members in the Assembly. With the support from the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal - Unified Marxist Leninist, the medical practitioner turned politician, defeated the Maoists backed candidate Ram Raja Prasad Singh, 74 convincingly.


But a section local media at Kathmandu went on reporting that the Maoists supported candidate was winning the polls, as they had highest number of members and also enjoyed the support from the Madhesi groups. Of course, Madhesi leaders initially supported Koirala as the President. Following the objection of Maoist leader Prachanda to Koirala's candidature, the Madhesi leaders were understood to join hands with the Maoists. But it was not realized even though the Maoists supported a Madhesi candidate for the post of President.


It all happened because of a last minute alliance of the Nepali Congress with the Communist Party of Nepal - Unified Marxist Leninist and the ethnic Madhesi People's Rights Forum to confirm the defeat of the Maoist backed candidate. They had earlier succeeded in defeating the Maoist candidate in the Vice-Presidential race also.

The new alliance has planned to continue their tie-up till fighting for the post of Chairman of the Constituent Assembly. Even Prachanda himself had termed the alliance (Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal - Unified Marxist Leninist and Madhesi People's Rights Forum) as 'unholy'.


"Maoists now can understand what the democracy is. It is not the time of their bloody revolution, where they could put pressure on some one to make things favourable for them. Now they have to follow the norms of democracy, where people's mandate remained vital and certainly not the other form of power (read weapon)," commented a Kathmandu based political observer.


Speaking to this writer from the capital city, he also hinted that the newly emerged alliance (Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal - Unified Marxist Leninist and Madhesi People's Rights Forum) would put Prachanda in trouble even after he takes the charge of an executive Prime Minister. Moreover, he might have to face an enormous opposition in policy making and implementing accordingly. More significantly Prachanda would face continuous risk of toppling his government by the combined opposition, the observer concluded.


Facing the critical situation, the Maoists had lately decided not to go for the exercise of government formation. The Maoists, after losing in the crucial ballot races in the Constituent Assembly, are ready to sit in the opposition. Prachanda disclosed their decision on July 22 evening, "We will not go to form the government." The decision of the Maoists has however indicated to the emerging complexity in the formation of a government at Kathmandu and also more political uncertainties looming over Nepal in the coming days.


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