Vinod Mubayi and Daya Varma


The results of the Nepali elections have demonstrated that the Nepali Maoists who gained a significant plurality in the 2008 elections and emerged as the largest party in Parliament with their leader Prachanda becoming Prime Minister, are now in a significant decline.


In the election results declared they are trailing far behind the Nepali Congress and the CPN (UML). The Maoists, who had earlier emerged as the heroes of the struggle against the


monarchical dictatorship of the late King and were rewarded by the support of the largest fraction of the electorate, have now been setback considerably. Two factors may be adduced for this turn of events. The first is the split within the party between the ultra-left faction led by Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’, which gave a call for boycott of the elections, and the remainder under Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai. Clearly, this call did not resonate at all with the population since 70% of the electorate is supposed to have voted according to results published by Nepal’s Electoral Commission. However, it could have had an impact on the erstwhile Maoist supporters. Second, numerous reports in newspapers and the media suggest that governance under the Maoists was poor; there was a significant amount of financial corruption, favouritism, and bad administration that led to a fall in their earlier popularity. While some of the media reports could be discounted on grounds of their unrelenting hostility to communist ideology, the results show that many of these reports were accurate.


In any case, the Maoists have to learn the hard lessons of governing and governance in the context of a state and a country where the simplistic slogans of socialism, communism, and Maoism, have a limited relevance in addressing the problems of the people. Talking glibly of going back to armed struggle as the ultra-left faction has done from time to time has an even more limited appeal. Serious re-thinking about strategy and tactics of governance in the so- called “bourgeois democratic” framework has to take place among the comrades sincerely interested in democratic and inclusive development. This will benefit not only Nepal but have serious lessons for the rest of South Asia as well.

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