Tapan Kumar Bose


Kathmandu May 20, 2008


Nepal Maoists who won the majority in April elections are willing to work with other major parties of Nepal but both Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) seem unwilling to let the Maoists form the new government.


If the democratic values are to be respected, the Communist Party of Nepal -Maoists (CPN-M) should lead the next government in Nepal. This is what Mr. Andrew Hall, the British Ambassador to Nepal said in Chitrakot on May 19, 2008. The established practice of parliamentary democracy all over the world is that, the government of the day when it is defeated in the election resigns. But this not how democracy functions in Nepal.  The political parties who were trounced in the election, particularly the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal – United Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML)) have together formed a cartel to hold on to office. They are arguing that the Maoists must first prove their ‘democratic credentials’.


While the Maoists are continuing with their efforts to form an interim government, the NC and the CPN-UML have put forward rather tough conditions for their support. In the meantime Kathmandu based Newspapers are daily reporting about the violent actions of the Maoists party activists and that of cadre of its front organization the Young Communist League (YCL). These acts include abduction, illegal confinement, torture, extortion and murder of political opponents, media persons, landowners and businessmen. The explanations provided by the central leadership do not convince most news paper readers of the innocence of the Maoists. However, on occasions, exaggeration by the media and NGOs and misreporting of the statements of the leaders of the Maoists have been brought to light. Similar reports of violent activities of abduction, extortion and murder by the Madeshi armed groups in several districts of Terai are also being reported.


The acting president of NC, Mr Sushil Koirala told the press on 19th May that the past experiences with the Maoists do not encourage the NC to have faith in them. “We are suspicious. Because they have not fulfilled any of the agreements and understandings signed in the recent past. They have not yet returned even an inch of seized lands. In fact, they have started to distribute such lands,” he said. (http://www.nepalnews.com.np/archive/2008/may/may19/news02.php)


The CPN-UML General Secretary Mr. Jhal Nath Khanal at a meeting to celebrate the birthday of Buddha, told the CPN-M Chairman Prachanda to direct his cadres to “tread the path shown by the peace process” by immediately stopping their highhandedness. (http://www.nepalnews.com.np/archive/2008/may/may19/news13.php)  In an interview with the Kathmandu Post on Monday May 19, 2008, Mr Khanal compared the victory of the CPN-M with a flash flood or hailstones that “fall with the rain accompanied by loud thunderbolts. These things appear terrifying whenever they are happening, but they are short-lived.” He then went ahead to caution Maoists that they, “should not get confused that this is their lasting victory. This is sheer momentary”. (The Kathmandu Post May 19, 2008 page 5)


In the election to the Constituent Assembly of Nepal, the CPN Maoists secured 30.52 % votes in the First Past the Post segment (FPTP). This gave them 120 seats. In the proportional section of the CA Polls, the Maoists received about 29.28 % votes that translated into another 100 seats. Altogether the CPN Maoists have 220 seats in a house of 575 seats declared till date.  They are 48 short of absolute majority.


Let us look at the performance of the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist and Leninist) in the CA polls. In the FPTP Nepali Congress polled about 22.79 % which gave them 37 seats and in the proportional segment they polled about 21.14 % which got them 73 seats. The combined number of seats that the NC has in the CA is 110, exactly half of the Maoists.


CPN-UML polled about 21.63 percent in the FPTP and got 33 seats. In the proportional section the CPN-UML received about 20.33% of voted that gave then 70 seats. Altogether the CPN-UML tally comes to 103 even less that 50% of the seats that the Maoists.


The voting analysis released by the Nepal Election Commission shows that the FPTP, NC received about 14.50% less votes compared to their performance in the 1996 election. Similarly the CPN-ULM also lost about 16.32 % of its earlier voters. What these two parties lost has it seems gone to the Maoists who as the first entrant into the electoral fray got a total of 30.52 % of the votes. The other interesting fact that comes out of the voting percentage analysis is that the two Madhesi parties, Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum, Nepal and the Tarai-Madhesh Loktantrik Party together polled about 9.50 % of the total votes in the FPTP segment. (For more details please see www.election.gov.np )


What really is happening? It is difficult to say as in the political hothouse of Kathmandu rumours grow every minute.  These are as always a mix of facts and fictions. Let me report a few.  – (1) In 2003 when G.P.Koirala met the Maoists in a secret venue in India, the Maoists had offered him the presidency of the first republic in exchange of the support of the NC for Maoist demand for the Constituent Assembly and Republic. Koirala had refused. Today he wants to be President the Maoists are not willing. – (2) With the approval of the Governments of India and the USA, the Nepali Congress has secretly conveyed to the Maoists that NC would support the Maoists in the formation of an interim government provided they agree to the creation of a position of the Head of State who would be the Commander in Chief of the armed forces and shall have power to dismiss the Prime Minister. This position should be given to G. P. Koirala. Apparently this is a pressure tactics to force the Maoists to disband the YCL and surrender all the arms in their possession to the government. – (3) The CPN-UML has demanded that the Maoists must disband the YCL as a price for their support in the government making. – (4) the Madhesi parties have agreed to be a part of a Maoists led government if the Maoists agree to their demand of creation of a Madesh province comprising the entire Terai region.- (5) Government of India does not want the Maoists to form a government till they have disbanded the YCL and surrendered all the arms in their possession. – (6) Almost all the major political parties secretly support the army in their opposition to the proposal of integrating the Nepal Army with the Maoist PLA.


The tailpiece: A friend of mine, who plays tennis with colonels and majors, said that a section of the army brass has become well skilled in political negotiations.   

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