Friday, July 2, 2010

Nepal update (July 2, 2010)

The crisis in Nepal has taken a twist with the resignation of PM, Madhav Kumar Nepal. The big reason behind MKN's resignation was the passing of the annual budget, which had been stalled by the maoists. Once this resignation was done, the maoists stopped the stalling and
To allay the increasing uncertainty over the timely presentation of the new budget, the three major parties, Unified CPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (UML), have agreed on the issue of presenting an advance budget for the next fiscal year. At the meeting held at the Constituent Assembly (CA) building, Naya Naneshwor, on the initiation of the CA chairperson Subash Nemwang, Friday morning, leaders of the three parties reached to an agreement to this effect after concluding that there is little possibility of formation of a new government anytime soon.

The decision comes a day after the cabinet meeting of the current caretaker government decided to present an advance budget through a special bill. The Article 96 A (2) of Interim Constitution says the finance minister can introduce a Bill regarding authority to spend in the next fiscal year an amount not exceeding one-third of the total expenditure of the current fiscal year, hence opening the door for the government to collect revenue and stall the negative effect on development expenditure, price and trade expansion, among others.
At the meeting the three major parties also agreed, in principle, to form the State Restructuring Commission. The leaders of the three parties said they were ready to form the commission. However, they are yet to agree on the composition and the authority of the commission.
Another case of whine-fest to be endured, sooner than later. So lets try to understand the movements within the three players: CPN(M), CPN (ML), and NC.

1) CPN(M): Infighting and factional feud within the maoists rank and file had been well-known, especially with Babu Ram Bhattarai and PK Dahal having an ideological chasm that was too wide.
Saag has the following to add:
Frustrated over lack of progress after the three point agreement, the Politburo of the CPN (Maoist) which had a marathon meeting for over twelve days finally decided to take a strong stand on the question of PLA integration and this in turn would affect the peace process itself.

The hardened stand taken by Prachanda is a reflection of his own weakened position in the party and he appears to have come in for strong criticism over his style of functioning and lack of a clear-cut stand on various issues that confront the party now. The party is now scheduled to have an "extended central committee meeting" scheduled sometime in September where the ideological issues which have clouded the party style in dealing with the current situation will be discussed in detail.

There are indications that even among the Maoists, there is some pressure on Prachanda to give up and let another member take charge as Prime minister in the event the party is to lead a unity government. While the pressure on Prachanda to nominate someone else as Prime minister came internally, it was made out that the reactionary forces are trying to split the party by "suggesting an alternative to Prachanda for leadership."

2) CPN (ML): Jhalnath Khanal and KP Sharma Oli had been seeing away from MK Nepal for a long time now. In fact, Jhalnath made trips to India, where he was seemingly advised to stick to MKN and head off the maoists. The rift has only widened over time. Over the last few days, as saag has observed,
Madhav Nepal has been unfairly criticised by his own colleagues, particularly the chairman Jhalanath Khanal and he was never allowed to function freely. Khanal made a surprising statement a few days ago that the present government had failed in all fields. In what way did his party chaired by him helpMadhav Nepal.? Angered by the snide remarks of his own party men, Madhav Nepal has finally given up. It should have hurt him more that even his close friend and colleague K.P.Oli volunteered with the offer that Nepal would resign soon without even consulting him!

3) NC: With the passing away of GP Koirala, NC seems to be at a cross-roads in many sense. Infighting was always the norm in NC, but the power fights now are between Sher Bahadur Deuba, Ram Chandra Poudel (vice president of NC), KP Sitaula and Sher Bahadur Deuba. In fact, Sujata Koirala, the daughter of GPK, went on to observe that NC needed internal peace before heading a consensus government.
Regarding the government formation, we again have three strands of logic. From the whiny to the amusing...
The maoists' logic is that:
“The president is from the Nepali Congress, Chairman of the Constituent Assembly is from the UML, Vice President was a Madhesi Forum Candidate, thus it is only natural to support a prime minister from our party”, Bhattarai opined.
Not to mention that the CPN (M) have never let the Constituent Assembly function nor the Parliament, especially on the budget matters. To cap that, when Prachanda had the opportunity to set the stage for how to run the country, he threw it in populist moves that would have made sense only with the armed cadre and YCL. To come this far and claim for fair claim actually takes the cake. But then these are the maoists, who still believe in people's war. Enough said.

The congress logic is that:
The Unified Maoists’ Party and United Marxist Leninists’ Party have already led governments after the election of the constituent assembly thus now it was the turn of the Nepali Congress to lead the country.
Right, except that much of the current state of affairs in nepal owes it to the nepal congress and its leadership that was bizarre. GP Koirala, even in his healthier days, was known more for his machiavellian tricks than for being the statesman non-pareil that he was made out to be during the cremation ceremony.

The marxist-leninists' logic is that:
Vice chairman Bam Dev Gautam and General Secretary Ishwar Pokharel are in favor of formation of new government under the command of their party chairman Jhal Nath Khanal. “There is no alternative to Chairman Khanal”, said Pokharel talking to one of the media. The UML standing committee meeting has been called Thursday, today, and our central committee will sit in to make decisions in this regard on Friday, July 2, 2010, informed influential leader K. P. Sharma Oli, who is himself one of the prime candidate of the prime minister.
Just that :). Nothing more than that. Now that MKN's government has been shown the door, it is time for other factionalists in CPN (ML) to rule the roost and destroy nepal. Can anything else take the cake for logic?

Nepal’s President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav urged parties represented in the constituent assembly to form a national unity government by political consensus by July 7, 2010. The President as per the Interim Constitution 2063 Clause 38-1 had urged parties to form government in political consensus.
What we will see is that Dr. Ram Baran Yadav will cancel the Parliament because there is and there can be no consensus. If heaven forbid, some weakling government can be sewed, it will not last further than the Charan Singh government we all know of. In short, nepal is at the cusp of things we in India saw during 1977. Emergency == people's war, Syndicate == Jhalnath Khanal + Prachanda + GP Koirala, maoists == Janata Party (!), Nepal army == Indira Congress, etc. Most of these comparisons may make people shudder, but you get the gist of what is impending. Fresh elections because we are at an unstable non-equilibrium point!

What happens to Constituent Assembly or the dissembling of the maoist cadre? You must be in fool's paradise if you have come this far and still hope to believe that all these will happen on time. The CA will get extended right on the dot next year or we would have people's war part-III anyway. Dont worry, eat nepali curry, it is fatty and made for the Himalayan winter (pun intended).

PS: From brf: In need of constant updating, the movers and shakers in nepal. A major source of info is this:

1) CPN-ML: Madhav Kumar Nepal (current Pime Minister), Jhal Nath Khanal (CPN-ML chairman), KP Sharma Oli (senior leader), Bidya Devi Bhandari (current defence minister)
2) Ruling establishment-ists: Dr. Ram Baran Yadav (current president of Nepal), Parmanand Jha (former vice-president of Nepal whose oath-taking in Hindi caused an uproar and is now officially out-of-office as he refused to re-take the oath in Nepali), Chhatraman Gurung (current army chief), Bijaya Kumar Gacchedhar (former MJF member and currently deputy PM as a part of NC)
3) Nepali Congress: Girija Prasad Koirala (president of NC, now deceased), Senior leaders: Sher Bahadur Deuba, Ram Chandra Paudel, Sushil Koirala, Sujata Koirala (GPK's daughter and current foreign minister), Gagan Thapa, Ram Hari Khahwada, Chandra Bhandari, Badri Narsing Kc (all part of youngistan brigade of NC)
4) Maoists: Pushpa Kumar Dahal (Chairman of CPN-M), Baburam Bhattarai (vice-president of CPN-M), Dev Gurung, Mohan Baidya alias Kiran (all senior leaders), Janardan Sharma 'Prabhakar', Gopal Kiranti (all Politbureau members)
5) Monarchists: Gyanendra (former king), Paras (son of Gyanendra and a major roadside romeo), Rookmangal Katwal (former army chief), Pashupati Sumsher Jung Bahadur Rana (president of pro-monarchist Rastriya Prajatantra Party), Surya Bahadur Thapa (former influential member of RPP and current president of Rastriya Janshakti Party)
6) Indian side: Rakesh Sood (Indian ambassador to Nepal), GK Pillai (Union Home Secretary)
7) Madhes Janadhikar Forum: Upendra Yadav (former Maoist and current chairman of MJF), Jay Prakash Gupta (former NC member who joined MJF recently), Mohammad Nasir Siddhique (leader of the Muslim faction of MJF)
8 ) Minor parties: MJF Madhesh (a splinter group of MJF) --- Bhagyanath Gupta, Kishor Kumar Bishwash, Ram Kumar Sharma, Jitendra Sonal, Nepal Sadbhavana Party --- Rajendra Mahato
9) China: Yang Jiechi (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Liu Hongcai (Vice Minister of International Department of the Central Committee of Communist Party of China), Liu Hong Chai (International Bureau Chief of the Chinese Communist Party)

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