Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nepal update (August 16, 2011)

1)

The Nepali Congress has settled its internal dispute for now with the two rival factions arriving at an understanding to nominate Sher Bahadur Deuba as the party's prime ministerial candidate "for consensus government". Party president Sushil Koirala, Deuba and parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Poudel reached the agreement during a meeting held at Koirala's residence, Maharajgunj. Other senior leaders were also present at the meeting.

There were many claims that the internal feud in the Nepali Congress will ensure that Baburam Bhattarai will have a cakewalk in the "elections." It seems like not so now. Any day, I would prefer fresh elections over this rambunctious assemblage of villains and demi-villains. But yea, my opinion matters zilch.

This is what SAAG says: Linky

Within the Nepali Congress itself, Sher Bahadur Deuba is again seen to be nursing ambitions to become the Prime minister, though he has proved to be incompetent not once but thrice!

In any case, I am happy to see the Jhalnath Khanal government go. It has become the symbol of factional politics (not the AP type) of Nepal. It was always an opportunist front, cobbled together at the eleventh hour, by people who were gunning for each other's head till then, and the internal dichotomies only pulled it further away from the semblance of a sensible government. Openly held biases against India did not help in ensuring any support from across the border. Nor did acquiescing to propaganda on the Tibetan-origin minister on a foisted case of dual citizenship. And any day, a fractious Maoist front is better for India than a front united against a common evil. Hoping for the Prachanda faction to bat for Sher Bahadur Deuba. If Dr. Bhattarai emerges as the Maoist candidate, the Prachanda faction is on a sticky lose-lose wicket with the only person gleeful in this melee being Shri. Rakesh Sood, who is still parked outside Singha Darbar, despite many emotional and planted stories of pull-back.
2)

A high-level Chinese delegation led by Zhou Yongkang, a standing committee member of the Communist Party of China and special envoy of Chinese President, arrived in Kathmandu for a three-day visit Tuesday afternoon.

Wiki claims that Zhou is the ninth ranked leader in the CCP Most wanted list and claims that Wikileaks portrayed him as ordering the intrusions into Google network.

According to sources at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Ministry of Finance, the proposed agreements to be signed between Nepal and China include Chinese assistance on strengthening Nepal’s security agencies, construction of a transmission line for the Upper Trishuli ‘A’ hydropower project and an increment in annual Chinese assistance to Nepal.
...
The first one worth Rs 100 million (10 million RMB) would be on strengthening the capacity of Nepali security agencies and civil officials. On July 27, Wang Chaun Qi, the head of International Cooperation, Ministry of Public Security Affairs of China, announced the aid during talks with his counterpart Sudhir Shah, the Joint Secretary at the Home Ministry. Of the Rs 100 million offer, Rs 40 million will be spent on training, workshop, language training (Chinese and Tibetan) for Nepali security and civil officials while the rest will be spent on upgrading the infrastructure of the security agencies.

Basically, China is providing money to Nepal to ensure that no pro-Tibetan protests are raised inside Nepal. So we will see more Tibetan arrests and deportations to China. In short, China is doing what the US was/is doing to counter narco-trade in Mexico, Colombia, Peru and elsewhere. The problem with this paying the bogeyman approach is that the initiative lies with the host country and game theoretically speaking, it is a losing strategy for the major power in the bargain. No wonder that India cannot football either Sri Lanka or Nepal or Bangladesh when push comes to shove. Nor can China football Nepal, but it can make it seem like it does. SAAG adds:

For the first time, the representative of the Dalai Lama who has had his office all the years undisturbed was abruptly arrested and detained for many hours. The reason was said to be that he had an “informal meet” with the press! This is what one can expect when the portfolios of both home and health are held by the Maoists and with a weak prime minister who has no control over them!


In the second proposal, the Chinese side will provide a soft loan of 175 million RMB through the EXIM Bank of China for construction of the a 48-km-long transmission line for the Upper Trishuli ‘A’ hydropower project. China has already given Rs 7 billion in soft loan for power generation. Another agreement will include a government-to-government soft loan and project agreement on the construction of a 48-km transmission line through the project site to Mathatirtha substation, according to officials. As agreed during the visit of former PM Madhav Kumar Nepal to China in December 2009, the fourth agreement will be an annual increment of Chinese aid to Nepal from 100 million RMB to 150 million RMB.

Elsewhere,

The government will formally request China for US $1.6 billion in loan to construct the much-hyped 750 MW West Seti Hydro Project Limited (WSHPL). The development follows Chinese assurances to provide assistance should the government formally request so, government sources said.

3) Nitish Kumar's whine: He has not been allowed to visit Nepal. Permission denied by GoI.
4) From somewhere:

There are two facets of the Maoists internal conflict, one is the disagreement over whether to go for peace/constitution or revolt. The other is the party’’s standpoint vis-à-vis India.

The Kiran Baidya faction believes there is no alternative to revolt, a fight for national independency against Indian hegemony. The Baburam Bhattarai faction favours peace and constitution and believes Nepal’’s unequal relations with India have to be sorted out diplomatically, instead of irritating India now. Pushpa Kamal Dahal’’s stance on the issue of peace and constitution is similar to that of Bhattarai but it varies on India, where his line is closer to Baidya’’s. The strategy of this faction is to bring together all anti-Indian political forces, and the Khanal-led coalition was conceived as preliminary model.

If it is to avoid a split, the Maoist party now has three alternatives:
First: compromise saying the party split will not benefit anyone
Second: collate opinion of their cadres on three separate political documents, which they adopted in 2004/05
Third: call a national convention

If none of the above work, the Maoists will split. This is nothing new in the Nepali communist movement, but the Maoists remained undivided despite differences over the years. If
the Maoists internal disputes are not resolved, this will not only affect the peace process but also have political impact on the national level.

Lets hope that the Maoists split.
5) Eighteen allegations made against UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal by the party Vice Chairman Mohan Baidhya:

1. Superficial in philosophy.
2. Centrist and opportunist, leaning towards right-wing revisionism. Although the party’s main struggle was aimed at the Indian expansionism, under his leadership, the party has done just the opposite.
3. Ignored the slogan of national sovereignty.
4. Collaborated with Indian expansionists and their lackeys.
5. Prioritised peace and constitution over people’s revolt as the main strategy.
6. Although agreement was on People’s Federal Republic, he is leaning towards Democratic Republic.
7. Abandoned the original idea of autonomous ethnic states in favour of a centralized and unitary governance system.
8. Limited the idea of proportional representation of women, marginalised ethnicities, Dalits and the Madhesis at all levels of the state, to paper.
9. Supported a judicial system unendorsed by people’s representatives.
10. Made it easy for the foreigners to obtain naturalised citizenship when encroachment from the open border is rising.
11. Scrapped the party’s transitional period provisions on the reappointment of the president, cabinet, officials of the constitutional bodies and the judges of the supreme court.
12. Emptied the cantonments in the name of regrouping and disarmed the PLA.
13. Promoted foreign investment, multinationals and lackeys of capitalists by bringing Electricity Act, Real Estate Act, and declaring Special Economic Zones instead of encouraging national agrobased and industrial economy.
14. Promoted Indian investment in Arun III and Upper Tamakoshi hydropower projects.
15. Curtailed the party’s relationship with international community and emphasized relationship with the class enemy and the Indian secret service agency.
16. Encouraged personality cult, suppressed dissent, and showed fascist tendency by physically attacking dissenters.
17. Involved in corruption and gross misuse of the party resources and failed to maintain financial transparency.

I could nt find the 18th allegation :).

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