POLITICS The Money Power

With the sixth round of voting to elect a new prime minister round the corner money threatens to play a decisively dominant role to influence the outcome<BR>&nbsp;<br>SAROJ DAHAL

Sept. 3, 2010, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.: 4 No.-07 September 3-16, 2010 (Bhadra 18, 2067)
As he began meeting the leaders of the political parties to persuade them for a consensus to end the present political deadlock, president Ram Baran Yadav came across a shocking disclosure last seek.

A leader of Madhesi outfit sipped the warm tea and spilled a hot disclosure: he was offered 50 million rupees to in return of the party’s vote for the Maoist prime ministerial candidate Prachanda. Another echoed the claim. “I had also been approached with the offer of money.”According to them, three Maoist politburo members had camped at a hotel near the CA premises to negotiate the vote for money.
 
The Maoists have subsequently denied allegations of bribing the CA members into voting for Prachanda.

But sources say, the ‘business’ is still on. According to a top Maoist leader, “a result is not ruled out in the sixth round due to be held next Monday.”

After nearly pulling off a coup of sorts in the third round, the Maoists have not given up hope yet. 

They continue to fix their eyes on the Madhesi parties combine which has 82 CA members. 

Even without the vote of the “neutral” UML, the Maoists can ride back to power on the shoulder of the Madhesi outfits.

That is advantage Maoist. 
 

Nepali Congress is not foreign to buying votes for the chair. It had excelled in the game during the hung parliament 10 years ago.

Given the opportunity, it would not let it go.

But, right now, it is at disadvantage.

Nepali Congress whose candidate Ram Chandra Poudel must get the adamant UML also on its side to take a real shot at the prime minister’s chair.

So, obviously the game is open for the Maoists only.

External forces, read India, have been blamed for preventing Prachanda’s victory by helping keep the Madhesi outfits out of the Maoist fold.

But with big money proving too tempting one does not rule out the situation going out of the ‘remote’ control.

With Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Nepal led by Upendra Yadav already disposed favorably towards it, the Maoist party is now seeking to net Yadav’s rival Forum (Loktantrik) led by Bijaya Gachhedar. And the latter is not averse to the idea of joining the Maoist bandwagon, notwithstanding his public postures, said a top source privy to covert negotiations.

The combined votes of the two Forums will put the Maoists in a comfortable position (292) to lure a couple of small parties into voting for Prachanda for the magic number of 301.

Maoist sources the New Spotlight spoke to seemed pretty confident of making it -- this time.

Their source of confidence – sheer money power.

The Maoists are believed to have offered Upendra Yadav and Bijya Gachhadar deputy prime ministerships with foreign and home portfolios respectively.

The two Madhesi leaders are however in dispute over who should be the senior deputy PM.

Sources said,  the third target is the vice chairman of the Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party, Hridayesh Tripathi, who has been offered the third deputy prime ministership, with, understandably, the commerce and supplies portfolio.

There is one uncertainty, though. The Madhesi outfits’ suspicion. They fear that they might be kicked out of the government once Prachanda rides back to power. They suspect that the Maoist party will then take the UML into its fold making the Madeshi outfit a disposable unit.

But the floor-crossing by some of the Forum MPs in the third round of voting has indicated that anything can happen under the heavy weight of money.

Where does such a huge amount of money come from remains a mystery? The mystery money however threatens to become decisively dominant in the “New Nepal” of 27 million sovereign Nepalese people.

Nepali Congress is not foreign to buying votes for the chair. It had excelled in the game during the hung parliament 10 years ago.

Given the opportunity, it would not let it go.

But, right now, it is at disadvantage.

Nepali Congress whose candidate Ram Chandra Poudel must get the adamant UML also on its side to take a real shot at the prime minister’s chair.

So, obviously the game is open for the Maoists only.

External forces, read India, have been blamed for preventing Prachanda’s victory by helping keep the Madhesi outfits out of the Maoist fold.

But with big money proving too tempting one does not rule out the situation going out of the ‘remote’ control.

With Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Nepal led by Upendra Yadav already disposed favorably towards it, the Maoist party is now seeking to net Yadav’s rival Forum (Loktantrik) led by Bijaya Gachhedar. And the latter is not averse to the idea of joining the Maoist bandwagon, notwithstanding his public postures, said a top source privy to covert negotiations.

The combined votes of the two Forums will put the Maoists in a comfortable position (292) to lure a couple of small parties into voting for Prachanda for the magic number of 301.

Maoist sources the New Spotlight spoke to seemed pretty confident of making it -- this time.

Their source of confidence – sheer money power.

The Maoists are believed to have offered Upendra Yadav and Bijya Gachhadar deputy prime ministerships with foreign and home portfolios respectively.

The two Madhesi leaders are however in dispute over who should be the senior deputy PM.

Sources said,  the third target is the vice chairman of the Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party, Hridayesh Tripathi, who has been offered the third deputy prime ministership, with, understandably, the commerce and supplies portfolio.

There is one uncertainty, though. The Madhesi outfits’ suspicion. They fear that they might be kicked out of the government once Prachanda rides back to power. They suspect that the Maoist party will then take the UML into its fold making the Madeshi outfit a disposable unit.

But the floor-crossing by some of the Forum MPs in the third round of voting has indicated that anything can happen under the heavy weight of money.

Where does such a huge amount of money come from remains a mystery? The mystery money however threatens to become decisively dominant in the “New Nepal” of 27 million sovereign Nepalese people.

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