There is very little substance in Nepali politics. It is all about power, and even what looks like rigid and principled posturing at times is absolutely for power, if not for absolute power. Every so called big party or group including the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists, Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist and Madhes Front has one agenda---to get to the power. And in the process, each one of them exaggerates their strength. But what one has witnessed in the past six years is: at the end Maoists wins. Will it be different this time around?
The UCPN-M that heads the coalition government has now been fulminating and gesticulating against President Ram Baran Yadav and two major parties –the NC and the UML—saying they are conspiring to oust the government from power. This harsh allegation, if one goes by the trend, is only labeled for hard political bargain by the Maoists. If the NC and the UML continue to take a tough stance for some more days, the tone and tenor of the Maoists will change , and instead, they will say ‘we will demonstrate utmost flexibility to save the peace and the constitution making process’. And if going for a vote on account or partial budget will save the current government, Maoists will be content with that.
President Ram Baran Yadav has time and again said that he will not approve the full budget ordinance if the government brought it without the support of four major political parties. He has also told Prime Minister Bhattarai that November 21—the day Bhattarai promised to hold election for the next Constituent assembly—should be his last day in the office. Political morality and ethics are almost alien to Bhattarai, and therefore, it is doubtful if he will listen to the president.
In the Past six years, Maoists have gained politically through deceit, and through the policy of surrender that the Congress and the UML have adopted. It has accurately assessed the weakness and greed of the leaders of these two parties. Prachanda could get Nepali Congress to adopt a pro-republic line by promising the President’s office to G P Koirala. But with G P agreeing to unconstitutionally remove the monarch in May 2008, he was left with a humiliating option to join the contest with Ramraja Prasad Singh, something G P K could not venture.
NC again lost to Maoists game when the latter moved to extend the tenure of the constituent assembly in November 2011. The divided NC ultimately gave in, and the House term was extended again until May 2012 although it died a sad death without being able to deliver the constitution. But the politics of deceit that the Maoists played after that has annoyed a major section of the international community, mainly the European Union and the United States, with their clearly doubting the Maoists sincerity to complete the peace and the constitution making process. In the current phase, the international community that clear stand in favour of the Maoist led government include India and the Scandinavian countries, mainly Norway and Denmark.
It is believed that the EU , as a crucial stake holder in Nepal’s peace and reconstruction process, has been assessing the mood of other international players including neighboring countries on the next political course that Nepal should follow in order to stop it from being a failed state. Maoists, no doubt command the support of India, but it is in absolute minority. This is a clear sign that Delhi, the mediator in the 12 point understanding, the basis of the Maoists and the other seven political parties of Nepal working together, is no more acceptable as a ‘Lead player’ as far as the international community is concerned. Moreover, it is isolated, and its days of almost decisive influence in Nepal , are over. The reason is simple: Its assessment of the post 2006 policy has gone wrong, and alienated the Nepalese people , not only in Kathmandu and the hills, but also in Terai , a fact that India has not yet acknowledged and tried to rectify.
With the failure of the Maoist Party to push through the budget and hold election in time, it will be seen more like an anti-democratic Party. Its anti=democratic credential and likely climb down will however, not mean automatic victory of the NC and the UML as they have made many compromises in the past, and blindly followed the Maoists policy. Unless the NC and the UML review the policy and programs they have followed in the past six years including on Monarchy , secularism and Federalism in the manner they did, and made necessary correction, Nepalese people will continue to treat them as the extended family of the Maoists. It requires enough guts and character, but politics is not always about betraying people and pushing the nation into bigger vacuum.