Maoist chief Prachanda’s political document, now ready for debate in the party’s national convention two weeks hence, says the party is committed to establishing the “dictatorship of the proletariat”. The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M), which broke away from the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) last June, said recently that it would launch a people’s revolt for the “revolution” the two groups had earlier fought for.
The CPN-M, however, gave a mixed message. While it can start an armed revolution when it feels necessary, it would also want its general secretary, Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal, to be the prime minister in the prevailing confusion and “neo-revisionary” set-up. The CPN-M says it will not be registered with the election commission as it does not want to be branded a parliamentary party, and wants to keep its association with international revolutionary groups intact.
But more than the CPN-M, it’s the UCPN-M that has sent across a loaded message at home and abroad, thoroughly disappointing the international community that supported and encouraged the Maoists’ entry into mainstream politics in 2006. Is Nepal’s peace process, and the collective pledge by political parties — including the Maoists — to “consolidate” and “institutionalise” democracy, over?
The Maoists have often assured the international revolutionary fraternity they have not compromised on any of their core principles, that their joining the peace process was only tactical and that their final objective remains unchanged. Prachanda’s latest political document only endorses that. Although the party has suffered a split and is still not free of personal squabbles, Prachanda’s acceptability to both rivals — PM Baburam Bhattrai who heads the UCPN-M’s government and Mohan Baidya who heads the militant CPN-M opposition — remains intact. There are some who believe the Maoist split was as tactical as their joining the peace process.
Most political parties, including the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), are now apprehensive that the Maoists are moving smoothly towards capturing state power. Some of them believe that even the split in the UCPN-M in June, and the splinter group’s openly radical posturing, is part of the game — to have one group in power and another in the street as the main opposition. Any other party will need to align with either the one in power or the one in opposition.
Apparently, Nepal’s key parties and the international community feel they have been fooled. The EU and the US seem to be looking for a corrective course, while India is making efforts to distance itself from the failure of the Maoists and other parties in delivering the constitution.
Shyam Saran, India’s foreign secretary when it brokered the deal between Nepal’s political parties and the Maoists in November 2005, recently told a Kathmandu daily: “...there is a misunderstanding that I or any part of the government of India played a major role in forging the 12-point understanding. We played a role in facilitating it, but the agreement was very much arrived at through the efforts of the political parties and the [Maoists]”. The clarification comes at a time when India is invariably getting linked with the chaos in Nepal following the failure of the post-monarchy politics. Saran’s clarification came exactly a week after External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said in Amritsar that India would expect the Nepali people to bring peace and stability in Nepal. That was a message weighed with frustration at the uncertainty major parties and Maoists have brought to Nepal.
Meanwhile, the Maoists are withdrawing almost all major human rights cases against their leaders and cadres even as their PM refuses to quit. President Ram Baran Yadav is discovering the limits to taming a PM in the absence of legislative accountability and a constitution. The opposition regrets its unconditional support to the Maoist agenda in the past, but is reluctant to review its position. Their support to the Maoists in dismantling every institution of state without creating alternatives is now an issue raised by the people.
(Courtesy: Indian Express)