Monday, May 30, 2005

A King Who Wishes He Were A Politician

This is a classic test of strength. This king has laid grounds for a head-on collision.
  • Monarchists Vs The Rest
  • Autocracy Vs Democracy
  • Article 127 Vs Constituent Assembly
Revising textbooks? The king needs the three years he has asked for to reintroduce the Gyanendra version of the Panchayat. Reportedly Mahendra also asked for six years. He ended up getting 30. Reportedly Hitler is on record saying the masses have a short memory. You tell them now they will get democracy in three years. Three years later, you refuse to deliver, and the masses will not remember the promise. Events will have taken over.

This king will not compromise. He instead will be pushed out.

The guy wishes he were a politician. But he does not want to contest elections himself. Like someone who wants to be a writer, but does not want to write.

Is he more capable than the politicians in the country? That question would arise if he were to abdicate his throne and get into the mud of the electoral fray. Right now it is not a question of competence, it is a question of legitimacy.

But he fails also on the issue of competence. Measured in terms of the number of lives lost, ever since his activist monarchy got under way, Nepal has seen a rapid escalation of the insurgency.

When you are only one step away from a position of power - "we talked about everything," as he likes to say about his elder Birendra - it is tempting to think you can do it better. After having engineered a near total external isolation, this genius of a king has now magically given a common minimum program to the democrats and the Maoists, and is headed for a near total internal isolation as well.

He seems to think there is a buffer. That he will repress to the fullest so as to smother the movement. But if push comes to shove, he will compromise with the parties. It is a gamble where he either gains a lot, or loses nothing. That is not how things stand. The gamble instead is that he stands to lose everything.

He does not realise that. Not yet. He never might.

I guess monsoon might give the king a reprieve of three months. But then things stand to snowball. I would think this regime should not see winter.

In The News
  • Nepal king rules out early power handover:- Webindia123, India Gyanendra has ruled out early handover of power to the political parties or immediate restoration of the dissolved lower house of parliament....... the monarch Sunday called the editors of 16 Nepalese weeklies, regarded as being pro-palace, to the Narayanhity royal palace to covey his views..... the king said he had sacked Deuba and taken over the government on Feb 1 to "put an end to the Maoist terrorism, establish peace and conduct parliamentary elections to hand over power to elected representatives of people"...... "I cannot rest till I accomplish all this" .... "It was done constitutionally, on the recommendation of the prime minister, and the Supreme Court upheld the action," the king reportedly told the editors. "As the custodian of the constitution, I cannot go against its provisions. There is no parliamentary provision to revive the house." .......
  • Arm-twisting Nepal Nepali Times, Nepal The parties together have the means to land a few thousand banner-waving cadres at Asan Chok, but they know the public mood is still skeptical. The party jatras are a joke for most people, others just fume at the government’s incompetence to keep the traffic moving....... The EU sahibs have to answer this: would your voters tolerate such corruptible leaders in your own union? ..... Nepal’s foreign friends must know how condescending they sound lecturing to us on democracy. We know and value democracy, and at present the public opinion is to let the political party leaders that squandered democratic gains to wilt in the wilderness where they can do no more harm........ If Nepal is seen as drifting increasingly northward, it is only because of the tectonic push from south of the border.
  • Nepalese king defends take-over as politicians vow to restore ... Financial "In keeping with the popular will as well as the nation's demands, we were compelled to take the decision," the king said in a televised speech at state-run Tribhuvan University. "This decision was taken in the interest of the nation, people and democracy and the understanding displayed by all those who have faith in democracy and love the motherland is appreciable indeed," ...... Nepal's seven main political parties vowed to wage a fight to the finish to restore democracy...... The Maoists have thrown their backing behind the parties' pro-democracy campaign. But the parties are insisting the rebels lay down arms before agreeing to work with them. ...... "We wish to see political parties becoming popular and effective, engaging in the exercise of a mature multi-party democracy dedicated to the welfare of th nation and people and to peace and good governance, in accordance with the people's aspirations," he said.
  • Nepal King vows to activate elected bodies in 3 years Hindu, India ..... Gyanendra on Friday pledged to activate all elected bodies within a three-year time frame...... he said a favourable atmosphere had been created in the country to hold municipality elections .... the gradually improving peace and security situation ...... King also hinted that he was ready for dialogue with political parties ...... "We have constantly held discussions with everyone and in the interest of the nation, people and democracy and we will continue to do so in future also"
  • Chaos, quite Himalayan Indian Express, India ...... The Left parties have been particularly vocal about the undesirability of India resuming the supply of military aid to the kingdom..... India should be working towards persuading the king to revive democratic activity in Nepal through the restoration of the constituent assembly.
  • Gyanendra pledges to activate all elected bodies in 3 years Zee News, India .....
  • Some Words On ABCs Of Nepali Journalism United We Blog Let me again talk about Nepali journalism. There is no freedom of expression here. Media are censored, indirectly. Most of them are forced to self censor. So, at a time when A and C are under threat, B becomes totally irrelevant..... I am for democracy and cannot promote autocracy. If I have to do so, I would rather leave journalism and go to the streets shouting slogans.
  • State-Friendly Textbooks And Other Versions Of Truth United We Blog Intimidation, torture and killing are not sufficient to control people. Dictators try to impose, by hook or crook, their own brand of truth on people to legitimize their rule....... the self-appointed guardians of nationalism in Nepal are up to is introduce new school-textbooks, by means of which they will create their own version of truth ..... They plan to turn the students into mental slaves rather than freethinkers...... the ‘state-friendly’ education will unnecessarily teach students to extol the unwanted virtues of one particular family and caste ..... pictures of King, Queen, Crown Prince and Crown Princess in these new textbooks. It will spread the regime’s ideology ...... government is coming up with personality-oriented books ...... The chapters on multi-party democracy and its fighters, it is expected, will be removed. Autocratic Panchayet system will again be termed as a system suitable for Nepali environment. In fact, authorities have already issued verbal orders not to teach some chapters of books like social science that deal with Panchayat system. And, students will be taught the lesson of ‘one language, one nation’........ King needs three years not to bring the country back to normalcy, but dismantle all the democratic structures ...... will lead to the absence of independent imagination, vibrancy and pluralism in the society
  • Reading Between The Lines Of Royal Decisions United We Blog Chairman Khatri, in front of the whole world, shamelessly interrupted Member Sushil Pyakural in Geneva meeting recently when Pyakural was talking about HR violations after Feb 1...... Gokul Pokhrel.. former editor of state-owned daily Gorkhapatra, is the only person in Nepal who expressed negatively of the royal takeover in English language and strongly advocated the same in Nepali language...... Dr Ram Dayal Rakesh? ..... Ian Martin, the UN guy, needs to work hard. Nepalis can’t trust this Commission for their rights....... why Narahari Acharya and Ram Chandra Paudel are not released? Just because they presented different views regarding monarchy in Nepal even before Feb 1? Acharya talked about major restructuring of governance and direct election of the PM. Paudel once talked about Nirmal Niwas and Maoists in the same sentence.
  • Nepal Parties Show Their Strength In Kathmandu United We Blog ..... today’s
    seven rallies (originating from different locations and later merged into
    the unified mass meeting) .... Filled mostly with active cadres of the seven
    agitating parties, the mass meeting was addressed by top leaders of the
    political forces. Organizers previously claimed to gather around 30 thousand people in New Baneshwor. But independent estimates put the number somewhere around 13 thousands....... “this is just a beginning of Jana Andolan” ..... While central level leaders were giving long and somewhat tiresome (especially by CP Mainali) speeches, traffic at the main road of New Baneshwor was smooth and busy. General public seemed to be giving less or no attention to the mass meeting. I was amazed. ..... Girija Prasad Koirala, Nepali Congress President and the main attraction of the gathering, told that the King “is trying to build the network of tyranny inside a dark room ...... “The king orchestrated the naked dance of autocracy on Feb 1,” Koirala
    told the mass. “There were so many kings in the world,” 83 year old leader said, “but because of doing these kinds of things they disappeared from history.”CPN UML leader Jhalanath Khanal challenged the royal regime to come up
    with facts for a debate about democratic era of the 90s. “The Panchayati autocrats build just 6 thousand KMs of road in 30 year,” he said, “but we build 16 thousand road in just over a decade.” He also said that the only 10 percent population had access to electricity in Panchayat period. “Now, its 40 percent. Literacy rate was 10 percent in Panchayat kaal and now its 50 percent.” He also invited the Maoists to give up violence and join the seven party agitation. “You are talking about Constituent Assembly,” he said, “and we are also talking about the same these days. So, lets join our hands together. Give up violence.” ....... no experiments from king would be acceptable to parties now onwards ..... He warned the regime not to play with a cat in a locked room. “That will kill you.” ..... ......
  • Jana Andolan 2062 Photos
  • Nothing Improved In 100 Days by Dr Pramod Aryal United We Blog With a vast swathe of the country under Maoist influence and the half of the security apparatus deployed to protect the palace from untoward situations, any governance outside of Kathmandu and district headquarters has been crippled. His desire to reign and rule like a medieval absolute monarch has made him not the King, but the mayor of greater Kathmandu. The daunting task for Nepalese is to first bring the “Monarchy” under the law and then resolve the Maoist problem....... contrary to the understanding King Tribhuvan ruled through interim constitutions and put military under his command ..... in 1980 when King Birendra did not institute promised reforms in the Panchayat after the referendum ...... now onward, resolving any contentious political issues should be by empowering people rather than pseudo reconciliation. ....... Maoists had assured, in writing, acceptance of the preamble of the Constitution of 1991 if the army will be either directly under control of the civilian government or parliament........ the statement by Prachanda to support the movement as much as possible should be taken into consideration as an indication of readiness for a negotiated settlement with the parties ...... the Kings henchmen who decry the political parties may, to justify a brutal crushing of the movement, use this to infiltrate peaceful demonstrations to instigate violence and cause a bloodbath. The situation is so explosive that if an amicable solution is not found right now, several institutions, including monarchy could be dismantled....... a progressive constitution, drafted and promulgated by constituent assembly, clearly explaining the rights of Dalits, Janjatis, minorities, and different nationalities, and devolving political-economic power from the center to the grassroots will address the political concerns of all protagonists and prevent Nepal from exploding.
  • Ramesh, Rukum And Red Songs United We Blog I was in Rukum, West Nepal, from May 14 to 23, 2005. I was there with security forces in district headquarter and Maoists’ in most of the villages..... When I was in villages I heard more ‘Janawadi Song’s. ‘We’re Red Men, We’re Peoples’ men….( Hami Rata Manchhe, Janataka Manchhe) aired by Maoists’ Special Region Program (94 FM). ......
  • How About Nepali Cinema And Clinton's Dog? United We Blog “Nepali cinema and Saddam Hussein” or “The Role of George W Bush in Neapli cinema” or “Historical Importance of Mahatma Gandhi in Nepali Cinema” or “Contribution of Stephen Hawking in Nepali Cinema” or “Nepali Cinema and Pulitzer (not Academy, remember) Prize"...... “Nepali Cinema and Buddy.” ..... royalists in Nepal want us to do such weird things...... “The Role of Monarchy in the Development of Nepali Film". “The Development of Nepali Film and Monarchy on the Background of Human Civilization and Film"...... The final version of the schedule will be released “soon” after the palace approval. “Queen will be inagurating the show,” Thapa told me....... Nepali Chalchitra Ko Bikash Ma Rajsanstha Ko Bhumika..... Manab Savyata Ra Chalchitra Ko Pristhabhumi Ma Nepali Chalchitra Ko Bikash Ra Raj Sanstha....... a painting competition on the theme: Neapali Film and Monarchy"......
  • NEPAL: Donor agencies justify aid suspension Reuters AlertNet, UK Despite declarations by Maoist leaders that aid projects and staff would not be harmed as long as they didn't carry any political bias, the Maoists have not been able to live up to their promises....... a certain level of fear among the development community as to whether the Maoist leaders are able to control their junior cadres, especially the more militant members ....... RCIW has so far remained highly transparent in both financial dealings and programme activities, which are the main reasons why the Maoist leaders have welcomed and even cooperated with organisations working with such model projects...
  • SOUTH ASIA: Maoist Overture to Enter Nepal's Mainstream Politics? Inter Press Service (subscription), World Nepal's Maoists have the sympathy of India's communist parties which, after the last elections in May, emerged stronger than ever before and are influential for the fact that they lend critical outside support to the Congress-led, United Progressive Alliance ruling coalition........ Karat carefully denied the role of Indian security agencies but steered away from categorically denying any rendezvous with Bhattarai...... Bhattarai and Karat needed no help from Indian security agencies if they wanted to meet each other since they were both students together at Jawaharlal Nehru University during the 1970s. ''No solution to Nepal's problems is possible without taking the Maoists on board although unfortunately the fact remains that official India, especially the External Affairs Ministry has refused to touch them with a barge pole'' ...... Bhattarai, who advocates better coordination between the Maoists and mainstream Nepalese political parties in order to isolate the king....... ''The fear that Nepal's political parties could forge an alliance with the Maoists was a restraining factor with the hawks in the New Delhi-Washington-London axis'' ........ Said Roka: ''The reality is that stability in Nepal now depends on the twin pillars of multi-party democracy and the mainstreaming of the Maoists.''
  • Delhi flays Nepal Maoists; Karat denies secret meeting Peninsula On-line Prakash Karat, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) general secretary, also denied meeting Nepalese Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai, whom he has known since his days at the Jawaharlal Nehru University here.
  • Karat did meet Nepal Maoists, admits party Hindustan Times, India A secret meeting between CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat and top Maoist leaders of Nepal did take place in the second week of this month, according to CPI-M central committee leaders ..... Karat told the Maoists to give up violence and join the political mainstream ...... Prachand said the objective of the meetings was to gauge India’s stand if the CPN(Maoist) were to accept a multi-party system as a political solution to the ongoing civil war in Nepal, and agreed to work with other political parties in a constituent assembly....... Karat, a friend of Bhattarai during their days in JNU ...... Prachand said, "Taking constituent assembly as the means of minimum political solution, the party is maintaining relations with different political parties and forces not only within the country but of the world including India, Europe and US." .......
  • Nepal King at receiving end Times of India
  • Nepal’s Polity at The Crossroads Navhind Times, India The King’s initial plans to play one big power against the other, in a typical Cold War fashion, failed to yield any greater mileage to him...... By March, it became clear to the powers in Kathmandu that Islamabad would not like to get involved in the developments in Nepal, as Washington disapproved of them. Also, King Gyanendra’s plans to divide the Maoists, too has not met with any success. According to the UN Human Rights Commission, the Maoist ranks are swelling. In the past three months, approximately 3,000 new cadres have joined........ a qualitative change in the country’s polity is imminent. ...... the RNA is unhappy with King Gyanendra since he assumed the throne. The King is frequently asking the Army to restore normalcy in the Kingdom, than at any time in the past. In addition, the disapproval of the King’s actions by India and Britain have their own repercussions on the RNA. The soldiers, popularly knows as Gorkhas, serve in the Indian and British armies; and over the years both the countries have developed pockets of influence in the RNA. In this situation, Indian and British actions of the past few months are creating new uncertainties........ it has only one-month’s supply. Therefore, the question of the King achieving a decisive victory over Maoists without military aid from external powers seems highly unlikely........ second scenario could be the RNA staging a palace coup and capturing power ..... during his two-and-half year’s rule King Gyanendra proved to be a not so competent a ruler. He alienated both the political parties and the common man. With the result, he has to permanently depend on the RNA to retain his power. Reports from Kathmandu also show that due to the King’s actions the predominant role of the RNA in Nepal’s polity is slowly being eroded.......... third scenario could be the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) managing to overthrow the monarchy and Parliament and coming to power....... the Maoists are successful in running a parallel government in areas where their influence is substantial. With the Nepali middle class reportedly sympathizing with the Maoists, the latter’s clout is increasing in Nepal’s polity....... In conservative Nepal, the prospects of a revolution are rather bleak...... Gyanendra may go back to status quo ante. He may re-introduce the multi-party system ....... One need not be surprised if the role of monarchy is further eroded in the coming months.......

Reorganized UN, Proposed Constitution, Methods

Reorganize The United Nations For Globalization
  1. Abolish the veto.
  2. Every member country pays 1% of its federal budget to the UN as a precondition for membership.
  3. The General Assembly is reorganized along a House/Senate arrangement where, in the upper house, all member countries have a vote each, whereas in the lower house, a country's weight is directly proportional to its population.
  4. The Secretary General is elected directly by the two chambers. Any member country may nominate a person, but such a nomination is to be seconded by enough member countries so as to garner at least 20% of the votes in both the chambers. An election is held if there be more than one nominee. Only the top two remain for the third round, and a run-off is held until the top contender gets at least 50% of the votes in both the houses.
  5. The World Bank, the IMF, and the WTO are brought under the U.N. Their heads are to be part of the Secretary General's cabinet.

Proposed Constitution

  1. Nepal is a federal republic, a total, transparent democracy, with the sovereignty resting firmly with the Nepali people.
Article 1: The Legislative Branch
  1. There is to be a lower house, the Pratinidhi Sabha, with 180 members, 60 per state, and a upper house, the Rajya Sabha, with 60 members, 20 per state, all of whom are to be directly elected through constituencies demarcated such that the largest has a population not more than 5% of the smallest, geographically in close approximation to a circle or a square, and protected from partisan gerrymandering by an autonomous Election Commission. The constituencies need not respect district boundaries. Three constituencies for the Pratinidhi Sabha will make one for the Rajya Sabha. The entire Sabha is dissolved en masse when its term nears expiration.
  2. All matters of national importance are to be decided by the national parliament through a majority vote, unless otherwise stated. Parliamentary procedures are to be laid out or revised with a 60% vote margin.
  3. The legislatures are to elect their Speakers and Deputy Speakers. The legislatures shall assemble at least once every four months, and as often as necessary.
  4. No parliamentarian may be arrested while the parliament might be in session except for felony charges. Their speech in parliament is protected from any and all oversight, legal and otherwise.
  5. A simple majority of the parliament will pass the budget. All budget proposals must originate in the Pratinidhi Sabha.
  6. All bills must be posted online in three languages - Nepali, Hindi and English - for at least one week before they may be voted upon.
  7. All regional and international treaties that Nepal might enter into will have to pass a 60% majority in the parliament.
  8. Political parties may not engage in fund-raising activities. Instead each national party, described as those that garnered at least 5% of the votes in the previous nationwide elections, will get an annual sum that will be directly proportional to the number of votes it earned. That money is to be used for party-building and electioneering activities. Details of expenses are to be posted online in the three languages to the last paisa on at least an annual basis. The Election Commission holds secret ballot elections for party leadership for each national party.
  9. Every person on the state's payroll - elected officials, bureaucrats, justices, police, army personnel - is to submit a Family Property Statement, to be posted online and archived and updated annually. Upon exiting the public sector, they may discontinue the practice, but the archives will remain, and the updates will resume should the individuals re-enter public service.
  10. Details of all expenses incurred by the state, to the last paisa, are to be posted online in the three languages. All contracts offered by the state to the private sector are to be bid for in a similar transparent manner from beginning to the end. All job applications and promotions in the public sector are to be similarly handled in a transparent manner.
  11. All formal political deliberations at all levels of government are to be posted online in as real time as possible in the language that was used at the venue. Efforts are to be made to make the same available in Nepali, Hindi and English. All votes are to be similarly made public.
  12. Every elected official at all levels of government is to get a decent monthly salary.
  13. Anyone above the age of 16 is a legible voter. Members of the Pratinidhi Sabha will have to be at least 23 years of age, and that of the Rajya Sabha at least 25 years of age. The terms of members of the two bodies shall last four and six years respectively. All elected officials are to have been citizens.
  14. Acts of impeachment require a vote of 65%. This constitution can be amended by the same vote margin.
  15. In the case of a tie in the Pratinidhi or the Rajya Sabha, the Prime Minister's designate gets to break it.
  16. The parliamentarians may not increase their salaries in a way that might affect the members of the existing class. The same applies to the salaries of members of the cabinet.
Article 2: The Executive Branch
  1. The legislative party leader of the majority party in the Pratinidhi Sabha becomes Prime Minister. The Prime Minister may elect members to the Cabinet that might or might not be members of the parliament.
  2. When a majority might be lacking, the largest pre-poll alliance, or the largest single party, whichever might be larger, gets invited to form the government, and is given 30 days to prove majority.
  3. The Prime Minister makes nominations to the Supreme Court and other constitutional bodies like the Election Commission (EC) and the Commission to Control Corruption (CCC) to be confirmed by a 60% vote in the parliament. The commissioners serve 6-year terms.
  4. The army, to be called the Nepal Army, is not to be larger than 0.1% of the national population and is to be downsized accordingly within 5 years of this constitution getting promulgated. The Prime Minister is the Commander-In-Chief of the army.
  5. The central bank is to be autonomous, and the governor, to serve a six-year term, is to be appointed by the Prime Minister.
  6. All appointments made by the Prime Minster, except for his or her personal staff, will need a majority vote in the parliament for confirmation.
Article 3: The Judiciary Branch
  1. The judiciary will reflect the composition of the government, from village/town to district, to state to the national level. Towns and cities with more than 30,000 people will be served with more than one court, the number to be decided through a formula by the state government. There will be a layer between the district and the state levels, the Appeals Court, 10 per state. The system is to be peopled like the civil service, on merit.
  2. The Prime Minister makes nominations to the national Supreme Court. The Chief Minister makes nominations to the State Supreme Court. Both are subject to their respective parliaments for 60% of the vote. Justices to the Supreme Court are to serve to the age of 75 or upto their voluntary retirement.
  3. The state and national Supreme Courts interpret the constitutionality of laws passed by the parliaments when thus challenged, but such interpretations may be overturned by the parliaments through a 65% vote.
  4. The parliament, federal or state, may not diminish the salary of a sitting judge.
Article 4: The States
  1. The current "zones" and "development regions" are to be abolished, but the "districts" are to be retained. The country is to be divided into three states, roughly of equal population, Eastern, Central, and Western, to be called Purbanchal, Madhyamanchal, and Paschimanchal, that are to include all three geographical regions, Terai, Pahad and Himal. Each state is to have a Pratinidhi Sabha, 120 members, and a Rajya Sabha, 40 members.
  2. The districts will have their own governments, forming a third layer, named Zillapalika. It is for each state to design the formation and functioning of its component district and town/city governments. The village units are to be called Grampalika, the town units are to be called Nagarpalika, and the city units Mahanagarpalika, and will form the fourth layer of government. District, town/city and village elected officials are to be at least 21 years of age.
  3. The federal government will directly transfer 10% of its annual budget to the 25 poorest districts measured by per capita income. This does not prevent further federal expenditures on those districts.
  4. The income tax structure is to be as follows: 50% federal, 30% state, 10% district, and 10% village/town/city. The income tax is to be collected by the federal government, and funds transferred by the same to the other levels of government as per this formula.
  5. The education system shall follow a tri-lingual policy up to Class 10, beyond which it is for each individual institution to decide on their own as to the language of instruction. The first language is to be the student's first language, the second language is to be Nepali. For those for whom Nepali might be their first language, the student may choose any language spoken in Nepal. The third language is to be English, the contemporary language of science and commerce. This policy applies to schools in both the private and the public sectors. The language of instruction for all other subjects to Class 10 will be a decision to be made by the individual school boards for the public schools and by the owners of the private schools.
Article 5: The President
    1. Every elected official in the country is to vote for a President who is to serve a five-year term and is to be the guardian of the constitution. A block of at least 30% of the national parliament may make nominations for the candidacy. When there are more than two candidates, the one who gets the most votes wins.
    2. Each state is to similarly elect a Governor.
    3. The parliament may not diminish the salary of a sitting president or governor.
    Article 6: The Individual
    1. The individual is the most important component of the state and is to be protected and celebrated. Every person has a birth right to freedom of speech, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of religion, a right to a speedy, public trial, and a right to privacy, a protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. No person may be tried and punished for the same crime twice. No person will be compelled to testify against themselves. No person will be deprived of life, liberty or propety without due process of law. Private property may not be taken for public use without due compensation. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended. No ex post facto law shall be passed. No warrants are to be issued, except upon probable cause, and should specifically describe the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. A person charged with a crime is to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his or her favor, and is to have the Assistance of Counsel for his or her defence.
    2. Every person born in Nepal is a citizen of Nepal. But this does not prevent people not born in Nepal from seeking Nepali citizenship.
    3. Every person is equal under the law. Any law that might conflict with that fundamental premise will become null and void as soon as this constitution takes effect.
    4. No person shall be taxed more than 40% of their income by all levels of government put together. Those in the bottom 40% income brackets are not to pay any direct taxes.
    5. No business may be taxed more than 25% of its income, and businesses in the bottom 25% income brackets will not pay any taxes. All business expenses are tax write-offs.
    6. The sales tax may not exceed 10%.
    7. Elections at all levels are to be organized on Saturdays.
    8. No citizen of age may be barred from voting for whatever reason.
    9. It is a stated goal of the state to make possible lifelong education for every person in the country through creative partnerships between the private and public sectors. The state shall also attempt to provide universal access to secondary education and primary health care free of cost to all.
    10. The state shall attempt to provide universal access to micro-credit to all in the bottom 40% income brackets.
    11. All persons that might enter into agreements, either in the private or the public sector, to access credit will have the option to declare bankruptcy as a last resort. Money owed by an individual, as opposed to by a business or a corporation, may not be passed on to the next generation. Indentured servitude is an illegal form of collecting money owed by an individual or family. Money owed may not be paid for through manual labor. Any person, group or organization, lending money on interest, the total of which is larger than Rs 20,000, to be indexed to inflation, is to register as a small business owner, and will be subject to taxation and regulation.
    12. All educational institutions, public and private, must have at least 10% of its students on need-based full scholarships. Institutions may also opt to have 5% on such full scholarships, and 10% on need-based half scholarships, or 5% on full, 6% on half, and 6% on one-third scholarships. But at no time should the proportion of full scholarship dip below 5%.
    13. Employees of the state in the education and health sectors will be paid salaries that are at least 10% larger than to those with similar qualifications serving in other fields.
    14. An accurate, scientific census is to be conducted every 10 years, and scientific projections are to be made for the intervening years.
    Article 7: Capitals
    1. Within 10 years of this constitution getting promulgated, the national capital is to be shifted from Kathmandu to the Chitwan valley which will also serve as the capital of Madhyamanchal. Udaypur valley will serve as the capital of Purbanchal, and the Surkhet valley will serve as the capital for Paschimanchal.


    1. Total, Transparent Democracy: All political deliberations are to be posted and archived online as all votes that make decisions when consensus might not be possible, all expenses the same. Political parties are publicly funded based on the principle of one person, one vote.
    2. Non-Violent Militancy: To never resort to violence, but to use words like they were bullets, to use organizational acumen like knives, to use communications technology to the maximum, to use money with utmost efficiency, to always know the importance of message, to make the best use of dialogue and coalitions, and to use the state apparatus to great effect once acquired.

    Prachanda Press Statement

    Prachanda has issued a press statement.
    Some observations I make:
    1. He says he is ultra careful that his party does not become pro-King or pro-India. Okay, so you are for a republic. As for India, it can not be that you are against India as a country. You have active ties with the Maoists in India. So if that is ideological, that is okay? If it is okay for you to have ties across the border along ideological lines, why is it not okay for people of other political persuasions to have the same? Maybe the Nepali Congress is close to the Congress (I), maybe the Sadbhavana is close to the Janata Dal. Maybe they have ideological affinities too. Since when did your ideology become more relevant? But then political links are not all. Every Madhesi I know has family relations in India. Maybe your mother is from India, or your brother or sister got married to an Indian. If you are anti-India in a blanet way, you are trying to split up these families: undoable and laughable. It can not be the India of cultural and religious ties.
    2. If you are a responsible leader of Nepal, you can not be ignorant of the political plight of the Madhesis, part of the DaMaJaMa coalition. The anti-India stick is the one primarily used to foment ethnic prejudice and hatred and discrimination against the Madhesis. I am not saying you are necessarily doing that. But you have to publicly draw the distinction and come out saying you are against the India stick used against the Madhesis. The Madhesis are as much Nepalis as Pahadis. Your ideology seeks Janajati liberation. It must also seek Madhesi liberation. Right?
    3. Which brings me to some legitimate grievances Nepalis should have when it comes to Indian foreign policy. You have to be specific and say what is what. Is it the 1950 treaty that bothers you? Then be specific. Is it the Sugauli treaty? Be specific. I think the only true solution for small countries like Nepal is to come around to this idea of a reorganized United Nations.
    4. When you are not specific, you just play into the hands of the false nationalists.
    5. I am glad you use the word flexibility. It is much in demand.
    6. I am extremely glad you have agreed to the idea of a Constituent Assembly as a common minimum program for all Nepali democrats and our friends, wherever in the world. I don't mean to say this is a new stand for you, and I don't mean to say your line is different or independent from Baburam's. I have always only sought respectful dialogue with the Maoist organization, which means I leave the Maoist inner-party differences to the Maoists, not that I am in any position to get involved even if I wanted to.
    7. I hope you take heed of my last blog entry where I have urged you and your party to do the smart thing on military issues. Let your military thoughts be guided by this one issue alone. Ask yourself, am I helping or hurting the cause of a Constituent Assembly? Military refrain is the way you can best help the cause. And I urge you to do the right thing, the wise thing.
    8. I am extremely glad you have finally decided to move beyond press statements to actual bilateral and multi-lateral dialogues. Better late than never. It is extra important to create and maintain communication channels. It is super important for the democrats and the Maoists to not row the boat in opposite directions.
    9. Hold your gun, let the movement gather momentum.
    10. I am glad your party is thinking in terms of an ideological transformation to fit with the times. Marxists are supposed to be scientists, and scientists are supposed to face facts, and new facts keep emerging. I urge you and Baburam to take a look at these: (1) Nepal Communist Party (Progressive) (2) Shortcut To A New Constitution, Shortcut To Peace

    11. What Mao did in the 1930s is not necessarily the best thing to do today.

    12. Microsoft has an operating system: Windows. There was Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000. The operating system changes. My point being no dogmatic Marxist is a true Marxist. I urge the two of you and the others in your party to take a serious look at the concept of total, transparent democracy. That is surgery with anesthetics. I think it is foolish to insist on conducting surgery without anesthetics when anesthetics are available.
      In The News

      • Baburam Bhattarai: Only Visiting Indian Express ..... Bhattarai or Laldhwaj as he is called by fellow comrades is the man, negotiators hope, who can change the plot by steering the Maoist ship towards mainstream politics without a gun. .....
        this 51-year-old ..... took shape in the famous Left bastion of Jawaharlal Nehru University. Bhattarai spent his crucial years in JNU as a research student under Professor Atiya Habeeb Kidwai of the Centre for Study of Regional Development. He received his PhD in 1986-87....... he was not in the thick of JNU’s political action. He was short, thin, frail, docile and distanced from any distraction to his academic pursuits ....... The 893-page thesis called ‘‘The Nature of Underdevelopment and Regional Structure in Nepal’’ is one of the longest submitted to the Centre. In fact, the original draft was 1,800 pages which was returned by Kidwai to be redone. He calls himself Kidwai’s ‘‘problem child’’ while acknowledging her contribution......... While in Delhi, Bhattarai had a near brush with death. He was hit by a bus while crossing the Outer Ring Road outside Old JNU campus. He went into coma and many of his friends thought they had lost him. He recovered and went on to complete his project........ Though not in the forefront of student politics, he and his wife Hisila Yami spent considerable time with Nepali immigrants in Delhi........ In the northern most mountainous region, he says, it was a direct conflict between man and nature...... In the central hilly region, it was a triangular conflict between the dominant class, nature and the exploited class while in the Southern Terai region it was a straightforward clash between the dominant and the exploited.......

      • The Heavy Price Of Feudal Nostalgia The Guardian King Gyanendra, according to a foreign ministry official, believes that the Indian government, the EU and the US are offering too much support to the country’s democratic parties...... Seven leading political parties agreed earlier this month to oppose the king’s “cruel experiment in outdated tyranny” ...... Both India and the British embassy, speaking on behalf of the EU, welcomed the agreement, observing that it offered a possible basis for a dialogue...... India routinely interferes in Nepal’s affairs. It offers a retreat for Nepali politicians and activists of all stripes when they have to absent themselves from the country; it provides military equipment, training and intelligence to the army in its war against the Maoists; and it supplies occasional shelter to those same Maoists, perhaps with an eye to intelligence. India’s Hindu parties maintain close links with the monarchy, and bilateral treaties give India the power to veto arms supplies from elsewhere, while geography offers it the power to turn off the trade tap at will. Frankly, it’s a little late to complain about interference...... What the king really objects to is not interference per se, but the kind he regards as unhelpful to his plan to let the army rip, without human rights scrutiny, to defenestrate the legitimate political parties ...... When the US flew in a series of “security experts” last year to argue that talks with the Maoists would only bear fruit after the rebels had been given a “bloody nose”, the king raised no objection. Indeed, when a delegation of officers from US Pacific command flew in to give the benefit of their advice to the Royal Nepalese Army, he seemed quite happy. When the US offered special forces training and the UK offered military supplies, the palace was content. But to encourage democratic political parties, he says, is to go too far........ the army and the Maoists are in a military stalemate from which the only exit is via negotiation...... Nepal is paying a heavy price for his refusal to let go of feudal nostalgia.......

      • Interview With US Ambassador Moriarty Nepali Times We welcome the lifting of the state of emergency but obviously things have happened since then to cause people to doubt the seriousness of that action...... I am not trying to defend the king’s actions, we have already said that we are concerned by them....... The parties say some reasonable things to me in private but if you look at what they say in public, well its pretty tough....... this should be the beginning point for talks rather than a bottom line ultimatum ..... The published record of what I say and the private record of what I do all is a recognition that the arrests are unacceptable, that the detainees have got to be released ..... I have been pretty outspoken since February 1st on the matter of curbs on civil liberties. It is just plain dumb. Frankly, they put in the state of emergency much more effectively than they lifted it....... Between 1990 and 2002, life expectancy increased 50 percent, education increased more than that, the network of paved roads trebled, income went up significantly. Frankly, if you had not had this ideological insurgency, you would have seen conditions for an economic takeoff, with the economy growing at seven or eight percents a year right now....... If the army has the weapons and ammunition, it will not be possible for the Maoists to win. What happens if your military runs out of bullets, is the number one question facing your country today......... Frankly if the army runs out of bullets, they can come in with khukuri knives........ you may actually see the Maoists come out more unified and tougher, leaner and meaner ....... two and half years ago Maoists were active in 14 out of 75 districts. Today, it is 70 out of 75 ....... You’ve got a glass here, obviously it is mostly empty, maybe only a quarter full, but there is some fullness here and it is not that everything has gone to the extent of your worst nightmare.

      • Nepal Confronts Growing Insurgency Washington Diplomat “For some time, we will have to curtail some civil liberties, we will have to clamp down on human rights, we will have to put a few people behind bars, which may not be very pleasing to Western countries, but we have to take these measures,” says Shrestha, a career diplomat with more than 40 years of experience in Europe, South Asia and the United States........ Once we have peace, then we can talk about other things, like democracy and human rights....... has pledged to hold elections within three years. So far, however, no clear roadmap for reaching that goal has been annunciated...... “Last year as many as 10,000 schoolchildren and teachers were abducted for periods of up to seven days. They try to indoctrinate them and send them back” ...... The ambassador says there are an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 “hardcore” rebels, plus about 12,000 to 15,000 “militia” on whom they can call. “But that is a very rough estimate,” he cautions. “They seem to come in large numbers, but how hardcore they are, how well-trained they are, how willing they are to fight is difficult to establish.” ...... Their guerrilla-style tactics make it difficult to combat the rebels militarily, Shrestha adds. “They hit and run,” he says. “They have this advantage of surprise and assimilation. They surprise you in the dark of the night and then they disappear and immediately mix in with the common people. They are just not there.” ...... The ambassador says the government’s strategy for containing the insurgency focuses first on political dialogue, even though the Maoists have twice broken cease-fires during peace talks in 2001 and 2003........ The king had to make a very bold decision and take the reins of the government into his own hands ....... After Feb. 1, the government put several opposition leaders, including former prime ministers Sher Bahadur Deuba and Girija Prasad Koirala, under house arrest .... “It was also for their own safety,” he adds. “When violence starts, you never know how it will end up.” ...... the media is now “lively and critical of the government.” ...... Shrestha admits that the king’s clampdown may have helped to unify the political opposition, but he insists that the move has significant popular support. “[Supportive] groups are not well organized, so you do not hear their voices as much as you hear the opposition’s voice,” Shrestha says.......

    Sunday, May 29, 2005

    Common Minimum Program: Constituent Assembly

    The king disappointed in his speech a few days back. This is a rhinoceros, not about to change course, and headed into a ditch. Leaders of dictatorial outfits tend not to change their minds, they instead go down in defeat. Look at Saddam. He never compromised, and instead ended up in a hole, unshaved, a tiny pistol in his hand. Dictators are not capable of flexibility and creative political solutions. That is the alley of democrats.

    Used to be the Monarchists, the Maoists, and the democrats were going their own separate ways. But now there is an informal understanding between the Maoists and the democrats. There is an emerging common minimum program. It is called Constituent Assembly. This shows the Monarchists are on their way out, and in a major way.

    The Maoists are advised to follow the recent communique of Dr. Baburam Bhattarai. He has sought a CMP of a Democratic Republic and a Constituent Assembly. The political parties are already behind the idea of a Constituent Assembly. This is the first time such a common ground has emerged between the Maoists and the political parties.

    The longer it takes to get there, the more the country is going to tilt towards the idea of a Democratic Republic. Already the cadres in all parties are for it. The leaders so far have not had the guts to come out for it. But they will not be able to stand in the way of the tide. Once the momentum builds, they either come along with the idea, or they stand getting sidelined.

    This is not a constitutional monarch, this is a feudal monarch, going by his public actions.

    The country is going republic.

    The people do not need his consent to declare a republic. He stands to get thrown out. The movement is gelling. As it gathers momentum, it will likely turn into a revolution.

    At this point the worst thing the Maoists could do is engage the RNA militarily. It would be unrealistic to ask them to disarm unilaterally. And also unrealistic to ask them to declare a ceasefire. But they should refrain from picking fights. Just stay back. If they attack, and pick fights, and if the RNA stocks go down, the foreign powers will be forced to replenish the RNA stocks, and that the Monarchists will paint as political victory. If the Maoists have some sense, they should not allow such a development as a resumption of foreign military aid.

    So, yes, do not necessarily declare a ceasefire, but act like there is one in place. Instead let the peaceful democratic movement gell. Let it gather momentum. Don't give the Monarchists an opportunity to quash it claiming there has been armed Maoist infiltration.

    It was foolish of Prachanda to have put Baburam under arrest two months back. It would be foolish of him to not get back behind the Democratic Republic and Constituent Assembly CMP in the most effective way possible. And the most effective way right now is not military. The military way plays into the hands of the Monarchists and strengthens them politically.

    Now it is for the democrats to work on the movement in the most effective way possible. It is an organizational challenge.

    May 29
    • Journalists protest closure of Nepal radio centre Peninsula On-line, Qatar The Ministry of Information and Communications on Friday ordered the centre, which provides programming to 14 of the 50 private FM radio stations across the country, to shut down...... Guragain, who insisted Saturday he would defy the closure order....... several newspapers had been shut down by the authorities or had closed due to financial problems....... more than 1,500 supporters of seven student unions demonstrated in Kathmandu demanding reinstatement of multi-psssarty democracy...... more than 40 refugees driven from the countryside by Maoist violence were arrested yesterday for demonstrating for food and shelter
    • Nepal's Maoist rebels kill policewoman, child Reuters AlertNet, UK Maoist rebels sprayed the house of a policewoman with bullets killing her and her four-year-old son
    • Nepal opposition defies king near Deuba's trial venue:- Webindia123, India Nearly 5,000 people braved the scorching mid-day heat and a possible police crackdown to take part in the first mass meet called in the capital Friday by a coalition of seven major opposition parties.... security personnel, who watched over the two-hour meeting, made no attempts to prevent the proceedings...... if the king continued to rule with absolute power, there could be a mass uprising ......
    • Save my husband, pleads detained Nepalese leader's wife:- Webindia123 Lila Mani Pokhrel ..... has stones in his kidney, paralysis symptoms and diabetes. Pokhrel also has symptoms of hernia and needs immediate surgery ...... Pokhrel is deprived of "basic human rights", like not being allowed books, newspapers or even writing material ...... He is also not allowed to meet anyone except family members......
    • India steps up patrolling on Nepal border to curb Maoists:- Webindia123
    • Nepal king says aims to hold polls in stages Reuters AlertNet, UK said he planned to hold polls in phases to all elected bodies in the revolt-torn nation, but set no dates .... "Necessary preparations have already been initiated to hold these (municipal) elections and activate, in stages, all elected bodies" ......
    • Nepal releases 75 political leaders and activists Sify
    • King of Nepal now eager to bring democracy back in Nepal India Daily There is persistent rumor that Maoists are in direct secret talks with Indian Government.
    • Crackdown continues in Nepal Hindu The crackdown on political activists and media appears to continue in Nepal with royal government detaining 20 political activists who were staging protests against King Gyanendra, even as it re-arrested a former minister immediately after his release from prison...... Others who were released on Friday include Nepali Congress spokesman Arjun Narsingh K.C., former Ministers Bimalendra Nidhi, Bhim Kumari Budhamagar, Suresh Malla, Mina Pandey and Dip Kumar Upadhyay as also ex-Parliament members Khem Raj Bhatta Mayalu and Tek Bahadur Chokhyal...... "We will not shut down our operation, we will continue the operation despite the government's instruction and go to the Supreme Court for a stay order when the office opens on Monday," said Suresh Acharya, News Editor of the Communication Corner and former President of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists...... Calling the government directive as the end of the rule of law in the country, Acharya said the ministry has alleged us of operating illegally without mentioning any law.
    • UK resumes non-lethal military aid to Nepal Hindustan Times, India Britain has decided to resume non-lethal military assistance to Nepal on humanitarian grounds, following in the footsteps of India....... the meeting in Luxembourg discussed EU-India ties as well as regional and international developments, where Nepal reportedly featured on the agenda ...... the meeting, the resumption of non-lethal military assistance and the parliamentary notice have been kept low-key with even the British media not getting a whiff of it.
    May 27
    • Thousands attend Nepal pro-democracy rally Reuters AlertNet, UK .....5,000 supporters of seven mainstream parties, many punching their fists in the air, attended the second biggest rally in a week against the monarch ..... on Friday when a dozen rebels, armed with automatic weapons, fired at a security patrol in the western town of Bhairahawa .....the seven parties wanted the restoration of the parliament to solve the political crisis and were ready to hold elections to a constituent assembly to end the Maoist revolt ..... The demand for the constituent assembly was the sticking point in talks with Maoists in 2001 and 2003...... the royalist government ordered troops on alert fearing infiltration of Maoist rebels into anti-monarchy rallies
    • Nepal on alert ahead of anti-king rally Reuters AlertNet ..... Witnesses said riot police armed with bamboo sticks and helmets had been posted around the site of the protests
    • Nepal govt frees over 50 political detainees Sify, India .....Narsingh K C and two former ministers Bimalendra Nidhi and Dip Kumar Upadhyay
    • NEPAL: National report fails to stress the impact of conflict on ... Reuters AlertNet, UK .... second periodic report to the United Nations Committee on Rights of the Child (CRC)..... "In many ways, Nepal was not a country fit for children" ..... The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) was particularly critical of the report, which had omitted the most important adverse effects of the conflict on children ..... Over 300 children are estimated to have been killed from 13 February 1996 to 28 February 2005. Of these, 168 children were reportedly killed at the hands of the state and 138 at the hands of the Maoists ...... The girls have been raped and molested by the security forces ..... Nepal ratified the Convention on the Rights of Children in 1990 ..... Since then, the country has introduced several laws and ratified key international conventions to promote and protect children's rights that were non-existent during the pre-1990s era.
    • Bodies of 25 Maoists recovered in Nepal Hindu ..... Around 15 Maoists torched the ancestral house of Chief Justice Hari Prasad Sharma at Tarigaun village in Dang district on Monday night, an army official said adding the two-storeyed building was completely gutted..... Maoists allegedly raped two women in Singhdevi area of Ramechhap district ...... Eight Maoist rebels surrendered before security forces in Bharatpur Municipality in Chitawan district
    • Progress in Nepal Washington Post, DC ..... 2002 ... All the king did .. was act in accordance with the Nepali constitution and consent to the dissolution of the parliament as recommended by the prime minister...... Since lifting the state of emergency on April 29, the country has begun to restore civil liberties..... Nepal is restoring peace and stability to accelerate the restoration of a fully functional democracy as soon as possible
    • Bhattarai meeting raises questions on Nepal policy Times of India The revelation that Nepal's Maoist leader, Baburam Bhattarai, has been meeting Indian Communist leaders in the capital .... Bhattarai carries an Interpol red corner notice on his head. .... One of the best proposals coming out of the seven-party alliance in Nepal, therefore, was to invite the Maoists. But the Maoists refused...... Bhattarai's hobnobbing with India, sources say, could leave the space open for a king-Maoist understanding, at India's cost.
    • Nepal frees 18 political detenus Hindu, India Former Deputy Prime Minister and Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Poudyal and hundreds of other political detenus are still languishing in different jails across the country. The Government last month extended their detention order by another three months despite their deteriorating health conditions.
    • Ex-Nepalese PM Koirala to visit India:- Webindia123 will undergo his annual medical check-up at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi. He had undergone a check-up at the same institution last year too..... will also be using his stay in New Delhi to meet Indian leaders and authorities to muster support for the anti-monarchy movement...... Koirala's daughter Sujata and nephew Dr. Shekhar Koirala are also currently based in New Delhi...... While Sujata was in the US and Britain to take part in anti-king rallies this week, Dr. Koirala met Indian leader and former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha Wednesday...... with the Nepal government stopping several opposition leaders at the airport to prevent them from leaving the country, it remains to be seen if Koirala will be allowed to proceed to the Indian capital.
    • Nepal opposition seeks Yashwant Sinha's support:- Webindia123 Rajan Bhattarai, member of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Shekhar Koirala and Mathura Prasad Ghimire of the Nepali Congress, Pradip Giri of ousted Nepalese prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's Nepali Congress (Democratic) party, Hridayesh Tripathi and Rajendra Mahto of Nepal Sadbhavana Party (A) and Chandra Dev Joshi of United Left Front, met BJP leader and ex-minister for external affairs Yashwant Sinha at his residence.