Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Baburam Bhattarai, Pramod Aryal, Ram Chandra Poudel

(Below are summaries in English of full length articles in Nepali.)

Baburam Bhattarai: The Question Of Understanding A Democratic Republic

The cadres are for a Democratic Republic, but the leaders of the political parties are still not wholeheartedly for it yet. We need to look into why that might be. Monarchy and democracy are opposing ideologies and institutions. Japan and Britain can not be our examples of a ceremonial monarchy because our socio-economic development stage is not the same as theirs. No capitalist revolution has succeeded without uprooting the monarchy. Hence the words "republic" and "democracy" are actually one word. There is no example in world history where au autocrat monarch willingly became a constitutional monarch. There are no examples of constitutional monarchies in the Third World. Temporary alliances with an army or a monarchy either by democrats or external powers is understandable for different reasons, but to present the monarchy as the symbol of unity and stability is utter foolishness. The Sinhanouk example does not apply to us. BP Koirala's "national reconciliation" slogan is date expired. The Radha Krishna Mainalis inside the UML and the Prakash and Shailaja Koiralas inside the Nepali Congress are a major disservice. The parliamentary parties also have to watch out for the pressure from the US, the sole superpower, to make do with the monarchy. Global opinion will follow once the parties achieve clarity on the issue of a Democratic Republic. The monarchy is an elaborate structure that keeps the country down on all fronts. The parliamentary parties have two choices: surrender, or head on for a Democratic Republic. To try and "scare" the king into becoming a constitutional monarch is a foolish attempt. It should not even be made. A tiger that has tasted blood does not willingly go back into the cage. We should head straight on for a Democratic Republic, or we should settle for a Constituent Assembly, nothing less.

After a 10 year revolution, we Maoists have been presenting a Democratic Republic as a common minimum program. We have done it time and again. We started the revolution with the singular goal of a communist republic. For us to shift to the goal of a democratic republic has been a big step for us. The revolutionary leftists look at us with suspicion for that. At the same time, the parliamentary parties refuse to believe us when we say we are now for a democratic republic. So we feel the need to clarify a few things.

Our ultimate goal is communism, preceded by socialism. That is never going to change. But we feel the need to come down from the clouds and face the ground realities and make sound, objective, scientific assessments. That is how we prepare our programs and decide on our strategies. It has been our conclusion, based on the socio-economic conditions in Nepal, that an abolition of the monarchy and an establishment of a democratic republic is what is best for Nepal right now. That is our scientific analysis. We did not cook up the slogan to hoodwink the parliamentary parties. That is why you should believe us when we say we are for a Democratic Republic.

A democratic republic and a socialist democracy are different things. So we understand why you remain suspicious of us. The Stalinist model gets seen for the communist model, and it can be hard to imagine how a Maoist party will work within a multi-party framework. What you have to understand is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is not religious dogma, fixed forever. It is a science. It is alive and evolving. The goal remains to create a classless society. Marx and Lenin never talked about one party rule in their writings. But it became one party rule due to Stalin. Stalin created a bureaucratic monster that detached itself from the people. And hence we had counter revolutions all over the world at the end of the previous century. And that is why, for the 21st century, we are committed to a multi-party framework where people's participation and oversight is guaranteed. That is what we want. That is our first choice, it is not a choice of an uncomfortable compromise. So believe us when we say it is a democratic republic we want.

The difference between a capitalist democracy and a socialist democracy is in the former democracy is only formal, in name only, in the later it is for real. Socialist experiments might have taken some ugly forms in the past. But periodic elections, multi party competition, adult franchise, rule of law, freedom of press and speech, these all not only exist in our version of a socialist democracy, they also are superior to when they exist in a capitalist democracy. We don't discard the good things about capitalism, we elaborate them so much, socialism spreads into capitalist territories. That is what Lenin suggested. We don't fight capitalism, we refine it, purify it, make it better.

Another suspicion has been that we Maoists will not accept the results of a Constituent Assembly should they not go in our favor. That we might follow the example in Russia. What we have to say on that is free and fair and unconditional elections conducted under international supervision will be acceptable to us. Russia of the 1910s is not Nepal of today. Let that distant past from a distant land not be your measuring rod. We have made it very clear we are for an impartial and effective management of the two armies for such elections.

A democratic republic is our ideological stand. Now try us in action. Because we are very clear on our vision and stand.

We are not headed into a traditional parliamentary arrangement or a communist arrangement. We are headed towards something new. It will be a new kind of a transitional democratic system. We are not trying to imitate Europe. But whatever it is, it will be reflective of the power distribution as thrown up by an Assembly.

It is necessary to discuss the shape and form of the proposed Democratic Republic right away, even before we go into a Constituent Assembly. That itself can be a trust-building measure. Let's have a public debate. There is nothing to hide.

On our part, this is what we see. First, the monarchy is abolished, and the sovereignty goes to the people. Two thirds of the Assembly or a referendum may decide on any matter except the country's territorial integrity. Second, the royal army is to be disbanded, and a new army is to be raised, to be under the parliament. Three, the national parliament will be supreme. Fourth, a full guarantee for periodic elections, multi party competition, adult franchise, rule of law, freedom of press and speech. Fifth, all oppressed groups - Janajatis and Madhesis - will have self rule and autonomy. Sixth, secular state. Seven, education, health and employment will be considered basic rights, and basic education and health will be free and guaranteed. Eighth, revolutionary land reform, land to the tiller. Self- reliant national industrialization, protection of national capital and properties. Ninth, dissolve the unequal 1950 treaty and other similar treaties. An independent, non-aligned foreign policy. Tenth, make room for other democratic forces in the Assembly to shape other political, economic and cultural details.

Democracy itself is alive. It grows, it changes.

Unless we - Maoists and parliamentary parties - make common cause and stand shoulder to shoulder, people are not going to come out into the streets in hundreds of thousands, and unless that happens, the king is not going to get out of the picture. We should make our conversations official and really get down to the business of talking things out in an authoritative way. Let's not waster this opportunity we have. The world looks upon us. Delays hurt the revolution.

Pramod Aryal: A Koirala Family Gone Mad On Leadership

The country is going through rough times, democracy is at stake. It has become imperative for the Nepali Congress to get clear on the issue of a Democratic Republic. Girija is extremely unclear and vacillating on the issue. The Koirala family's contributions to democracy get publicized, but their disservice to the same cause all through history is not that well known. Go look at the details. BP Koirala made major political blunders costing the country dearly just to retain the party presidency to himself. Ganeshman had written to Kisunji to oust Girija from the party during the movement, fearing his tendency to get weak with the palace. Girija sidelined Kisunji and Ganeshman, he disbanded a parliament, he forced Deuba to break away. All to keep the leadership to himself. Shashanka Koirala is a test tube baby being groomed. The Nepali Congress might get to the size of Praja Parishad. Democracy in Nepal does not depend on the Nepali Congress. Congress forgets its martyrs, its leadership instead listens to the nobodies like Govinda Raj Joshi, Arjun Narsingha KC, Laxman Ghimire, Ram Krishna Tamrakar. The party needs new leadership. Girija's poison words againt Gagan Thapa and Narahari Acharya are indicative. Nepal stands for change, Girija is not for change. Ram Chandra Poudel should run for party president. We have got to break the vicious circle of the Koirala family's hold on the party.

Ram Chandra Poudel: A Constituent Assembly Has Become Necessary

The Congress itself has to change before it can change society. There is no need for a monarchy in the 21st century. The state has to be restructuted bo provide equality for the Janajatis and the Madhesis. The Maoists need to renounce violence. A Constituent Assembly is our meeting point, that we are for with or without the Maoists. Globalization and liberalization trends have to be cashed upon. But socialism is still what we stand for. Prime Ministers have lead the army in the past. It has not always been with the king. There should be reservations for women, dalit, and janajatis. The Congress has to be unified. Internal democracy has to be introduced and institutionalized in the Congress.

Supreme Court, Revive House, Save Country, Hurry

That might be the best way out.

The seven democratic parties are the legitimate political forces in the country, and their 4-point agenda is a sound one. Sound enough that it will end the civil war.
  1. Revive House.
  2. Form An All Party Government.
  3. Hold Unconditional Peace Talks With The Maoists.
  4. Organize Elections To A Constituent Assembly.
But the 4-point program starts at step one. And that step can only be taken by the Supreme Court. The parties can not do it themselves. The king has said he does not have the constitutional authority to do it. So that puts the ball in the Supreme Court.

These 11 individuals are uniquely positioned to literally save the country: Dilip Kumar Poudel, Kedar Prasad Giri, Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma, Ram Prasad Shrestha, Khil Raj Regmi, Sharada Prasad Pundit, Sharada Shrestha, Arjun Prasad Singh and Hari Jung Sijapati.

I think they should go ahead and do it.

Otherwise it might end up a long, cold winter of relentless protests, and a further decaying civil war with all the associated human rights abuses and violations of internatinoal law, the mayhem, not to say the economic loss, both direct and in terms of lost opportunities.

It is that or it is (1) the three warring factions come to a respectful political dialogue and start making political sense, which they show no signs of, have not in years, during the beginning, middle, and thenon, or (2) the democrats wage a decisive movement for months - a democratic republic through a revolution - and get the king to bend, which can add complications: some Monarchists might go for the military option, which would be suicidal for the monarchy, but then they might go for it anyways.

I don't think the Supreme Court has ever faced a more important decision in its entire history, and might not ever again. This is momentous. This is a historic opportunity.

Of the three scenarios, only the Supreme Court option is safest for the three political factions. That might be the only way a constitutional monarchy might be retained by the people through a popular verdict. That might be the best way the worst fears about the Maoists do not come true. I am one of those who is not paranoid about the Maoists, but others have democratic rights to be so.

The 4-point agenda might also be the smoothest way to move from the 1990 constitution to a 2006 constitution.

In The News

Supreme Court starts studying House revival case NepalNews .... the court would decide whether to deliberate on the case only after consensus of all justices of the apex court. A majority of the 11 justices must agree ...... chief justice Dilip Kumar Poudel and justices Kedar Prasad Giri, Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Ram Nagina Singh, Anup Raj Sharma, Ram Prasad Shrestha, Khil Raj Regmi, Sharada Prasad Pundit, Sharada Shrestha, Arjun Prasad Singh and Hari Jung Sijapati...... Thursday’s discussion was adjourned, ordering the bench assistant to make a list of differences and similarities between the three SC precedents on house dissolution in 1994, 1995 and 2002. The apex court had reversed late prime minister Man Mohan Adhikari’s decision to dissolve the house in 1995 while it had upheld ex-prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s decision to dissolve the house in 1994.

Somnath Ghimire: King G Is Pinochet

King Gyanendra's Character resembles Augusto Pinochet --Somnath Ghimire

Since the Royal Nepal Army and Police are under the direct and undisputed control of Black King "G", and since there is no evidence whatsoever that action has been taken to correct the abuses or hold the perpetrators responsible, this places the king in league with such lovely characters as Hitler, Saddam Hussain, Augusto Pinochet, Ferdinand Marcos, Mohammad Reza Pahlevi and others.

It should be noted that, like King Gyanendra, all but Hitler were also supported and armed by the US. The US’s agreement to shield Nepali officials from the International Criminal Court has given a green light to atrocities, and the transfer of more of M16A2 rifles even as the savage treatment of pro-democracy protestors was ongoing raises questions of the violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of US law by the Bush administration. The US’s refusal to condemn atrocities in Nepal and unconvincing stance that human rights training for new soldiers will cure the abuses that are widespread, systematic and under the supervision of senior officers is obviously sending an ambiguous message designed to give it political cover. The media, under army death threat for “insulting the king,” cannot criticize him, while the pro-monarchist writers have free reign without fear of rebuttal of their ludicrous and illogical assertions.

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, yet it spends 65 crore rupees (US$ 8.8 million; adjusted for purchasing power, over $50 million) on the royal family annually, a six fold increase since the dramatic decrease in the family’s numbers in the wake of the palace massacre. Thus, spending so lavishly on this very rich family deprives huge numbers of Nepalis, most of whom are illiterate and who suffer from appalling maternal, infant and child mortality, and whose life expectancy is as little as 37 years in some districts, of services they badly need and whose lack contributed in large part to the success of the Maoist revolution; the monarchists believe that it is more important to support the royal family in high style than to save the poor from death, disease and illiteracy, but most of the rural poor people would disagree. Nepal cannot afford both.

The phony, staged, highly secured “felicitations,” in which BKG greet and will be worshipped by the lowly people living in the country of oldest democracy, do not obscure the fact that the vast majority of Nepalis intensely dislike the king and, indeed, the very institution of Monarchy. The majority of Nepalis continue to support republican democracy; a recent poll indicates that 11% support the monarchy, 9% the Maoists, and 80% republican democracy. And also the Nepal's largest Democratic Party, Nepali Congress has decided to opt out Constitutional Monarchy from it's statute. The king could have made inroads into Nepal’s problems with corruption, poor heath care and lack of adequate educational facilities, but chose to accept continued deterioration in these sectors and to rely on repression and arrogant refusal to communicate honestly with the people. KG lied to the world and who believes him- only his followers and ass lickers.

Although they cleverly soft-pedal their alleged divinity when dealing with foreigners, the Shahs manipulate the uneducated, simple-minded people by claiming to be gods and thus making whatever crimes they may wish to commit acceptable and making dissent against them sinful. Although there is no way to disprove this notion of divinity, a logical person would find nothing in the intelligence, appearance, achievements or conduct of the royalty to indicate superiority or superhuman traits. Oddly, only the simplest villagers and the well-connected elite accept the notion of royal divinity. Without the king, the parties and the Maoists would far more easily come to terms and bring about an end to the civil war; both would likely accept free, fair, internationally supervised elections for a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution, but the king stands in the way because he knows that he has little popular support.

I do not believe that any argument marshaled by pro-monarchists, whether Nepali, Indian or American, can in any way outweigh the objections I have raised here to the continuance of this feudal, exploitative and undemocratic institution. Most of our people are illiterate but we are not stupid. We know bad things happening in our country under the chairmanship of BKG=Black King Gyanendra. We must awake now not tomorrow, to tell the world about the character of BKG.

Supreme Court, Revive The House And Get The Country Back On Track, Hurry

That might be the best way out.

In The News

  • From the general convention of Nepal’s largest political party ... United We Blog, Nepal Arjunnarsingh KC mobilized his supporters to distribute printed pamphlets in support of his candidacy for the CWC member........ One convention representative from Sarlahi told me that “a huge debate in favor republicanism was going on” inside the hall. “Hya…gantantra ko pakchhya ma sab sathiharu le boli rakheka chhan,” he said. “All friends are speaking in favor of republicanism.” Sitasaran Raya, 56, from Sarlahi-1, who appeared to be coming out of the hall to buy four sticks of ciggerates (he didn’t reveal the brand despite my repeated attempts to know. Surya? I wanted know. He, in dhoti and kurta, just said this: Hami jasto sarbasadharan le kaha testo khane. (How come common people like myself afford such brand?] Before puffing, he expressed his hope that the party would pass a concrete resolution in favor of Gantantra......... Manamohan Park ...... “NC and CPN UML commanded 70 % members in the parliament,” I overheard a man, in dhaka topi and kurta suruwal with ‘Kangressi’ waistcoat. “They could have amended the constitution as per their wish. But they kept fighting with each other. And ministers from the parties ran after their own personal interests.” ......... Almost every one outside the office (those who were not representatives) expressed opinions in favor of democratic republicanism. But at the same time many of them thought it was next to impossible to see Girija Prasad Koirala defeated in the contest for presidency of the party with Narahari Acharya. One Nepali Student’s Union, sister organization of NC, wanted to know my opinion after I asked him a couple of questions. “I would love to see Naharari as the new president of the party. Is that possible?” He, who was giving lectures about the need of republicanism, became pale and visibly shocked and took out his long and partly red tongue. “ god. What are you talking about?” ...... despite of all the debates going on in the party and despite of overwhelming majority supporting the democratic republicanism, Koirala will no doubt win the election ....... Koirala is a “necessary evil.” ....... . And then it will be like “Nepali Congress Jindabad, Bhag Shanti Jay Nepal, Siddhanta jati tokari ma Faal.”
  • Nepal king renews talks offer BBC News Gyanendra likened the dispute between the monarchy and political parties to the relationship between a husband and wife, saying that the closer they are the more they quarrel........ He said that if the government had addressed some of the demands the Maoists had put to the authorities nine years ago, Nepal would not have plunged into a 'ditch'....... The king said that his administration was now addressing some of these issues, such as the uplift of lower castes and women.......
  • King Gyanendra has to 'wake up': Mulford Chennai Online In strong comments on the developments in Nepal, US Ambassador David Mulford today said King Gyanendra has to "wake up" to the long term effect of the "deteriorating" situation on the Himalayan Kingdom and have a "rethink" on the Maoist problem...... Neither India nor the US is in a position to intervene directly ..... the deteriorating circumstances, deteriorating economy and frightening away of investments ....... he is going have increasing difficulty keeping his position vis-a-vis the Maoists unless he rethinks on it ....... Mulford said the US was opposed to Maoists "in all shapes and forms.
  • NEPAL: King, politicians and rebels no nearer to talks Reuters AlertNet, UK ...... "I too am accountable to the people. If they [the parties] go to the people and speak clearly, then there is room for talks," said the king. ....... The seven political parties responded to the suggestion from the king by rejecting any possibility that they might participate in any discussions........ "We have already had several talks with the king in the past but none of them had any positive results," said Amik Sherchan ....... "There is no meaning to his offer until he gives up his power and hands over the government to the people's representatives," added Sherchan........ The seven parties said that they are not even willing to consider the royal restoration of parliament, if such an offer is made by the king....... "We don't want it to be restored by the king. Such a move can only be made constitutionally and that would be through the Supreme Court," explained Sherchan........ The Supreme Court has already begun a hearing on a petition to reinstate the country's parliament which was dissolved three years ago........ The political groups say they want an all-party interim government which would then negotiate with Maoists rebels....... some political leaders disagree saying that the turning down of the king's offer of talks is a counterproductive act...... Maoist insurgents to be responsible for the killing of civilians and that they had violated international obligations under humanitarian law. The investigation also found that the state authorities were in breach of their own responsibilities under international humanitarian law through their failure to take precautions to protect the civilian population.......... News reports currently suggest that Maoist forces have shown no commitment to confidence-building measures by abstaining from launching attacks against politicians, journalists, unarmed government officials or rural NGO staff.
  • Indian leaders denied meeting with jailed Nepali ex-PM:- Webindia123, India ...... prevented three visiting Indian politicians from meeting deposed prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba .... Basudev Acharya of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) ...... Ramesh Dixit of the Congress and D.P. Tiwari, secretary of Nepal Democracy Solidarity Committee.... The three leaders were accompanied by Deuba's wife Dr Arju Deuba, acting head of the deposed leader's Nepali Congress (Democratic) party Gopal Man Shrestha, former ministers from Deuba's party Homnath Dahal and Bimalendra Nidhi and the wife of Prakash Man Singh..... The Indian leaders were part of a delegation from India that came here to attend the general convention of the kingdom's largest party, the Nepali Congress...."It is strange that the Nepal government did not allow us to meet Deuba and Singh, both of whom are political prisoners," Dixit told the media...... The Indian leaders said the Royal Commission for Corruption Control...was unconstitutional and should be disbanded immediately..... Both Deuba and Singh have challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court.
  • UML constitutes "Movement Secretariat" Kantipur Online, Nepal a 14-member "People's Movement Secretariat" ... another 5-member committee headed by leader Bam Dev Gautam to facilitate coordination and cooperation with other political parties.
  • NC convention endorses CWC proposal Kantipur Online, Nepal ... unanimously endorsed its Central Working Committee's (CWC) proposal to omit "constitutional monarchy" from the party statute. overwhelming support form the representatives to the party's decision ....Ram Chandra Poudel, said the policy changes in the party has driven the party towards a golden age...... One of the major changes in the party statute is that it made it obligatory for party cadres to renew their active member every year instead of once in five years...... Present members Ram Chandra Poudel, Shailaja Acharya, Sushil Koirala, Mahesh Acharya, Khum Bahadur Khadka, Gobinda Raj Joshi, Arjun Narsingh KC, Mahanta Thakur, Krishna Sitoula, Bal Bahadur Rai and Baldev Majgaiya are contesting for the next term. ...... Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, Chakra Bastola, Laxman Ghimire, Gopal Pahadi, Ram Krishna Tamtrakar, Binay Dhoj Chand, Dr Ram Baran Yadav, Sunil Bhandari, Farmullah Mansoor and Lila Koirala are other to run for the next term...... Invitee member in the CWC Bhim Bahadur tamang has also filed candidacy for CWC membership....... There are half a dozen candidates from Koirala family alone. GP, Sushil, Shailaja, Dr Sashank, Ashok and Lila Koirala are from Koirala family..... 3 p.m was the deadline for withdrawing the nomination, but nobody withdrew their candidacy.
  • NBA calls Maoists for immediate release of Pili captives, Nepal .... Nepal Bar Association (NBA) today called upon the Maoist insurgents to immediately release the 52 security men taken hostage by them during a clash in Pili, Kalikot district, last month
  • 986 people still missing: NHRC Kantipur
  • RCCC orders to release Parajuli on bail Kantipur ..... stated in the charge sheet against him that the former minister earned Rs. 15,380,000 through illegal means while holding public posts between 2051 BS to 2056 BS...... the Commission also today took statement from Bamdev Deep Adhikari, Survey Officer at the Land Management Training Centre, Dhulikhel...... charge of amassing approximately Rs. 5,900,000 through illegal means
  • Narayan Wagle gets Madan Puraskar Kantipur .... Palpasa Café, the debut novel by Wagle, had created a new "fastest selling" record in the Nepali book publication history. The second edition of the novel has already hit bookstores after 5,000 copies were sold out in the first month of its release in the end of July..... award carries a purse of Rs. 200,000.
  • Kantipur Report On Saptari Mass Rape Is False INSN ..... On August 23, Kantipuronline and Kantipur daily reported that a group of Maoist raped 25 Dalit women in Saptari district. Believing in this report, world media and human rights activists and Dalit activists in Nepal and around the world well publicized it. Janadesh weekly, referring to district leadership of CPN (Maoist) reported that the crime was committed by government backed vigilantes. Between August 28, 2005 and today we got several reports on this crime and learned that Maoists killed one of the culprits and apprehended five of them....... The local citizens had told to the investigation team that the real victim of this case was a Shyam Devi Khatwe, Dalit women, from Jagatpur-4- Saptari.On the basis of this informatation provided by local inhabitants, the team had reached the victim’s home. The investigation team had met to Mr. Rupesh Khatwe, husband of victim, and inquired about incident of what happening. It was reported by him to the investigation team that he was in Kathmandu when the incident took place and returned to home immediately after knowing the incident. He had accepted in the presence of the investigation team that his wife had been raped. He also told the investigation team that other people who had been raped are not ready to speak something on this case due to fear and threat........ his mother was scolding members of the investigation team while it was taking information on the spot........ the numbers of rape victims was not 25 as reported in Kantipur...... According to victims, a group of 5 people had told to prepare food on the day of the incident and come here in between 10:00 PM to 2:00 PM when incident took place. The persons in that group were Dinsesh Sardar (local), Pradip Gupta, Devkant Yadav, Lalit Chaudhary and Shambhu Chaudhary as reported by locals to this team...... local Maoist area no 1 had killed Shambhu Chaudhary on 25 August 2005........ feeling insecurity, social pressure, and economic crisis from all around due to their miserable condition after this incident

Redesigning The Monarchy

I think this might be the best way out of the political paralysis. Start here: Proposed Constitution. And replace Article 5 with the one from an earlier version of the same document:

Article 5: The Monarchy
  1. The monarch is the guardian of the constitution and the one who formally invites formations of governments from the parliaments and formally inducts governments.
  2. The first born, son or daughter, is heir to the throne.
  3. The monarch's immediate family - defined as parent(s), wife, children, and grandchildren, and others in direct lineage, the monarch's siblings and their children, and above the law - is to get annual allowances from the state at the 1991 levels. The amount may not be reduced by the parliament. The monarch may request the parliament increases to the allowance through the Prime Minister at any time. Such allowances are not to be taxed, although businesses owned by members of the said family will be subject to taxation and the law.
  4. The monarch may decide to retire at an age of his or her choosing, or not.
  5. It is a state goal to open up enough holdings of the royal family with consent from the monarch to tourists so as to offset the state expenditure on the monarchy through revenue from tourism. Rituals may also be designed and included.
  6. The monarch may opt to appoint a Prince/Princess for each state, to be called Prince/Princess of Purbanchal/Madhyamanchal/Paschimanchal from among the members of the royal family, or not. The monarch may also choose to appoint members that might have married into the family. Such appointments may be rescinded by the monarch at any time. The title comes with extra allowances from the state and a state-funded residence in the state capital. The spouse of the appointed royal family member gets the accompanying title.
  7. Members of the royal family may marry individuals of their choice, not necessarily from certain families, or from within the country.
  8. The monarch will give the annual State Of The Kingdom address, the speech to be crafted by the Prime Minister summarizing the achievements in the public and the private sectors over the past year and outlining a vision for the future years.
  9. It is for the monarch to decide as to who in the political arena or the media to meet for private or public audiences. The monarch may also send political directives of advisory nature to the parliament throught the Prime Minister at any time, none of which is to be binding.
  10. The monarchy may be abolished with a 75% vote in the national parliament.
The seven parties and the Maoists will have to come around to Articles 1,2,3,4,6 and 7. And in turn the king agrees to Article 5.

I am presenting a monarchy in a form that does not exist anywhere. This is not imitating Japan or Britain. And I am also presenting a democracy that does not exist anywhere, not in America, not in India.

The Maoists need to make note of Article 1.8: 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.

Also Articles 6.10, 6.11, 6.12, and 6.13.

Prachanda might particularly like Article 7.1: The national capital is to be shifted from Kathmandu to the Chitwan valley within 10 years of this constitution getting promulgated.

The monarchy I have designed is in several ways better than a republic anyone else could.
  1. It has zero political power: Article 2.4. And the monarch still gets seen and heard: Article 5.8.
  2. It does not cost the country a dime: Article 5.5. You end up with a monarchy that is cheaper than a president and governors might be.
I consider it my democratic responsibility to work to preserve the monarchy in a ceremonial form, because that is what the people want.

I have said this before. Let the three warring factions and all the component parties take a look at this document. Seek points you all can agree on. Things you can not agree on can be decided upon through a Constituent Assembly. What say you? All you have to do is take a look at the document, pen in hand, check all items you like, cross all items you dislike, and add a list of items you would add if you could. How hard can that be? As easy as a multiple choice question test.

This is like every party to the conflict is being given a blank slate and being told, okay so right down all you want. That is what it is. My document just provides a framework so there is some discipline to the process. And such that agreements and disagreements can be aired publicly. The process can stay transparent.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I was reading through the Cindy Sheehan coverage: many think parallels can be drawn with the Vietnam protests by now, the early stages. My personal views on the Iraq War are a little more nuanced and it is not pro or anti war. I am for spreading democracy the progressive way. And that is where Nepal comes in. Tomorrow evening I will be attending a DFNYC meeting to put forth the same case. DFNYC, Democracy For New York City, is the largest Howard Dean group in the country.

But Cindy Sheehan has a definite message for the Nepali democrats in terms of what peaceful protests can do. The message is of hope. Infact there is nothing more powerful.

And while I was going about that, there is no escaping Katrina, the hurricane that devastated New Orleans and the larger area. There also I see a message, here for the three warring factions in Nepal, especially the two armed ones. It takes a major natural catastrophe sometimes to give people perspective.

I have driven along those sections of Interstate 10 numerous times. Bridges I have crossed many times have been ripped apart. Like they were made of cardboard. Nature is powerful. We are merely passing by. If we were to approach the peace process with that humility, we could make quicker progress.

Once, it was the Arkansas River in Oklahoma. I was about five hours late. The bridge on the river collapsed, and cars and trucks kept driving into the abyss: it was the dark of night. Early morning.

Life is fleeting.

So we have to make do with what we have got.

Artificial catastrophes like civil wars look extra tragic when we compare them to the helplessness we might feel towards, say, Katrina. 80% of New Orleans, the big city Bill Clinton is most emotionally attached to, is under water. The guy must be devastated.

On another note, I once drove overnight through a hurricane. The rainfall is horizontal. It was not the strongest kind, but it was still officially a hurricane. The road was mostly deserted.

Messenger Chat With Purandar Ghimire

Purandar Ghimire: hey wass up
Purandar Ghimire: how is things in nepal lately
Paramendra Bhagat: are you not in nepal?
Paramendra Bhagat: nc convention is the big news
Paramendra Bhagat:
Purandar Ghimire: nope i am in washington dc
Paramendra Bhagat: are u a journalist?
Paramendra Bhagat: ok
Purandar Ghimire: yes i am
Paramendra Bhagat: for whom?
Purandar Ghimire: fo IFJ affiliated National Union of Journalist
Paramendra Bhagat: sep 16 is also a gathering storm
Paramendra Bhagat: oh ok
Purandar Ghimire: yes i am comming there
Paramendra Bhagat: so you work in DC? when i got your email i was thinking maybe you are based out of nepal
Paramendra Bhagat: see u there then
Purandar Ghimire: nope in dc
Purandar Ghimire: okies
Paramendra Bhagat: do u think a lot of DC nepalis will show up?
Purandar Ghimire: yes indeed
Paramendra Bhagat: wow
Paramendra Bhagat: since it is a friday, i figured less might
Paramendra Bhagat: sep 16 might set a new record for nepalis
Purandar Ghimire: i am raising awarness about nepal in us congress, world bank, imf and the think tanks
Paramendra Bhagat: so a lot of ppl r taking day off on sep 16
Paramendra Bhagat: that sounds great
Paramendra Bhagat: i am aware u DC guys are really into it
Purandar Ghimire: inedeed
Purandar Ghimire: we are
Paramendra Bhagat: so u r a union member, that is your job? u r not with a particular publication?
Paramendra Bhagat: can't wait for sep 16
Paramendra Bhagat: did u have a particular query for me, or u just wanted to chat, touch base kind of?
Purandar Ghimire: okies what i do is i send my dispatch to union head quarter in ktm, then they will distribute it to respective news paper
Paramendra Bhagat: oh ok
Paramendra Bhagat: cool
Purandar Ghimire: i used to be chief of Nepal news agency RSS
Paramendra Bhagat: wow, that is huge
Purandar Ghimire: and publisher and chairman of gorkhapatra
Paramendra Bhagat: wow, that is really huge
Paramendra Bhagat: i guess u r really accomplished in ur field
Purandar Ghimire: and in 90s used to be washington correspondent for ktm post and kantipur
Paramendra Bhagat: how does it feel to see those organizations taken over for state propaganda by the royalists? not too good?
Paramendra Bhagat: u know, now that you tell me these things, your name has started to ring familiar .. a name i might have read off and on
Purandar Ghimire: on my tenure it was free i was appointed by democratically elected PM
Paramendra Bhagat: but i have been gone from nepal so long .... and i only got back into the thing in an active way b/c of 2/1
Purandar Ghimire: actually i am doing one man show in dc
Purandar Ghimire: of my own...
Paramendra Bhagat: how long b4 democracy again? what is your reading? i think it is 6 months max for this regime, if that
Paramendra Bhagat: yeah?
Paramendra Bhagat: so how do you support yourself?
Purandar Ghimire: it will take time....
Purandar Ghimire: i support myself
Paramendra Bhagat: more than 6 months?
Paramendra Bhagat: entrepreneur?
Purandar Ghimire: my idea is to raise awarness about nepal in key points
Purandar Ghimire
: and right points at the right place
Purandar Ghimire
: nepalese issues is not heard that much at the key points in washington Purandar Ghimire: and perception of American government is not clear at all
Paramendra Bhagat: is there a group you are part of for the democratic cause?
Paramendra Bhagat: is it an organized effort?
Paramendra Bhagat: i belong to the 6 month school
Paramendra Bhagat: i think it should not take more than that
Purandar Ghimire: rally and protest is good..but u have to raise awarness among Americans too so that they will pressure their congressman and senators
Purandar Ghimire
: you will not be surprise that there will be another compromise Purandar Ghimire: and Strongman is buying the time that is it
Purandar Ghimire
: so don't be so much oppestimics
Purandar Ghimire
: if there is compromise then another time buying
Paramendra Bhagat: don't you think there is less of a chance for that after the policy changes the two big parties have undergone?
Paramendra Bhagat: what could be the compromise?
Purandar Ghimire: maybe reinstment of parliment
Paramendra Bhagat: king g might be too smart for his own good
Paramendra Bhagat: how would that be bad?
Purandar Ghimire: maybe king will play role there
Paramendra Bhagat: reinstatement also leads to a CA
Paramendra Bhagat: As long as the end product is a CA, I am open to how we get there.
Purandar Ghimire: okies if he rinstat then he will buy more than 50 parlimentrains then there will be big conflict
Paramendra Bhagat: what do you mean buy?
Paramendra Bhagat: who could he buy?
Paramendra Bhagat: buy for what? to not go for a CA?
Purandar Ghimire: hey money and power play big role in Nepal
Paramendra Bhagat: they do
Paramendra Bhagat: but buy to what effect?
Paramendra Bhagat: i think there is no stopping a CA
Purandar Ghimire: CA will be disater with king's leadership
Paramendra Bhagat: there is too much of a groundswell for it
Paramendra Bhagat: it will not be king's ca, it will be an all party gov's CA
Purandar Ghimire: king will win like MUsareff
Paramendra Bhagat: he will not have that option
Paramendra Bhagat: all party gov goes to CA
Purandar Ghimire: have a insightful thougts
Purandar Ghimire
: how can party play role with king's leadership
Purandar Ghimire
: and who is giving CA
Paramendra Bhagat: once an all party gov is formed, the king goes into the background
Purandar Ghimire: and who is holding it
Purandar Ghimire
: who formed all party government
Purandar Ghimire
: so if king is there he always will be winner
Paramendra Bhagat: once the parliament is revived, or even if it is not, an all party government gets formed as an outlet
Purandar Ghimire: who is reviving parliment
Paramendra Bhagat: u mean only a republic will save the day?
Paramendra Bhagat: Supreme Court?
Purandar Ghimire: indeed that is the main point
Purandar Ghimire
: it will shape the country
Paramendra Bhagat: the SC has become much bolder recently
Purandar Ghimire: and who will initiate SC decesion
Purandar Ghimire
: nope they are doing for the shake of doing
Paramendra Bhagat: once the SC has decided, the parliament comes back to life, the king does not have to do anything to revive
Paramendra Bhagat: legal mumbojumbo complicates thing .... but the solution to the crisis has to be done politically
Purandar Ghimire: my freind you will not see that day
Paramendra Bhagat: the day of a CA?
Purandar Ghimire: yes indeed
Paramendra Bhagat: if not, then what are we struggling for?
Purandar Ghimire: under the control of political party
Paramendra Bhagat: if not a CA, what other possible democratic goal is there?
Purandar Ghimire: we have to go for republic
Paramendra Bhagat: well, the UML and NC both now agree with you!!
Purandar Ghimire: in the main time we will have some kind of in security but in long run country will take a shape
Purandar Ghimire
: i don't like this short term patching up
Paramendra Bhagat: but neither have shown the people a roadmap to that republic? will it be through a revolution? or what?
Paramendra Bhagat: i am not attached to the monarchy, but i am not an ideological republican either
Purandar Ghimire: indeed that is mistake from their side
Paramendra Bhagat: i lay my thought out in a transparent manner on a regular basis here:
Paramendra Bhagat: if it is to be a revolution, then the constitutional provisions do not matter much ....
Purandar Ghimire: indeed
Paramendra Bhagat: but i don't think the UML and the NC have made that clear
Purandar Ghimire: let's see
Paramendra Bhagat: i am for peace and democracy and social justice ..... it is just that i am for all three together
Paramendra Bhagat: there can not be a priority list of this first and this second and this third
Paramendra Bhagat: u know, i was thinking ..... do u mind if i publish this conversation at my blog, b/c it is reflective of the fog in the democratic camp right now
Paramendra Bhagat: this is also journalism!
Purandar Ghimire: yes u can
Paramendra Bhagat: how long have you been in DC?
Paramendra Bhagat: i will
Paramendra Bhagat: but let's keep talking for now ... thanks
Purandar Ghimire: okies
Paramendra Bhagat: my first choice proposal is to retain a constitutional monarchy still, so as to avoid a headlong confrontation, but that decision does not rest with the democrats
Paramendra Bhagat: the ball is in the king's court, it has been for a long time now
Purandar Ghimire: indeed ball is there
Paramendra Bhagat: and the longer the stalemate goes, less the incentive or political possibility to retain the monarchy in any form
Paramendra Bhagat: the two biggest parties detaching themselves from the monarchy over the past few days .... that is huge
Purandar Ghimire: yes indeed they are
Paramendra Bhagat: that shows a major shift in public opinion at the ground level
Paramendra Bhagat: a major groundswell
Purandar Ghimire: indeed
Paramendra Bhagat: the Maoists must be happy ... their slogan of a Democratic Republic has been adopted by two of the biggest bears in the ring
Paramendra Bhagat: i am glad for the work you are doing in DC
Paramendra Bhagat: that is important
Paramendra Bhagat: public protests are important, but ultimately you have get a little sophisticated and hit the corridors of power
Purandar Ghimire: yes indeed, but you got to know who are real maoist and who are running it
Paramendra Bhagat: what do you mean?
Purandar Ghimire: do you why Maosit are fighting for???
Paramendra Bhagat: bhupi said: yo halli halla ko desh ho
Purandar Ghimire: indeed now u come to the point....
Paramendra Bhagat: well, choice 1, communist republic, choice 2, democratic republic
Purandar Ghimire: so that we do less halla and collective things
Paramendra Bhagat: yo hallai halla ko desh ho ....... by that i mean, i personally am skeptical of outlandish conspiracy theories
Purandar Ghimire: democratic republic
Paramendra Bhagat: yes, that is what they say
Paramendra Bhagat: they are aware they can not get anything more
Paramendra Bhagat: a communist republic is out of question, a democratic republic is hard enough
Paramendra Bhagat: UML, NC, Maoists, People's Front ...... they all have lined up for a Democratic Republic
Paramendra Bhagat: the king is losing precious time
Paramendra Bhagat: sep 16 protests are really going to boost morale in kathmandu and elsewhere in nepal
Paramendra Bhagat: u know, i think we should establish democracy in nepal, and then we should export it elsewhere in the region, like maldives, burma, pakistan
Paramendra Bhagat: u there?
Purandar Ghimire:
Purandar Ghimire:
u there
Paramendra Bhagat:
Paramendra Bhagat:
it's ok if u are busy, we can catch up some other time
Purandar Ghimire:
Purandar Ghimire:
it is my pleasure to talkign with u
Paramendra Bhagat:
same here
Paramendra Bhagat:
i will email you soon
Paramendra Bhagat:
more later
Paramendra Bhagat:
and see you on the 16th .... it is going to be a day when history gets made
Purandar Ghimire:
Paramendra Bhagat:
bye .... later

September 16 Buzz Machine

Yesterday I was in Little Italy for a dinner-out. And one of the topics that came up was how the word on the September 16 protest rally was vigorously being spread around the New York University campus. I guess the buzz machine has been working overtime. I am pleased.

This might end up being one of the largest rallies of Nepalis in the US ever. Too bad it is on a Friday. If it were a Saturday, it would have proven much easier on a lot of people. In Kathmandu Friday or Saturday does not seem to matter too much. But New York City is a workaholic place. As is America in general. It is much harder to take time off here.

I know most of the key organizers. But I have not been involved with the logistics a whole lot. The details happen not to be my specialty. I am one of those who show up! I look more at the big picture of the unfolding movement. We all have to do our part.

In The News
  • Changing Times: Kangressi Sammelan UWB .... the compound of majestic Birendra International Convention Center (BICC) in New Baneshwor nearly 9 years ago ....... Koirala had to stop speaking for at least 45 seconds because of the strong sound coming out from the chopper that was hired by one of his wealthy supporters in the party. Huh…those were the heydays of Koirala and his party........ Today, I saw him, the same but tired and weary Koirala, approaching the microphone that produced very bad sound over a poorly maintained stage in the dusty playground of Jawalakhel to assure his depressed cadres...... “I am sure,” remarked Amik Serchan, leader of Samyukta Janamorcha, “Mr. Koirala is very well aware of the fact that Nepal needs to go for loktantrik ganatantra (democratic republicanism) via the election of constituent assembly.” ....... the crowd erupted clapping and producing a thunderous voice when Serchan uttered the words like Loktantrik Ganatantra and Constituent assembly ....... Serchan attracted the most vibrant and attracting clappings among the whole corps of speakers that included Madhav Kumar Nepal, Gopal Man Shrestha, Surya Bahadur Thapa, Lokendra Bahadur Chand, C P Mainali, and some second generation leaders from Indian political parties......... “King has been busy attacking political parties,” Koirala commented on the interview. “He says political parties are without vision. I don’t understand this. Yes, he might have a business vision but I don’t know what other visions he has.” ........ “For me the king has four identities,” Koirala said. “1. The king. 2. Prime Minister. 3. Civil Servant. and 4. politician. Where will the country reach when a king does politics? Politics is not for kings. That is for politicians......... Anil Sasthri (son of former Indian PM Lal Bahadur Sasthri and central member of Indian National Congress): Today India is emerging as a political, economic and military superpower in the world. That is because we have been enjoying democracy for the last 56 years. Nepal too needs democracy to achieve progress......... A few ambassadors, including the Indian, were present in the ceremony. They were seated under a tent on the right side of the stage where Speaker Taranath Ranabhat (who still claims to be a Kangressi) was seen sitting with former speaker and activist Daman Nath Dhungana........ Girija Prasad Koirala. When he came to the venue 10 minutes after the scheduled time of 2 PM, a thunderous Long Live Nepali Congress welcomed him....... When I saw him from the distance of about a foot, he was a glowing figure, yes even at the age of 83. I hate him for his undemocratic stand in several issues within the party, but I can’t ignore the appeal of his tremendous and impressive personality.
  • Congress Bows To The Popular Wish UWB People hold such a power that even haughty & stubborn leaders like Girija Prasad Koirala bow their head in front of it...... “Immediately after hearing about the party’s decision thousands of cadres present in the party’s central office expressed happiness by congratulating each other.”....... Nepali Congress opting for new policy is his moral defeat. Koirala hasn’t hid his love toward constitutional monarchy. He branded Gagan Thapa and Narahari Acharya as “durbaria” (pawns of royal palace), a derogatory term within the party, when they advocated for the democratic republicanism. But in the central committee meeting he found only one supporter in his own niece- Shailaja Acharya who is famous for her incoherent stands over the issues. So, if he has any morality left in the 83-year-old body, he should withdraw his candidacy for the presidency of Nepali Congress........
  • The Age Of Kings Is Over: Daman Nath Dhungana Nepali Times ....Nepal.... People are dying like mice. The king has been moving ahead with the attitude of ‘I am the state and it belongs to me’. The problem would not have reached such a scale if only the constituent assembly was agreed upon in Hapure (during the second round of peace talks)......... the people can frame their own constitution and decide where to place the king. The alternative would be a republic. Democracy does not need a monarchy...... Nepal’s monarchy is no longer a symbol of nationalism and national unity........ Without India’s mediation the problem will not be solved....... Is there any country where people failed after emperors, kings and maharajas left? The Indians managed quite well after the British quit. ........................................... ................................................................... Despondent Koirala ....Samaya.. . Girija Prasad Koirala created quite a national controversy by blurting out in his hometown Biratnagar that Narhari Acharya and Gagan Thapa were royalists. Now that the Nepali Congress chief is back in the capital, he denies saying anything so stupid and is blaming the media for spreading false rumours, suggesting a conspiracy. But his party workers say otherwise. According to them GP said the same sorts of things about late UML leader Madan Bhandari as well. In this view the palace was the brains behind the fast rise in popularity of Bhandari, Acharya and Thapa. The leader also reportedly criticised civil society for ridiculing party politicians in public gatherings. Koirala is all set to turn back national politics by assaulting the aspirations of youth leaders and the republican movement. It seems apparent that he is quite exhausted with the popularity gained by his younger cadre, especially the respect and attention given by party workers. His displeasure was very visible during the mass welcome given to Thapa at Pokhara airport, which Koirala witnessed. NC workers now believe the leader is worried about the majority of party support going towards Thapa, who is actively advocating a republican system.................................................................................................................................... Sachit Samsher Rana .... Jana Aastha ..... I have heard there are people who claim that I offered wrong advice to the king. I would like to know what that were. If it was my suggestion that the parties should be labelled anti-national, then I can justify my argument. The leaders of these parties went to New Delhi to meet Baburam Bhattarai and it was afterwards that we heard they would be joining hands................ I had said that the parties are dancing to a foreign tune. I said so because the parties were meeting the same persons they had once termed terrorists. If they can stoop so low just for state power then we shouldn’t hesitate to call them anti-national. I spoke the truth, and I stick to my position.................. When the present Constitution was being prepared we lobbied for certain provisions: the state should be secular and the king should be given the authority of a head of the state. I think the power that the king used by invoking Article 127 was a result of that suggestion...................... The other suggestion was that the RNA should be kept under the supreme command of the king. If our suggestion was unheeded the army would have been politicised and the Maoists would have occupied the country by now. The army would have suffered the fate of the police. You must thank us for that. I don’t agree that my expressions have driven a wedge between the king and the parties. The distance was already there, ever since the parties started talking about moving towards republic. For four years the parties have been raising hackles about Article 127. They have repeatedly asked the people to join their movement but the people have never listened to them. So they started going abroad to talk to the Maoists. If they really need to they should talk to them in Nepal.
  • Signs of Return To Normalitude by Kunda Dixit, Nepali Times .... In fact, just this morning while attending to a call from Nature I was temporarily disconnected because Nature as usual wasn’t calling me on my landline, but when we lost contact again I was naturally delighted. It was proof that things in Nepal are rapidly returning to normalness........ Nepal Telecom needs to be commended for reconnecting our pre-paid, post-paid, and un-paid mobiles after a six month hiatus. And the fact that because of network congestion the phones don’t work anymore again is the surest indication so far that things are back to the pre-February First situation of business as unusual. Even if the rollback of the royal takeover may take some more time because of delays in the demolition of the Democracy Wall, we are already rolling back on the telecommunications front........ Government cars are being set on fire outside Ascol just like in the good old days. And yesterday we had our first attempted bombard of a post-office. OK, the pressure cooker didn’t go off, but the message was loud and clear..... At the pace we are going we should restore full-blown demagoguery by mid-September. Not that it would make any difference to most of you here who are fast asleep. Hey, wake up, the speechification is over.
  • A Phoney Business: Nepal Telecom Being Sacrificed Nepali Times .... favouritism towards Nepal’s first private mobile operator in which King Gyanendra’s son-in-law has a share...... Nepal Telecom has been allowed to issue only a limited number of new mobiles, and it has been forced to delay its plans to launch a CDMA wireless phone network in the Valley....... post-February First the government was delaying full resumption of Nepal Telecom’s services in order to favour Spice Nepal Pvt Ltd (SNPL) in which King Gyanendra’s son-in-law Raj Bahadur Singh owns a stake. Spice Cell which is a joint venture with Kazakh and Cyprus-based companies with links to Russia-based Nepali billionaire, Upendra Mahato......... a strategy to keep us out of the competition till Spice Cell comes into the market...... Nepal Telecom’s managing director, Sugatratna Kansakar said the launch of 75,000 new CDMA wireless phones had been postponed till November. There are 100,000 units of CDMA sets lying in storage at Birganj customs........ Karki (who is also chairman of Nepal Telecom) did attend the ‘soft launch’ of Spice Cell on 9 August and made a ceremonial call to NTA’s Suresh Pudasaini on the Spice system. Indeed, the conditions under which the ownership of Spice Cell was transferred from the Khetan Group that originally won the bid in 2000 to the new joint venture partners has not been fully revealed, especially the Rs 2.2 billion royalty it was supposed to pay the government....... Nepal Telecom has always been one of the highest revenue earners for the state. It earned Rs 4.8 billion last year and pays Rs 80 million a year to the government to provide security to its microwave repeater towers. But Nepal Telecom has lost Rs 1.3 billion in expected revenue since 1 February....... “The Maoists are blowing up our exchanges and repeater towers, and in the capital the royal regime is busy gobbling up our revenue and not allowing us to earn. As far as we are concerned, they are both the same.”
  • The Radical Center by CK Lal Nepali Times ...... a party snared in internal contradictions...... Congress leaders Matrika Prasad Koirala, Tulsi Giri, Biswo Bandhu Thapa, Sribhadra Sharma and Parsu Narayan Chaudhary all fell one by one. The credit for keeping the rump on course must go to Ganesh Man Singh..........making that hard-won democracy work has been more difficult. The rot set in when the personalities of party leaders dominated the NC’s ideology........ an ideology of defensive national identity based on acute ethnocentrism, mindless schizophrenia, and militant chauvinism........ Under Sher Bahadur Deuba and his band of political opportunists, the NC became a status quo force. ...... Deuba showed his conservative character when he prematurely dissolved parliament in the dead of the night on 22 May 2002. Had it functioned for some more weeks, lawmakers were on the verge of passing far-reaching changes in the constitution to bring the Maoists into the political mainstream......... Deuba’s departure was an opportunity for reform that Koirala failed to grab........ After February First, there was no way a political party could swear by a constitutional monarchy and still be relevant. Any party that feels the people’s pulse can’t have failed to realise that federalism, not merely decentralisation, is going to be the structure of the state in future......... the day when elected regional leaders will be in command with a committee of presidents at the centre formulating national policies through a system of collective leadership. The Koiralas can’t keep operating the party like a family business just because King Gyanendra is running the country like a private limited company....... the favourite excuse of all conservatives: history can’t be hurried........