Short answer: No.
There were rumors yesterday to the effect he is waiting for the UN jamboree to get over, and then he is going to ban the political parties, arrest a few hundred leaders, and totally clamp down.
Yo hallai halla ko desh ho.
First, the timing will make no sense. In this day and age of global communication, it does not really matter that the heads of state are no longer convening in New York, that they have already gone home. 10 days from now is not a better time. And the global reaction now is going to be much more fierce than it was after 2/1. The Maoists have declared a ceasefire. You respond to that by declaring an emergency? Would make no sense.
Second, for the king to go that route would be akin to inviting a political depression for himself. He ends up in a bigger ditch. The global reaction after 2/1 will look like a picnic should he impose another emergency. On ther other hand, what he is sticking to is his three year mantra. That he has shown no signs of abandoning. Rumors of an impending emergency are not news, his obstinacy is.
What is hurting the democrats is an utter refusal to do political homework. Leaders find it easier to show up at public functions and wax eloquent than to actually hold political dialogue, to work towards a platform that might ignite the people's imagination and to downright organize.
The king does not have to impose an emergency. He just has to keep refusing to give in. That is and will be bad enough. And that is his obvious gameplan. It is called inertia.
So, no, it is not a possible emergency. It is municipal polls.
Sharad Chandra Shaha
I just called him up at his hotel and left a voice mail. It would not hurt to meet and talk. Though I am not sure how much leeway he has, with the king totally focusing on his three year mantra and the municipal polls. But I would still be interested in meeting Shaha, just to get a feel for the guy. And to open up a channel of communication. Or maybe he is not interested. Paramendra who?
I got an email from Charlie. The thing about this possibility is not the amount of money that might get raised. It is more that it will get raised all over the country. And these students who donate will be in a position to call up their Senators and other elected representatives, should the occasion arise.
Prachanda Baburam Two Line Struggle
Baburam is not about to get arrested again, but I read Prachanda's interview yesterday and the impression I got was there is a two line struggle going on between them. For Baburam Prakash Karat is a hero. For Prachanda that might not be the case. One most important reason to engage the Maoists in peace talks might be to wedge into that rift. I think Prachanda feels intellectually inferior to Baburam, but Prachanda has better organizational skills. So he keeps putting out position papers to present himself as an ideological rival to Baburam. Otherwise some of the things Prachanda says in the interview make little sense.
"The democratic republic, which we are saying, is the transitional republic that can address the problems related to class, nationality, region and sex in today’s Nepal. Transitional means, it is a republic in between new democratic republic and parliamentary republic with Nepalese specificity."
What is this supposed to mean? That is why it is important for the seven parties to engage the Maoists in talking about what the next constitution might look like.
The King's Visits
Obviously he is no longer just a mayor of Kathmandu. The guy apparently has been doing his homework. His visits to various parts of the country send a message.
On the other hand, when he visits, he is mostly surrounded by his sycophants. How much reality does he get to see?
But still, just being able to go to some of the districts that have been considered Maoist fortresses gets him scoring a few points.
So far the masses have not showed up in large numbers for the protests. I think it is for the lack of a forward looking political program. But the momentum is there. The resources are few. It will take some time.
Monarchists And Indophobia
Prachanda declares a ceasefire and the first reaction of the Monarchists is to spread false rumors about Prachanda being an Indian stooge. That right there might be my number one gripe with the Monarchists.
Dictator Mahendra banned Hindi. He tried his best to dilute the Madhesi population in the Terai.
Maoist Military Strength: Diminished?
Let's for a moment believe the monarchist propaganda. If it is true, that is good news. There is more room to forge a political alliance with the Maoists.
Do I believe they are less strong now? I don't know. The RNA is a traditional army. The PLA is a guerrilla army. The PLA fights a war of asymmetry. The RNA yardsticks might not be accurate.
If the king can make it safe for the people to vote, and the muncipal polls are announced, that would really put the parties in a bind.
On the other hand, that step would also be like inviting the Maoists to do something "spectacular" to disrupt the polls. What a disaster that would be.
Third option: the Maoists and the Democrats make the best use of the three months, and forge an Alliance Of Steel. That could pre-empt the polls.
In The News
- Security personnel stop General Secretary Nepal: UML NepalNews Nepal addressed a mass meeting and instructed his party cadres on recent political developments and his party’s decision to lobby towards ‘democratic republic’ in Dang district.
- Over dozen injured in student protests
- Feudal system main cause of discrimination against Dalits: Experts
- NEPAL: Democracy demonstrations continue Reuters AlertNet, UK
- Nepal to recruit 7,000 soldiers People's Daily Online, China
- Nepali army finds vital documents of guerrillas
People's Daily Online Nepal invites UN observers to monitor Municipal polls Press Trust of India, India
- US Support for the King of Nepal is Important NewsBlaze, CA
- US army top brass on assessment trip to Nepal NewKerala.com, India Lt.General John Brown, commander of the US Army, Pacific, arrives in Nepal Tuesday to assess the situation in the country and discuss matters relating to defence with the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA)...... the first visit to Nepal by a top US military official since Feb 1.... While Nepal's major opposition parties have agreed to press for a republic and begin talks directly with the Maoist insurgents, the US feels the king is still undoubtedly one of the major players in Nepali politics. ..... US Ambassador to Nepal James Francis Moriarty has said that for suspended supplies of weapons to resume, the army needs to improve its human rights record and the king needs to restore multiparty democracy and media freedom. ...... Brown, who is flying in from Hawaii where the US Army, Pacific, is headquartered, will proceed to Bangladesh Wednesday.
- Maoist rebels kill 15 in Jharkhand village Reuters India, India
- Newsday Lies about the Revolutionary Road in Nepal Revolutionary Worker Online, IL Newsday, a liberal newspaper in New York, recently ran a special nine-part series by Matthew McAllester on the Maoist revolution in Nepal (August 14-17, 2005). Like recent articles in Harper’s magazine and Rolling Stone, McAllester echoes the U.S. State Department, arguing that the Maoist revolution is a horrible and totalitarian thing that must be stopped at all costs. And like most mainstream coverage of the People’s War in Nepal, this Newsday series is based on disinformation, outright lies, and extreme anti-communist hysteria........