Thursday, November 24, 2005

Democratic Unity Needed

Seven Party Committee At Center And In Districts, Need Of The Hour

The UML tries to organize a protest rally in Butwal, the regime tries to foil it. The Nepali Congress tries to organize one in Morang, the local administration prevents it. The UML is working to organize a rally in Pokhara, the administration is working to foil it.

The two big parties are still not one. They are going their own separate ways. There is a lack of unity. That prevents the collapse of the current regime.

The concept of a common minimum program has not been applied.

Girija Koirala wants the king to use Article 127 to revive the dead horse of the 1999 House. Madhav Nepal is opposed to the idea of reviving the House using Article 127. The king does not have the technical option to revive the House using Article 127. That right there is the Gordian Knot of Nepali politics. All problems the country faces right now emanate from this knot.

Gordian Knot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And so the seven parties do not really have a common agenda. And so there is not only no unity, there is no common action plan. This is not the time to compete. That time will come later. That time will come after the Maoists have disarmed and joined the interim government. Then the parties go their separate ways and compete. But right now is exactly the wrong time to be competing.

The parties have a common enemy, but not a common program. There is no common action plan.

The seven parties should first build a common agenda. They already have a four point agenda that they chalked out but do not agree on. All they have to do is revise it, and turn it into a three point agenda.

Then they form a seven person committee at the center, and a seven person committee in all districts where all seven parties have a presence. In some districts you will have only four, or five or six person committtees, because not all of the seven parties are present in all 75 districts, and that is okay. But this show of unity is crucial.

This movement is being waged for both the Nepali people and for the global audience. Democratic unity has to be exhibited.

But instead, there is no common agenda, and the UML and the Nepali Congress are organizing their separate programs. It is better than nothing, but it is not the best option, especially when the regime has been actively trying to thwart the attempts. These are not normal times. You are much safer and more productive if united.

Democratic unity is not an easy thing to forge. Democrats by definition like to speak their minds, and stake out their positions. And it is okay to differ. But that is where the concept of a common minimum program comes to good use. You start with things you do agree on. And then you slowly expand that base.

And the endgame has not been given much thought.

Say you organize a rally like in Butwal in every town, also in the capital city. Then what? You still are out of power. The king gets to brag to the world he allows protest rallies. And he is still securely in place. What is the gain for us?

This king will not respond to a protest rally here, a protest rally there. You will have to imitate what happened in Ukraine in 2004. You take over one open public space, and you stay there until the regime collapses, day in, day out.

And that is still not the complete endgame. There will have to be a second step.

Say 300,000 people take over New Road and the vicinity for three weeks, and Nepal hits the world headlines, and there is this major pressure on the king, and he relents. Then what? I think he is going to say, okay, I will use Article 127 and an all party government can be formed. Will the parties go for it? That decision has to be made now. You can not postpone this topic for later. It is for things like these that you need a permanent seven person committee of the seven parties. Perhaps there should be a mandatory weekly meeting of that permanent committee.

What is another option? I guess the parties could argue for an interim government. They could say, forget Article 127. Let's instead make a political decision to form an interim government. That would be a valid thing to say. But if that is what will be said, that has to be decided now, or the king will be in a position to play one against the other, like he did last time.

The Krishna Prasad Bhattarai government of 1990 was not formed within the Panchayat constitution. Maybe we are at a similar juncture now.

There is a third option. You also invite the Maoists into the picture. There is a roundtable conference of the three forces. An interim government gets formed that puts my Proposed Constitution to a referendum.

40 Reasons Why The Three Forces Should Come Ar0und To My Proposed Constitution

All three options are good, in my viewpoint. It is for the seven parties to decide which they want to go for. I personally think the third option is the best. It saves a lot of time and energy and money. But it is for the three forces to decide what they want, what they can agree on.

But the key point is the endgame has to be thought through.

There are many solutions. There are many options. But the departure point to all is to ditch the unnatural House revival stance. Unless you do that, nothing else happens. Things only get worse.

Look at this scenario. Girija does not let go the House revival stance. The UML and the Congress hold separate rallies, big ones, one a week, in different parts of the country, all through December and January. The king does not budge. It is already February. The Maoists make an active attempt to disrupt the February 8 polls. There are serial bomb blasts in most towns the night of February 7. There are few fatalities, but the population is scared.

Is that what the seven parties want?

Another option is, Girija lets go the House revival stand. The seven parties agree on a three point program. They imitate Ukraine. There are 300,000 people who take over New Road for three weeks. Nepal hits the world headlines. The king relents. An all party government is formed. There are peace talks with the Maoists. The Maoist army gets partially integrated into the state army. The Maoists join the government. The country goes to a constituent assembly.

Which of the two options will the seven parties go for?

The key is to understand the departure point is to let go the House revival stand.

I mean, am I missing something here? If I am, those who disagree should make their case. Why? How?

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