Sunday, September 30, 2007

ICG: Nepal's Fragile Peace Process

Policy Briefing
Asia Briefing N°68
Kathmandu/Brussels, 28 September 2007
Nepal’s Fragile Peace Process

I. Overview

A Maoist walk-out from government on 18 September 2007 and mainstream political parties’ intransigence are threatening elections for Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) scheduled for 22 November. Although a compromise to bring the Maoists back on board is possible, the heightened tensions add to longstanding problems including weak political will, poor governance and security, and continued claims for representation by marginalised groups. The Maoists could contest elections from outside government but polls without their participation would be meaningless, and they retain the capacity to make the country ungovernable if they oppose the process. Critical elements of the 2006 peace deal, such as security sector reform, remain to be tackled, while implementation and monitoring of past agreements have been minimal. Primary responsibility for steering the process lies with the mainstream parties, which need to demonstrate coherence, commitment and a will to reform their own behaviour if lasting peace is to be established.

Parties have started emphasising the importance of the election, and increased signs of commitment from most have added momentum to a process which had been suffering from dangerous drift. At the same time, the formerly confident Maoists have shown increasing nervousness at facing the electorate. Maintaining a sense of purpose, especially through nationwide campaigning, will increase public confidence and leave less room for spoilers to manoeuvre. Opponents of the process, especially royalists alarmed at the growing republican consensus, are desperate to derail it but have a chance only if the major parties are weak and divided.

Several armed groups have vowed to disrupt the election; mid-September communal violence following the killing of a former vigilante leader left around two dozen dead and illustrated how easily a fragile situation can tilt into dangerous unrest. More serious violence is a real risk. An election postponement will only reduce such dangers if major parties agree on urgent, substantive steps to address the grievances and governance failings that have fostered recent unrest. Failing this, further delays will only make solutions harder to find and invite unhelpful recrimination and finger-pointing.

The November 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was never as comprehensive as its name implied, and it has been undermined by limited implementation and monitoring. Maoist discontent is partly a result of exaggerated expectations but has been exacerbated by the lack of effort on all sides to build genuine eight-party consensus and fulfil all parts of the peace deal. The mutual confidence that enabled the agreement to be reached had to increase to ensure its implementation; instead it has decreased in many areas, with parties unwilling to recognise their shared responsibilities to make it work. The ball is in the government’s court, with the mainstream parties needing to address reasonable Maoist concerns, hold firm to democratic principles and take sensible steps to engage CA opponents.

The government and its constituent parties should:

sustain efforts to bring the Maoists back on board;
start nationwide electoral campaigning, on a party basis but also emphasising a common agenda of peace and constitutional change, recognising unambiguously that an elected assembly, not the appointed body some politicians have quietly sought, is the only way to guarantee the process’ legitimacy;
create a secure environment for free and fair polls by reaching cross-party consensus on security plans, engaging groups opposed to the polls in dialogue, and discussing the functioning of post-poll government and the CA, including how to guarantee roles for all stakeholders;
develop mutually agreed mechanisms to implement the CPA and monitor parties’ fulfilment of their commitments;
take on security sector reform, with both short-term measures to boost local accountability and trust in the police and by moving forward discussion of longer-term plans, including the future of the national and Maoist armies;
deal sensibly with Maoist fighters in cantonments, resolving disputes over allowances and facilities and building on cooperation in these areas and the now resumed combatant verification process; and
tackle impunity (for example, acting on disappearances while starting a genuine consultation on broader transitional justice issues) and restore trust in the judiciary (including by the Maoists stopping parallel people’s courts), and in institutions such as National Human Rights Commission.

The international community should:

support the peace process and the elections, including by giving practical help through monitors and reminding all political actors, especially the Maoists, that obstructing progress will cost them international legitimacy;
offer development assistance only in accordance with the spirit of the CPA, which includes recognising the Maoists’ party, the CPN(M), as a legitimate political actor (and part of the government, should it rejoin) and engaging it in donor programs, including in security sector reform and political training; and
without raising expectations that it can resolve domestic political difficulties, be prepared to offer good offices to facilitate consensus if requested by the parties.

II. On Track for the Elections?

The government has consistently maintained that the constituent assembly elections will take place as scheduled. However, a public which heard similar assurances in the run-up to the original June 2007 deadline has been understandably sceptical. The 18 September Maoist withdrawal from the government does not in itself make polls impossible but raises the likelihood of a further postponement or graver threats to the process. Maoist leaders insist they have not abandoned the peace plan but their new preconditions for participation (most notably the immediate declaration of a republic) suggest they would at least prefer a later date, if not to avoid elections altogether.

The Maoists (CPN(M)) had been the most notable among the governing parties to cast doubt on the viability of the polls; other politicians stayed on message in public while privately exploring options to convert the interim legislature into a constitution-drafting body, thus bypassing elections. Questions of poor security and rushed technical preparations have also dogged the run-up, compounded by the lengthy public holidays in October and November that will reduce the time to address pending issues.

The Maoist withdrawal. The four remaining Maoist ministers (one, Matrika Yadav, had earlier quit) resigned from government on 18 September following the expiry of their deadline for the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) to meet their demands. The Maoists have not pulled out of the interim legislature – which is not currently in session – or of other cross-party bodies such as the joint cantonment monitoring committee. Their leaders remain in constant touch with other party representatives, and dialogue has not broken down. Both sides hold out the hope of a deal to restore eight-party consensus; the Maoists could also remain out of government but still contest the elections from opposition. However, the street protests whose launch they have announced could turn into a campaign to obstruct the polls.

The Maoist withdrawal was prompted by unhappiness with the implementation of the peace deal, pressure from their own cadres and a growing realisation that their electoral prospects may be poor. The steps they have taken to democratise their own behaviour and prepare for free and fair campaigning have been limited, and their own analysis has, belatedly, started to concur with independent estimates that they will trail the NC and UML when the votes are in. Negotiating for concessions behind closed doors may seem preferable to facing the likelihood of an unflattering popular verdict. If they can be persuaded to rejoin the SPA with a revised agreement, they have proposed reconvening the interim legislature to vote on a republic and endorse any other new arrangements. The amended interim constitution allows such a decision on a republic, if the king is seen as a threat to the CA, despite the parties’ initial commitment to defer decision to that body’s own first sitting.

Political will. By early September political will appeared to be strengthening, accompanied by practical campaign steps. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has repeatedly insisted there is no alternative to the scheduled elections. His party, the Nepali Congress (NC), has adopted a federal republican manifesto and, despite frequently stalled negotiations, has put itself in a stronger position by reunifying with the breakaway Nepali Congress (Democratic), known as the NC(D) and led by former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist, UML) has long appeared most confident, having already finalised a policy platform and started canvassing voters. The Maoists, initially the most vocal CA advocates, have started retraining cadres to campaign peacefully but have also announced a program of strikes and street protests. Smaller members of the governing coalition have little influence but appear to be gearing up. Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula (NC) has even suggested his party’s decision to abandon the monarchy could enable all eight parties to present a common platform.

Security. The fragile situation hampers a free and fair campaign and, should results be disputed, a stable post-election environment. There is little law and order, and police morale and capacity is low. Maoist efforts have focused on maintaining a parallel force, primarily the Young Communist League (YCL); the army, excluded from poll security and largely confined to barracks, has been making contingency plans, mainly focused on an attempted Maoist takeover. Although the CPA ban on its deployment remains official policy, senior party leaders have started talking up the benefits of involvement. Strikes and protests have disrupted daily life worst in the Tarai, especially its central and eastern districts. Three simultaneous bombings in Kathmandu on 2 September 2007 left three dead and more than two dozen injured and indicated that opponents of the peace process have the will and capacity to resort to extreme measures. The government needs not only to guard against likely further incidents but also to refine plans for election-day security, which depend on recruiting tens of thousands of temporary police.

Governance. As peace process progress slowed, the government faced a further erosion of confidence and capacity. Despite CPA commitments, there has been no agreement on reestablishing local government bodies; the reach of government at the village level has not increased, and in some areas, including much of the Tarai, has shrunk. Service delivery has been poor or non-existent, with much development work suspended, especially in the Tarai, where many remaining civil servants have been intimidated into fleeing.

Technical preparations. Nepal has a good track record of parliamentary elections but the CA exercise will be more complicated than past polls. Apart from the political and security issues, the mixed electoral system presents new challenges to administrators and voters. There will be twin ballot papers: one each for first-past-the-post and proportional contests. Collecting and counting all votes will, even without other problems, probably take up to ten days. Moreover, the complex rules designed to ensure representation of the marginalised, including women, Dalits and ethnic groups, will make perfect implementation hard. Parties have to submit candidate lists for the proportional vote in advance but they will not be ranked, and once results are in, the final allocation of seats will be shaped by the need to fulfil guarantees for ethnic and regional representation.

The mixed system, already a delicate and in places ambiguous compromise when enshrined in the interim constitution, has undergone several revisions in the electoral legislation and in response to community demands. Delivering on the deals that have been reached will require bargaining within parties and a degree of consensus between them. Against a background of political confusion, the determination of the Election Commission to ensure technical preparations are in hand and pressure parties to stick to the timetable has stood out. Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokharel and his colleagues have made clear they intend to run a tight ship, including by rigorously enforcing the electoral code of conduct.

III. Parties and Policies

The behaviour of all parties has been characterised by suspicion, partisan interest, lack of faith in the electorate and distrust of consultation, extending to closed-door decision-making by leaderships and elites. The peace process has done little to address these problems, and even its many successes have hardly translated into popular approval or increased mutual confidence. The weakness in forging eight-party consensus has been exacerbated by poor discipline within most parties, with individual politicians making provocative statements and pursuing personal agendas in public. Civil society groups, which played a crucial role in the campaign against royal rule, have suffered from splits and personality clashes.

The governing parties have hinted at extending cooperation and consensus-based decision-making after the elections, and some representatives have started discreet discussions on what this might entail. At a minimum, the major parties will probably guarantee each other’s main leaders an easy ride in first-past-the-post (FPTP), single-member constituencies. They may also address pre-poll anxieties by forging a common understanding on coalition government even if election results change the balance of power. The task of keeping the process on track is far from straightforward. In a political arena crowded with many parties, electoral constituencies, politically interested institutions such as the palace and army, powerful international players (in particular, India) and debilitating intra-party tensions, leaders constantly have an eye on other actors’ positions and relationships and seek to retain flexibility. Policy-making, therefore, is always contingent, conditional and influenced by a wide array of variables.

A. The Mainstream Parties

Establishing a viable, reformed democratic system will be impossible without the mainstream parties. However, they have dragged their feet on many critical issues. Quick to lecture other institutions on the need to create a “new Nepal”, they have done little to question their own attitudes and behaviour. Despite a shift in rhetoric, especially in recognising the need to be more inclusive, they have not set a good example. Mainstream party leaders’ equivocal approach to the polls and peace process has had a corrosive effect on public confidence and political progress, giving the impression of enjoying a return to power and being too comfortable to face elections.

The democratic parties are right to see their revival in the face of hostile armed forces (the army-backed king and the Maoists) as a victory. But they have been slow to acknowledge that they have to build on this by helping the Maoists join the mainstream and persuading the army it will benefit from democratic control. Understandable partisan interests have led some leaders to revel in the difficulties faced by a Maoist leadership under fire from its less accommodating cadres; the parties’ own long-term interests depend on making a success of the peace process. This means not only forcing the Maoists to abandon violence, but working jointly towards a reformed mainstream that moves beyond the failed practices that cost the parties dearly in the post-1990 democratic period.

Congress. The Nepali Congress has faced concurrent challenges, principally the reunification of its two wings and decisions on central policy issues. Lurking in the background is the struggle for succession when its president, Koirala, already in very poor health, hands over the reins without an agreed heir. That the NC and NC(D) would reunite before elections was never in serious doubt. The process, however, was slow and tortuous. Both are top-heavy, with numerous leaders demanding accommodation in a reunified structure. Apart from the personal antagonism between Koirala and Deuba, the latter’s designs on the succession alarm Koirala family loyalists and potential independent contenders. The reunification deal finalised on 25 September was based on a fine, but precarious, balancing of these factors.

On the most sensitive policy – the monarchy – Koirala’s deliberately cautious approach may have paid off. Abandonment of the monarchy has been long enough delayed to leave royalists little time to challenge on the conservative end of the political spectrum, while still assuaging Maoist fears of a secret deal with the palace. However, opinion within the party is still divided – not just on republicanism, but on potentially more controversial issues such as federalism and secularism. Although the reunified party confirmed the republican line, key leaders remain unconvinced. The only surviving NC founding member, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, played a critical role in reuniting the party but resigned from it on 26 September in protest at the abandonment of the monarchy. Whatever the platform position, individual CA delegates could still defy the party whip on votes. Meanwhile, Congress has yet to grasp the nettle of internal reform. The only party that can boast an uninterrupted commitment to multi-party democracy, it remains one of the least democratic internally.

UML. Leaders are confident their party machinery is in good shape: their cadres are organised, motivated and have greater involvement in decisions than those of other parties. However, concern that a mainstreamed CPN(M) could eat into its centre-left support base has made its calculation of Maoist strength critical; they will want to go to the polls when the Maoists are weakest, even if that means postponement. (The alternative approach – a “grand republican alliance” mooted by the Maoists or a more limited seat-sharing deal – looks increasingly unlikely.) The frustration that pushes the UML towards a prompt election, however, results from its treatment as a junior partner in the government, often excluded from key decisions or overridden by the NC-Maoist combine. Even if polls are postponed, the UML will have come out of the pre-poll haggling looking more responsible and committed to the democratic process than its rivals and having won over many former doubters in the international community.

B. The Maoists

Adjusting to the realities of their position has been hard for the Maoists. Leaders have had difficulty selling the compromises of the peace process to increasingly restive cadres; the cantonment of their armed forces has reduced their leverage and left them more vulnerable to the mainstream parties; and participation in government has brought only limited status and influence. They are frustrated that they are expected to transform overnight and fulfil every part of the peace deal, while other parties drag their heels on issues such as security sector reform. However, their own behaviour has often been the major obstacle. They have not dropped the idea of revolutionary change (although they say they want a “peaceful revolution”, they have not unequivocally renounced violence or dismantled their capacity for it), and they have retained the vision of parallel regimes, with separate approaches to security, local government and justice. Even if their prospects of winning power through the ballot box look poor, the Maoists can still make the state ungovernable – a threat they would prefer not to go through with but one which provides leverage at the negotiating table nonetheless.

The Maoists are still a disciplined, motivated and sophisticated political movement with the potential to win support for what is often seen as a fresh, populist agenda. But bold threats of a new uprising reflect insecurity more than strength. The movement faces considerable internal tensions (as the very public criticism of the leadership line at policy meetings indicated) but has limited options (as evidenced by the conditional endorsement of the peace process despite the frustration). Delay in the CA elections has not only undermined the original plan of riding a wave of post-people’s movement popularity but has also allowed the other parties to consolidate and encroach on Maoist political territory. The CPN(M)’s next steps will be designed to counter this setback and to cement the movement’s unity before and beyond elections. The party is determined to avoid succumbing to the splits that have weakened other rebel movements.

Equivocation over the polls – a flurry of contradictory statements has suggested indecision, even rejection – reflects the Maoists’ awkward position. On 20 August, they published 22 preconditions for participation. The principle demands included immediate declaration of a republic, establishment of a commission on involuntary disappearances, a roundtable conference of parties and civil society (including representatives of marginalised communities), release of all detained Maoist cadres and a start to security sector reform. Some of these are points already agreed in the CPA but not implemented (such as action on disappearances and security sector reform); others are old elements of the Maoist agenda (the roundtable conference) or potential bargaining positions designed to pressure the other parties (the immediate republic declaration).

The preconditions have raised understandable questions about Maoist commitment to the elections. While not proving that the CPN(M) is trying to back out of the entire exercise, the withdrawal from government reflects both a deep-seated frustration with the process and a strong compulsion to play to the militant wing of the movement. The Maoist exit from government and proposed street protests will not necessarily derail the peace process but will further undermine the CPA, making it much harder to regain the political trust needed for progress.

For the Maoists, a workable compromise is still possible if agreement can be reached on a few critical issues: a solid cross-party commitment to a republic (preferably an immediate declaration but possibly a conditional guarantee); movement on the future of the PLA and state security sector reform; and the promise of some concrete socio-economic reforms, such as land reform. From the perspective of Maoist leaders, other demands, such as the headline call for a fully proportional electoral system, are in fact less important. A return to government is not inconceivable, but only if it is seen as part of a wider restructuring (including reallocation of ministerial portfolios and new nominees to fill them) rather than a back-down and return to the status quo ante. In the meantime, Maoist leaders would probably be most happy if polls were postponed, and they had time to regroup and reinvigorate their political agenda, making the most of widespread disillusionment with the SPA’s record in government. This is a risky strategy: they could instead find themselves taking the blame for blocking progress and with few new achievements to mollify internal critics.

C. Royalists: Realists and Refuseniks

The NC’s decision to adopt a republican agenda makes the king’s position tenuous but not yet terminal. Moderate royalist parties – the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), led by Pashupati Rana, and the Rastriya Janamukti Party, led by former Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa – have lent critical support to the CA process, urging that the election should go ahead while cautioning that much remains to be done to create the proper environment. Others have adopted a more aggressive line, promising to fight any attempt to end the monarchy and to undermine the state’s Hindu character. The king himself has had his public role further curtailed. Following the nationalisation of his palaces, he moved to a country retreat and has been prevented from appearing at religious functions over which he used to preside. For those determined to save the monarchy, stopping the CA election may become the only option. Some palace supporters are committed enough to use violence and loudly telegraph their desire to see a “democratic coup” sweep aside the eight-party government.

IV. The Shape of the Peace Process

A. An Inclusive Process?

Making Nepal’s democracy more inclusive has become essential to the success of the peace process. This means increasing the participation of many groups who have been severely underrepresented in parties, government and national institutions – women, regional and ethnic communities, caste groups and others. Building more inclusive political structures is the task of the CA, but the need to secure representation in that body and keep key issues on the agenda has led to protest movements and demands.

1. Tarai

The most critical area remains the Tarai, the plains that are home to some half of the population. The way in which long-standing grievances of plains-origin Madhesi communities were allowed to fester illustrated the general weaknesses of the major parties’ handling of the peace process. Following an uprising in January-February 2007, it took months for the government to engage in serious dialogue with the most significant new political group, the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF). Government negotiators concluded a 22-point agreement with the MJF on 30 August, offering measures such as compensation for those killed and injured in the uprising but also forcing the MJF to drop demands such as a fully proportional electoral system and to accept no increase in seats.

The deal with the MJF suggests the possibility of a mainstream consensus on moving towards the election but has also prompted serious disagreement among Madhesi activists. Several MJF central committee members opposed the deal (as did the CPN(M), despite having a representative on the government delegation) and have split from party leader Upendra Yadav, while more extreme groups have continued violence and been joined by further small groups. Following the deal, Yadav has spoken strongly in favour of the polls and has mobilised supporters, suggesting the MJF has a degree of organisation and resources. However, it is unlikely to be the only new player in the Tarai. Senior Madhesis in the mainstream parties may push ahead with plans to register a new regional party.

2. Marginalised communities

Nepal’s many ethnic groups have been pushing for ethnicity-based proportional representation with the National Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN), an umbrella organisation representing some six dozen communities, taking the lead in pressuring the government. It demanded interim constitution amendments to commit to a federal republic based on ethnic autonomy, to remove the ban on ethnic political parties and to end discrimination against indigenous languages. In the face of major parties’ inaction, it submitted formal demands to government negotiators on 26 February 2007, calling for a round-table conference “to come up with an integrated solution and evolve common views on the issue raised by indigenous nationalities, Madhesis, dalits, women and other agitating groups”.

Following a series of public protests and ten rounds of negotiations, a twenty-point deal was reached on 7 August. The government agreed to make the 240 FPTP seats “proportionately representative”, guaranteed that all 59 indigenous groups will have at least one CA representative (even if groups do not have a representative elected from either portion of the electoral system) and promised to establish a State Restructuring Commission. Further concessions included (often unspecific) commitments to recognise local languages, develop mechanisms for wider consultation on future policies and adopt international standards such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This deal reflects the pattern of the peace process: it was concluded as a private arrangement with one group whose representativeness is not unquestioned; many provisions were left deliberately vague; and there is little indication that it will be implemented. Indeed, the prime minister denied all knowledge of the agreement weeks after his minister had signed it. More radical agitators (such as the Federal Limbuwan Rajya Parishad, Khambuwan Rastriya Morcha and Tamsaling Autonomous Rajya Samiti) are still pressing for greater autonomy and threatening to oppose the CA process. Meanwhile, other disadvantaged groups – from Dalits to women of the Badi community, who have traditionally worked as sex workers – continue to fight for better representation.

3. Women

The conflict has given more prominence to women’s issues but despite some organised campaigning, concrete achievements have been minimal. The immediate challenge is to secure better CA representation and to put into practice parties’ rhetorical commitment to women’s rights. Electoral law guarantees significantly increased women’s candidacies for the CA polls (one third of all candidates in both sections and half of those elected under the proportional section) but this alone may not translate into action on remaining issues. Women’s groups and parliamentarians have been effective at joint campaigns on certain issues but their efforts have been undermined by fragmentation, political and institutional rivalries and (particularly in the large NGO sector) competition for funding.

The prospect of increased CA representation and a changed balance in the interim legislature following the CPN(M)’s appointment of 29 women among its 73 representatives have given some momentum to women campaigners, although most are understandably sceptical of parties’ will to transform structures. The conflict has changed perceptions of gender roles and social structures but even the CPN(M) – which likes to see itself as in the vanguard on women’s issues – has yet to grant women real decision-making power within its own structures. Various ethnic and regional groups, such as Madhesi and janajati women, have started campaigning to ensure a high level of women's participation and representation in the CA elections.

B. Peace over Justice?

The tension between the sometimes conflicting goals of peace and justice has not troubled the governing parties. Despite CPA commitments and lip-service to justice, political expediency has consistently taken priority. During the transitional period, the government’s failure to address a widespread lack of confidence in the judiciary and to tackle the legacy of impunity has harmed its legitimacy.

There has been no progress on resolving the hundreds of cases of forced disappearances. A draft parliamentary bill to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission served political leaders’ interests by offering general amnesties but was universally condemned by human rights activists, who had not been consulted. The long-delayed appointment of new members to the National Human Rights Commission has also been criticised for breaching the Paris Principles on the independence of human rights watchdogs.

The Maoists cite a lack of faith in the judiciary as a reason for not disbanding their parallel justice mechanisms as promised in the CPA. They have maintained people’s courts and supplemented them with YCL cadres, who have detained alleged criminals. Stalling on the verification of cantoned combatants has meant that underage military recruits (who are to be identified, then discharged) have yet to be released and rehabilitated. Fear of Maoist action continues to prevent many internally displaced persons (IDPs) from returning to their homes.

C. Security Sector Reform

The future of the security sector is at the heart of the peace deal but the army has resisted discussion of any structural reform, and mainstream parties have been happy to defer the issue. Nepal Army chief Rookmangad Katwal frequently reiterates his institution’s commitment to the democratic process but it remains autonomous, beyond any meaningful democratic control and deeply suspicious of politics from which it feels marginalised, its values threatened. Powerful international players, primarily India and the U.S., still see the army as the last defence against a possible Maoist takeover or collapse of government; their determination to guard against any immediate reforms has emboldened conservative commanders.

Although the chief of army staff reports to the prime minister, there are virtually no democratic control structures. The ministry of defence, never more than a rubber stamp for army decisions, is without a secretary and, given that the prime minister has retained the portfolio, without any effective ministerial oversight. Funds offered by one donor to improve infrastructure went unused, as the ministry declined to raise matching contributions. The National Security Council exists only on paper, and the CPA-mandated committee on security sector reform has only met once. One member from a mainstream party spoke of resigning; only the CPN(M) was enthusiastic about a donor’s offer to provide technical experts to facilitate discussions.

Concerns about rushing into ill thought-out reforms are not fanciful. Given the political flux and weak security situation, there would be no benefit in destabilising the largest security force. Nevertheless, lack of progress on security sector reform, which is an integral part of a carefully balanced peace process, is proving a destabilising factor in itself. Restive Maoist fighters in the cantonments need assurance that their future is being secured, just as their commanders need reassurance that a basic understanding of the peace deal has not been abandoned. Equally, UNMIN’s exit strategy depends on a successful process. Without it, there can be no escape from the halfway house of “arms and armies management”, which would leave Maoist forces in limbo and, if they chose, able to reclaim their weapons and walk out of the camps.

While the army has realised that it may be better off less closely tied to the palace, it sees the CA process (unless it produces a Maoist defeat) as a serious threat to its interests. Successful elections would leave little excuse for further stalling on democratic reforms – including loosening the generals’ lucrative grip on procurement contracts – and increase the pressure to integrate Maoist combatants, while also reducing unsustainably large troop numbers. The army is unlikely to gamble its reputation on a risky political intervention but will protect its core interests. Should these also appear to coincide with protecting the monarchy, weakening the Maoists and still retaining international backing, many generals would be delighted to step forward.

D. New Nepal or More of the Same?

Successful elections will only usher in the next stage of a difficult national transition. While all parties have adopted the rhetoric of “building a new Nepal”, most are wary of making significant changes to state structures and national identity. More immediately, concerns about the post-poll balance of power affect their positioning and bargaining in the run-up to the election. Apart from the risk of voters reducing major parties’ tally of legislators, a new distribution of seats could reduce rivals’ incentives to cooperate and leave some parties out in the cold.

The electoral and constitutional processes both demand a high degree of mutual confidence among political actors as well as public buy-in. Trust should have been built following the CPA but in many areas it eroded instead; with the Maoist decision to quit the government it will be even harder to create a working atmosphere for the CA. Planning for the constitutional process is already weak in terms of accountability and monitoring mechanisms, with much depending on political consensus and day-to-day inter-party cooperation. Beyond the monarchy, discussions on questions such as the form and functioning of federalism, security sector reform, implementing secularism and land reform (especially in the Tarai) will all be sensitive and could prompt further divisions or walk-outs.

V. The International Role

UNMIN. The UN mission has ridden out criticism from both the Maoists and their opponents but faces challenges in fulfilling its mandate as well as calls to extend its involvement in the political process. Even if the elections take place on schedule, it will almost certainly be extended, not least to continue the arms and armies monitoring role that no other body can perform. Neither India nor China is keen for any expansion of its responsibilities, although the incentive of seeing a quick, clean exit might suggest acceptance of a greater role in facilitating discussion of security sector issues. Despite public sniping (based largely on the perception that a sizeable budget by local standards is not reflected in immediate achievements), UNMIN has built and retained credibility with key political players. With care, it can use this as leverage on areas within its mandate, while avoiding the parties’ efforts to set it up as a potential scapegoat for problems of their own making. However, the difficulties of trying to fulfil its mandate while being unable to influence the political context that determines its prospects of success is likely to lead to some reconsideration of its role. In the absence of other neutral third parties and with deadlock on many central political issues, calls for the parties to accept UN good offices in facilitating some discussions may well become stronger.

India. Delhi has continued its strong support for the peace process. Its mounting frustration at political leaders’ reluctance to push for the elections led Ambassador Shiv Shankar Mukherjee to issue an unusually blunt public reminder that there is no legitimate alternative. A series of visitors, including politicians and diplomats, reinforced this message to some effect, despite complaints from both Maoists and royalists that India was throwing its weight around. Once the government was ready to put a deal on the table for the MJF, Delhi increased pressure on it and other Madhesi groups to join the electoral process. India’s role has been based on a rare domestic policy consensus, and critics remain on the margins (partly because Nepal is rarely high on the public or political agenda).

However, its increasing efforts to micromanage political processes place it in a riskier position and threaten to undermine the constructive cooperation with other international players that facilitated the earlier stages of the peace process. Most external actors recognise its regional dominance and special relationship with Nepal but also expect it to justify its claims to an exclusive role by shaping a supportive, but not coercive, environment for Nepal’s people and their representatives to shape the country’s future. Following the 2005 royal coup, it met these demands well but it cannot rely solely on the credit it accrued then if its advice on current challenges moves beyond legitimate neighbourly concern without helping to remove roadblocks.

Diplomats and donors. Of other players, only the U.S. has been both vocal and partisan. While stating support for the peace process, it has funded serious programs on security sector reform and political party training that exclude the CPN(M) and suggest little respect for the letter or spirit of the peace agreement. However, U.S. diplomats hint that their position is not rigid, privately recognising that the Maoists are not the only force that needs to change behaviour. China has, as usual, scrupulously backed the government of the day (not batting an eyelid at the inclusion of formerly shunned Maoists), while quietly working to increase its contacts and influence across the political spectrum as well as in commercial and cultural fields. Its calm reaction to the democratic transition has helped it gain in reputation while carefully remaining above the day-to-day fray.

Development assistance is at the heart of most other international relationships, and the transition has presented awkward choices. Donors have been reluctant to write blank cheques to the government as long as delivery mechanisms and accountability are severely compromised. But most would like to use quick-impact assistance to help shore up the legitimacy of the political process, which is hard to do by bypassing government. The one area where there has been consensus and constructive planning is on election monitors. Although there will be some national monitoring capacity, there is widespread domestic consensus that a serious international presence is needed for a free and fair environment. Successful polls would move Nepal one step further along the conflict-to-peace continuum but not mean business as usual for development. Donors will need to be ready to adjust their priorities and practices if Nepal’s political leaders do agree on restructuring the state and reshaping politics.

VI. Conclusion

None of the major parties has attractive alternatives to sticking with the peace process, but unhappiness over the concessions it involves has weakened political will and bolstered the determination of some groups to disrupt that process. The Maoist walk-out from government is only the most visible of many underlying problems. If popular expectations were decisive, they would almost certainly ensure that elections go ahead and all parties bring their behaviour into line with rhetorical commitments to transform the national agenda. However, most political leaders are only responsive to public pressure when confronted with mass protests or violence. In the absence of such direct pressure, their delaying tactics and taste for brinkmanship, however skilfully played, keep the prospect of failure uncomfortably close. Some further delay in the CA elections may just be survivable but there is no viable alternative plan; other forces waiting in the wings – be they politically ambitious army officers, more belligerent Maoist commanders or a ragtag collection of local armed groups – would have little concern for democracy or peace.

Free and fair elections would be a major boost for the peace process and the legitimacy of the parties. But while they might cap the first phase of post-conflict transition, their real significance would be as the starting point of a difficult constitutional process that will have to consolidate peace while reshaping national institutions and building long-term stability. Whether polls happen on schedule in November or are postponed, the need to address popular demands for change will not go away.

Kathmandu/Brussels, 28 September 2007

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New CMP, New PM, Fully PR Election, Register More Parties, Elections In April

Tie The Bell: Elections In November

New Common Minimum Program

A consensus has already been reached on a commitment proposal for a federal democratic republic. That is a good thing. The parties also have to agree on a few more things. The number one of course would be to agree on holding a fully PR election. There would be only one rule. Every third name on a party's list must be female. Other than that there would be no rules. And the total number of seats would be brought down to 300 from near 500 now.

A party could have a list that is only three long, or only 30 long. This arrangement would be better than any talk Poudel Bahun can hold. You are asking all grieving groups to go to the people. It is the people who have the power. Take your grievances to the people.

But holding respectful dialogue with all the armed Madhesi groups has to be the key element of the new common minimum program. That is more important than agreeing on a fully PR election. What does holding respectful dialogue mean? You release all their imprisoned cadres, you take back all cases filed against them, you put all their soldiers into cantonments, and you invite them to participate in a fully PR election for a constituent assembly. If they want a Madhesh state, they will have to go to the people, not to the parties in power.

Jwala and Goit and now Mahto have all said they will foil the elections scheduled for November. I think they can do it. All they have to do is call for a Terai Band for a few days on and around November 22. That would be easy to do. Political groups much smaller than them have been doing it. Why can't they do it?

Unless you agree for a fully PR election, the Maoists will not let elections happen. All they have to do is refuse to participate.

And unless you hold respectful dialogue with Jwala, Goit and others, they also will not let elections happen, not in November, not in April.

Tie The Bell: Elections In November

New Prime Minister

Kick Girija out. That is Mr. Political Paralysis. And it is not just his illness and old age. That guy has a major attitude problem. That prejudiced Bahun has been driving everyone nuts for months and months and months.

Now that the two Congress factions have come together, and the next senior leader in the Congress is Deuba, I think Deuba gets to become Prime Minister.

Girija should go ahead and retire. That guy is the roadblock on issues of intra-party democracy, and on DaMaJaMa empowerment.

Tie The Bell: Elections In November

Fully Proportional Election

You can delay it, that is all you can do. So why delay it?

Tie The Bell: Elections In November

Register More Parties

If the elections are delayed, the Election Commission must open up. New parties have to be registered for a few months. New parties should be allowed to register for until three months before the elections.

There is a Madhesi Janadhikar Forum. There is a Federal Democratic National Forum, which might emerge as the Janajati party. And I feel an urgent need for a Dalit Adhikar Forum.

And I sincerely hope all the Madhesi MPs in all the big parties form a new party. Madhesi People's Party, MPP.

I think if this new possibility emerges, Rajendra Mahto is better off registering a new party that is simply called the Nepal Sadbhavana Party. Let his opponents be. He has a larger mass base than them in the first place.

If fully PR elections be held, there would be no need for a Madhesi Alliance, and it would be just fine to have two Sadbhavana parties, and two MJFs.

There are going to be a dozen Madhesi parties. Most of them will stay small, a few will disappear. The MJF might emerge pretty big, as might one of the Sadbhavanas.

Tie The Bell: Elections In November

Land Reform Commission

All land and property seized by the Maoists and other armed groups should go to this commission which will exercise temporary ownership. After the country gets a new constitution, parliamentary elections will be held. Parties will go to the people with their separate land reform proposals. The final status of ownership will thus be decided by the people, the voters.

That is the middle ground between the Congress wanting all the land to go back to the original owners and the Maoists saying they have already redistributed the land.

Revolutionary land reform will be when every family in the country is given at least one small plot of land, and every such family then gets the option to either sell off that land, or put that as collateral to get a bank loan on good, easy rates with which they can start a business, or invest in their farm, or whatever. Land reform not accompanied by this easy credit program will not have much meaning.

Tie The Bell: Elections In November

Elections In April

If not in November, then it will have to be in April, two years after the historic April Revolution.

Tie The Bell: Elections In November

Dissolve Interim Parliament Before Election Campaign Begins

That is standard procedure. A sitting MP can not go and campaign for re-election.

Tie The Bell: Elections In November

In The News

RPP, RJP & NPF ready to file candidacies Kantipur Nepali Congress, the largest ruling party also has not prepared the list of its candidates yet due to the ongoing confusion. ..... it would not be possible to conduct the poll on schedule if dates are deferred again .... "We need at least 15 days to print such ballot papers." ..... The EC has to print at least 50 million ballot papers in 241 types for the upcoming CA poll.
UML blames NC, Maoists for stalemate
Alliance may break over poll system: Gajurel CPN-UML leader Modnath Prashrit .... lambasted the idea of restructuring Nepal on a federal system based on race and ethnicity. ..... However, Pradeep Giri of Nepali Congress and left leaders Lok Narayan Subedi and Rishi Kattel spoke in favor of proclaiming Nepal a republic from the interim parliament and adopting full proportional electoral system.
Minister Mahato resigns; 22 arrested as NSP-A faction launches agitation Stating that he will not register another party, Mahato said that he would rather disrupt the November 22 elections. ..... All of the arrested were taken to Armed Police Station at Maharjgunj and released later in the afternoon. ..... according to the EC Act 2007, while settling a dispute over claims to the name, election symbol or flag of a political party, it should send a notice to the concerned parties asking them to furnish their views within 15 days. But the deadline ends today for filing the closed-list of candidates under the proportional electoral system for the Constituent Assembly election slated November 22. ....... The NSP-A dispute has been a serious challenge for the EC which is not able to settle the row under the existing legal provisions and limited timeframe. ....... As per Clause 26, sub-section (6) of the Act, given adequate evidence, the EC may give recognition to a party which has a majority of office bearers, members and members of the central executive committee whose names were submitted while applying for party registration. And the EC may register the other party either as a separate political party or as a separate group of the same party. ........ Prior to settling such a dispute, the Commission shall establish a bench comprising the Chief Election Commissioner and other Commissioners to hold hearings. Such a bench will give its final verdict within 15 days of the date on which the concerned parties are to furnish their evidence. The bench enjoys the full powers of a court of law. ...... Singh, widow of veteran Madhesi leader and founder of the NSP the late Gajendra Narayan Singh, was unanimously ousted by the general convention. The convention appointed Mahato as the new party chief. .... Singh's supporters have, however, challenged the legitimacy of the convention and appealed to partymen to attend a soon-to-be-held general convention of their own. ..... The sacked leaders of the establishment side include former vice-chairman Bharat Bimal Yadav, former general secretary Hridayesh Tripathi, lawmaker Gobinda Tharu and central leaders Dr Dambar Narayan Yadav and Khushi Lal Mandal, among others.
Proportional electoral system will defer CA polls: UML the polls would be deferred if the parties switched to the proportional system.
Maoist banda affects life in 5 districts in Terai Only yesterday, the Gupta faction of Madeshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) had imposed the Mades bandh to protest the Kapilvastu violence.
Poudel appointed NC Veep Koirala appointed Ram Chandra Poudel as the party's Vice-president and Dr Ram Baran Yadav as general secretary.
Nepali women less equal the citizenship provision remains discriminative against women in that they can't issue citizenship to their children as men do.
कांग्रेसमा ७९ सदस्यीय कार्यसमिति
सहमतिको अर्थ भागबन्डा 'पूर्ण समानुपातिक निर्वाचन प्रणालीमा हुने बित्तिकै चुनाव ५-६ महिनापछि सर्छ,' उनले भने । समानुपातिक प्रणालीमा गए अन्तरिम संसद्को अधिवेशन बोलाउनुपर्ने, अन्तरिम विधान परिवर्तन गरी ऐन-नियमहरू ल्याउनुपर्ने कारण चुनाव ढिलो हुने उनले बताए ।
महतो पक्षद्वारा आन्दोलन घोषणा काठमाडौं, असोज १२ - नेपाल सद्भावना पार्टीको महतो पक्षले आफ्नो समूहले आधिकारिकता नपाएपछि निर्वाचन आयोगको निर्णयविरुद्ध आन्दोलनका कार्यक्रम घोषणा गरेको छ । निर्वाचन आयोगले आनन्दीदेवी सिंह अध्यक्ष रहेको संस्थापन पक्षलाई मान्यता दिएपछि महतो पक्षको राष्ट्रिय कार्यसमितिको शुक्रबार बसेको बैठकपछि शनिबार विरोध कार्यक्रम घोषणा गरेको हो । उक्त पक्षले शनिबार ५ बजेसम्म छुट्टै पार्टी दर्ता गर्न आयोगले दिएको समयमा दल दर्ता नगरी आन्दोलनमा जाने निर्णय गरेको हो । आयोगले आनन्दीदेवी पक्षलाई आधिकारिक मान्यता दिँदै महतो पक्षलाई छुट्टै पार्टी दर्ता गर्न शनिबारको समय दिएको हो । आफ्नो पक्षले मान्यता नपाएपछि राजेन्द्र महतोले नैतिकताका आधारमा उद्योग, वाणिज्य र आपूर्तिमन्त्री पदबाट शनिबार राजीनामा दिएका छन् । पार्टीले आयोगविरुद्घ सर्वोच्च अदालतमा जाने निर्णय गरेको छ । बैठकले मधेसका सम्पूर्ण मुद्दा सम्बोधन नगरी संविधानसभा निर्वाचनको माहोल बन्न नसक्ने दाबी गर्दैमा आन्दोलनमा जान लागेको हो । महतो पक्षका सहअध्यक्ष लक्ष्मणलाल कर्णले आफ्नो पार्टीले मधेस आन्दोलनलाई नयाँ उचाइसम्म पुर्‍याउने बताए । आइतबार तराईका सबै जिल्लामा निर्वाचन आयोगको कार्यालय घेराउ गर्ने, असोज १७ देखि १९ गतेसम्म मधेस बन्दको घोषणाको कार्यक्रम गरेको छ । प्रहरीले विरोध कार्यक्रममा हस्तक्षेप गरी महतो, कर्ण, अनिलकुमार झा, प्रवक्ता सरिता गिरीसहितका नेता-कार्यकर्तालाई पक्राउ गरेर तीन घन्टापछि छोड्यो । निर्णयको स्वागत सद्भावना -आनन्दीदेवी) को संस्थापन पक्षले निर्वाचन आयोगको निर्णयको स्वागत गरेको छ । उसले आफूले कुनै पनि प्रकारको विरोध कार्यक्रम नराखेको जनाएको छ ।
भोट माग्दै मधेसी महिला सबै राजनीतिक दलले ५० प्रतिशत मधेशी महिलालाई उम्मेदवारी दिनुपर्ने माग गरेका छन् ।
लोकतान्त्रिक आन्दोलनमा इन्टरनेट १ सय ६८ मुलुक सामेल प्रेस स्वतन्त्रता सूचीमा वर्मा १ सय ६४ औं स्थानमा छ । कुल साढे पाँच करोड जनसंख्याको ०.५६ प्रतिशतको मात्रै इन्टरनेटमा पहुँच छ र सन् २००५ को तथ्यांकअनुसार २५ हजारसँग मात्रै इमेल ठेगाना छ । ...... विश्वकै सबैभन्दा ठूलो समाचार संस्था रोयटर्सदेखि भ्वाइस अफ अमेरिका, हिन्दुस्तान टाइम्सदेखि बैंकक पोस्ट र अनलाइन जर्नालिजम रिभ्युदेखि बीबीसी न्युजसम्मका दर्जनौं परम्परागत मिडिया र वेबसाइटले मेरो अन्तर्वार्ता लिएका थिए जसमा उनीहरूले मुख्यतः नेपालजस्तो गरिब र पिछडिएको देशका पत्रकारले पनि कसरी इन्टरनेट प्रविधिमार्फत सेन्सरसिप छल्दै लोकतन्त्रका पक्षमा सूचना फैलाइरहेका छन् भन्ने उल्लेख गरेका थिए । एउटा बेलायती वेबसाइटले त मलाई 'नेपाली सलाम पाक्स' को उपाधि दियो । -सलाम पाक्स ती चर्चित इराकी ब्लगर हुन् जसले २००३ मा इराकमाथि अमेरिकी आक्रमण भइरहँदा विश्वका ठूला मिडियाले समेत प्रसारण गर्न नसकेका युद्धका प्रत्यक्ष विवरण बगदादबाटै आफ्नो वेबसाइटमा लेखेर तहल्का मच्चाएका थिए ।) निश्चयै, इन्टरनेटमा मिलेको त्यो अनपेक्षित ख्यातिले म र 'युनाइटेड वी ब्लग' टिममा उत्साह मिलेको थियो भने ज्ञानेन्द्रका जुन्ताले केही गर्लान् कि भन्ने डर पनि बढेको थियो । एक दिन सैनिक जनसम्पर्क निर्देशनालयका एकजना मेजरले मलाई सैनिक मुख्यालयमा बोलाएर 'तपाईंलाई परिचयका लागि मात्रै बोलाएको, साइटमा लेख्दा जिम्मेवार हुनुहोला' भन्ने चेतावनी मिसिएको अनुरोध गरे । हामीले लेख्न छाडेनौं, राति दुई बजेसम्म पनि नसुती कम्प्युटरअगाडि मच्चिँदै वेबसाइट अपडेट गरिन्थ्यो । ..... शुक्रबारको दमनपछि आन्दोलन केही साम्य भएकाले शनिबार बिहानबाट केही मात्रामा इन्टरनेट सुचारु भएको समाचारहरूमा उल्लेख छ । इन्टरनेट खुल्नु र बन्द हुनुभन्दा पनि चिन्ताजनक चाहिँ दमनका कारण जनसहभागितामा आएको कमी हो । बेलायती अखबार 'द टाइम्स' का एकजना संवाददाताले रंगुनबाट शनिबार एउटा विशेष रिपोर्ट पठाएका छन् जसमा भनिएको छ- 'हिजो वर्मेली लोकतन्त्र आन्दोलन मरेको हुनुपर्छ या त्यो पुनः संगठित भइरहेको पनि हुनसक्छ ।' म दोस्रो विकल्पमा विश्वास गर्न चाहन्छु किनकि जनसहभागितामा तीव्रता आयो भने इन्टरनेट खुल्नु नखुल्नुले खासै अर्थ राख्दैन । आन्दोलन गर्ने आखिर जनताले हो, इन्टरनेटले विश्वसामु उजिल्याउने मात्रै हो ।
त्यो कपिलवस्तु र यो कपिलवस्तु सञ्चारमाध्यम पहुँच अभावमा घटना सम्बन्धमा अफवाहको लर्को लाग्यो राजधानीमा । मुस्लिम समुदायको आक्रमणले पचासौं मारिएको र हजारौं हराएको खबर आइरह्यो । ........ राजधानीमा एउटा यस्तो त्रासको अनुभूति गरायो कि साँच्चै त्यहाँ दुईथरी समुदायबीच निरन्तर भिडन्तको अवस्था छ । ...... आफ्नै अगाडि श्रीमान् मारिएका थिए । सामूहिक बलात्कार भएको थियो । .... जीवनभर कमाएर बनाएको झुप्रो र भएभरको सम्पत्ति एकै छिनमा जलाइएका थिए । कमाउन गएका छोरालाई थाहा छ कि छैन, बुहारीहरू र दुई नातिनातिना बेपत्ता थिए । ....... भंैसी, बाख्रा र कुम्लोकुटुरो बोकेर 'पुग्यो मधेस' भन्दै पहाड लाग्नेहरू बग्रेल्ती भेटिन्थे । ....... मोइदको हत्यासँगै पहाडी बस्तीमा आक्रमण सुरु भयो । चन्द्रौटा, कृष्णनगर, विसनपुर, गणेशपुर, वीरपुर, खुरहुरिया, जौभारी, बहादुरगन्ज लगायतका क्षेत्रमा पहाडी समुदायका घर छानीछानी ध्वस्त पारियो । ....... भदौ ३० गतेको यो घटनाको बदलामा भदौ ३१ गतेदेखि मुस्लिम समुदायका व्यक्तिको घरबस्ती तथा सम्पत्ति खोजीखोजी ध्वस्त पार्ने काम गरिएको छ । शिवपुर, जगदीशपुर लगायतका क्षेत्रमा मुस्लिम बस्तीमा आगो लगाइयो । मस्जिद र मदरसामा समेत आक्रमण गरियो । असोज ३ गते जगदीशपुरमा प्रहरीकै नियन्त्रणमा रहेका तीनजनाको हत्या गरियो र आधा दर्जन गम्भीर घाइते बनाइए । त्यसपछि मुस्लिम समुदायका व्यक्तिले बस्ती छाडे र भारततिर पलायनको बाटो रोजे । ....... आक्रमण जसले जसलाई गरेको भए पनि लुटेरा तथा मौका छोपेर चोरी गर्नेहरू देखिएका थिए । ...... पछिल्लोपटक जब पहाडी समुदायले केही मुस्लिम बस्तीमा आक्रमण गरे त्यसमा पनि माओवादीकै हात रहेको बताउनेहरू भेटिन्छन् । ..... मोइद कपिलवस्तुमा प्रतिष्ठित थिए । उनको क्षेत्रमा मुस्लिम समुदायका मान्छे उनलाई नायकका रूपमा मान्थे । ....... त्यसको दुई सातापछि माओवादीले मोइदको घरमा आक्रमण गरे । रातभर माओवादीसँग युद्ध गरेर मोइदले आफूलाई बचाए । ....... पछिल्लो कालमा लोकतान्त्रिक मधेसी मोर्चा खोलेपछि जनतान्त्रिक तराई मुक्ति मोर्चा-गोइत) र मधेसी जनअधिकार फोरमले उनलाई आफ्नो पक्षमा लाग्न आग्रह गरेका थिए तर यी दुवै पक्षको प्रस्ताव अस्वीकार गरेका थिए । ..... यसरी मधेसी समुदायको मध्य क्षेत्रमा पहाडी सकुम्वासी जमिन दिएर बसोबास गराइनुको पछाडि पञ्चायती राष्ट्रवाद प्रमुख कारण थियो । यसो गर्नमा एकातिर तराईमा पनि पहाडीमूलका व्यक्ति हुनुले राष्ट्रियता बच्नेछ भन्ने गलत बुझाइ ...... भदौ ३० कै दिन एक हुलले बुटवलमा मस्जिद जलाउने प्रयास गरेका थिए । प्रहरीले नियन्त्रणमा लिएपछि जल्न पाएन । शिवपुरको खैरीमा एउटा मस्जिद र मदरसा जलाइएका छन् । यसले घटनामा धार्मिक रंग दिन खोजिएको स्पष्ट देखिन्छ । ...... कृष्णनगर पुग्दा भेटिएका मुस्लिम युवा नेपाली प्रेसले आफूहरूलाई बेवास्त गरेको गुनासो गर्दै बंगलादेश र पाकिस्तान छुट्टएिको उदाहरण दिइरहेका थिए । उनीहरूको भनाइ थियो- 'हाम्रै मान्छे मारिए, हाम्रै घर जलाइए र हामी नै दोषी बनाइएका छौं ।' उनीहरूले प्रेसले पहाडी समुदाय विस्थापित भएको, घर जलेको समाचार बनाएको तर मुस्लिम बस्ती जलेको, मस्जिद र मदरसा जलेको कुरा प्रकाशित नगरेको गुनासो उनीहरूको थियो । ........ युद्धविराम भएपछि उहाँले काठमाडौंमै हिसिलाजीलाई पनि भेट्नुभएको हो .... यो प्रतिक्रियावादीको षड्यन्त्र हो । संविधानसभा चुनाव नचाहने र माओवादीलाई बदनाम गराउनका लागि साम्प्रदायिक दंगा फैलाउन चाहने दरबारिया शक्तिको काम हो । ....... दिउँसो १२/ १ बजेको हुँदो हो ७० जना महिलालाई सामूहिक बलात्कार गर्‍यो । गाउँहरू जलाइए । हामीलाई ०४१ सालमा त्यहाँ जग्गा दिएर बस्ती बसाइएका हुन् । ...... ५२ जनालाई उनीहरूले समाते । पछाडि हात बाँधेर पिट्दै लग्दै थिए । उनीहरूले मार्नका लागि लग्दै थिए । बाटाबाटै प्रहरीले हाम्रो उद्धार गर्‍यो नत्र मारिने थिए होलान् । ...... हामी घर पुगेर बसेका मात्र थियौं, हुलका हुल मान्छे गाउँमा पस्न थाले । लाठी र धारिलो हतियार हातमा लिएको त्यो समूहले भेटेजति घर तोडफोड गर्न थाल्योे । म बूढो मान्छे घरमै बसेर त्यो सब हेरिरहें ।
सबै थोक लुटियो कपिलवस्तुमा हिंसा-प्रतिहिंसाका सिकार निर्दोष नागरिकहरू देवीपुरका सबै घर खरानी भएका छन् । ... बस्नेत र खनाललाई बेस्सरी पिटेर बलिरहेको भूसको आगोमा जीवितै हालेर मारएिको थियो । बाबुलाई जिउँदै जलाइएको दृश्य आफ्नै आँखाले देखेका छोरा केशव बस्नेत, १४, त्यहाँबाट भागेर जोगिएका थिए । ..... मारएिका चारै जना गाउँका चल्तापुर्जा हुन् ..... दुई छोरा र चार छोरीकी आमा तुलसरी अब कहिल्यै त्यस ठाउँमा र्फकन चाहन्नन् । ...... छुट्टाछुट्टै सबैले चिनेका नाम मात्र जुटाउने हो भने पनि आक्रमणकारीहरू चिनिने अवस्था छ । .... सदरमुकाम तौलिहवामा रहेको माओवादी पार्टी कार्यालय रहेका दुइटा घरमा पनि मोइद खाँका समर्थकहरूले भदौ ३० गते नै आगो लगाएका छन् । ..... भोलिपल्ट दाङतिरबाट प्रतिशोध साँध्न सातवटा मोटरमा आएको अर्को समुदायले शिवपुर गाविस, खैरीका ४८ घरमा आगो लगाएको छ भने पाँच घर तोडफोड गरेको छ । छवटा ट्रक पनि ध्वस्त पारएिको छ । त्यस्तै, पूर्वतर्फबाट आएको आक्रोशित भीडले चनई गाविसको खैरन्द्रपुरमा एउटा कपास फ्याक्ट्री जलाएको छ भने चार घर र चार गाडी जलाएका छन् । ....... "१४ दिन भएको थियो नानी जन्मेको, देशीले मार्छ भनेर सबै हिँडे, म पनि हिँडेँ ।" ........ शिविर व्यवस्थापनमा प्रहरी र माओवादीले सहकार्य गररिहेका छन् । खासगरी माओवादीका 'वाईसीएल' कार्यकर्ताहरू निकै सक्रिय देखिएका छन् । ..... "७५ प्रतिशतजति दलित रहेको ..... तीन दिनसम्म खोलामा जम्मा हुने, फेर िघर र्फकने गर्दै बसे । नजिकका मधेसी मूलको समूहले 'हामी मरेर पनि तपाइर्ंहरूलाई जोगाउँछौँ' भनेकाले उनीहरू बसिरहेका थिए । ...... कपिलवस्तुको यस क्षेत्रमा पहाडी र मधेसी समुदायबीच हिंसात्मक घटना भएको यो पहिलोपटक होइन । ०४६ सालयता यहाँ पटकपटक साम्प्रदायिक भिडन्तहरू भएका छन् । ..... पहाडी मूलका विस्थापितहरू नेपालतिर फिरेका छन् भने मधेसी मूल र मुसलमानहरू भारततिर लागेका छन् । ...... हल्लैहल्लाले खाएको छ कपिलवस्तुलाई । यति मान्छे हराए, मारएि वा बेपत्ता पारएि भन्ने हल्लाले थप त्रास बढाएको छ । महिलामाथि बलात्कारको हल्ला अझै व्यापक छ । ..... मोइदको हत्या सम्भवतः लामै समयसम्म रहस्यको विषय बन्नेछ, जसरी त्यस हत्याले खनेको साम्प्रदायिक खाडल चाँडै पुरनिेवाला छैन । ...... ......... गाउँमा हल्ला आयो- जिमिदार मर्‍यो रे ! हल्लाले गाउँ नै आतङ्कित भयो । "कोही नभाग, देशी आउँछ रे, सबै जम्मा हुनुपर्छ" भन्दै थिए, देशीले सबैतिरबाट घेरा हालिसकेछ । ... हामीलाई नभाग् भन्यो । त्यसपछि हामीलाई ऊखुबारीमा लगे । म 'लास्ट' मा थिएँ । मलाई लतारेर घिसारे । आधा बाटोमा पुगेपछि भागेँ । इज्जत लुट्न खोजेका थिए, पाएनन् । रातभर िऊखुबारीमै राखे । ..... आधा बाटो हिँडेर हल्लानगर आउँदासम्म पनि पहाडिया आए भन्दै थिए । ...... .............. एक-डेढ महिनादेखि मालिक -मोइद) हरेक बिहान ७ देखि ८ बजेको समयबीच आफ्नो रातो मोटरसाइकलमा आउनुहुन्थ्यो । त्यस दिन पनि आउनुभयो । म खेततिर जाँदै थिएँ । मालिकसँग बाटो -घटनास्थल) मा भेट भयो । उहाँले मोटरसाइकल रोकेर मलाई केही कुराहरू सोध्नुभयो । र, सडकको डिलमै उभिएर धान हेर्दै हुनुहुन्थ्यो, म हिँडेँ । १५-२० पाइला सारेको मात्र थिएँ, पश्चिमतिरबाट एउटा मोटरसाइकल आएर मालिकछेउ रोकियो । मैले त चिनजानको मान्छे होला भनेर मतलब गरनिँ । क्षणभरमा गोली चल्यो । फर्केर हेर्दा मालिक ढलेको देखेँ । पश्चिमतिरबाट मोटरसाइकलमा आएका दुई जना उतै -हल्लानगर) तिर हुइँकिए । ............... बिहान ८ बजे मोइद खाँ मारएिको खबर आयो । सहानुभूतिस्वरूप ८ः१० सम्ममा पसल बन्द गरसिकेका थियौँ । मनमा डर पनि थियो । तत्कालै लास लिएर गाडी तुफान गतिमा फर्कियो । त्यसका पछाडि अरू दुइटा गाडीभर िमान्छे थिए । त्यसलगत्तै ३०-४० जनाको हूल आएर आतङ्क मच्चाउन थाल्यो । सबभन्दा पहिले बजारको पुलिस बिट जलाइयो । त्यसपछि सीधै मेरो पसलमा आक्रमण गरे । .... आगजनी र लुटपाट छानीछानी गरएिको छ । ...... कपिलवस्तुमा पीडित एवम् विस्थापितहरू भोकमा तड्पिरहेका थिए । जलेका घर, नरकङ्काल, विस्थापितका शोक अनि पति मारेर बलात्कार गरएिका महिला देखेर विक्षिप्त हँुदै भोलिपल्ट साँझ हामी बुटवल पुग्दा प्रशान्त इन्डियन आइडल बनेको खुसीयालीमा उत्सव मनाइँदै थियो । ....... भारतमा जन्मेका, भारतमै हुर्केका अनि भारतीय प्रहरीमा कार्यरत प्रशान्त नेपाली मूलका हुनेबित्तिकै हाम्रा काँधमा सजाउन योग्य भए तर नेपालको तराईमा जन्मेर पुस्ताँैदेखि त्यहीँ बस्दै आएका मधेसी किन हाम्रा लागि नेपाली हुन सकेनन् ? ....... कहिले नेपालगन्ज कान्ड मच्चाउँछन् त कहिले लहान अनि कहिले गौर त, कहिले कपिलवस्तु ..... काठमाडौँमा बम पड्काउँछन् भने दाङमा बितन्डा मच्चाउँछन् ..... कपिलवस्तु घटनाको चार दिनपछि मात्र मन्त्रिपरष्िाद्को 'आकस्मिक' बैठक बस्नु । ...... राजनीतिक हिसाबले फाइदा लिन सकिने आशमा यो वितन्डा मच्चाइएको हो, जसमा सीमापारकिा अपराधीहरूको प्रमुख हात छ । ...... अपराधीहरूको समूह सीमापारबिाट हूल बाँधेर आउँछन्, हतियारबन्द भएर आउँछन् । चाहे त्यो गौरको घटना होस् वा कपिलवस्तुको ।
राजाले तोके नेताहरूको मूल्य प्रधानमन्त्री कोइरालाको आत्मकथा राजा आफँैले कुरा सुरु गरे, "हेर गिरजिा, बीपी मेरो बेस्ट प|mेन्ड, उनलाई पनि जेल हाल्नुपर्‍यो ।" ..... मैले भनेँ, "सान्दाजु, अब मेरो जिम्मेवारी थपियो । सान्दाजुलाई छुटाएपछि म पनि रेस्ट गर्छु । यो राजनीति गर्दागर्दा म पनि थाकिसकेँ ।" ....... दुई भाइले कफी पियौँ । धेरै बेर कुरा भयो । भाउजूहरूलाई सञ्चो-बिसञ्चो के छ भनेर सोध्नुभयो । एक घन्टाजति बसेँ । ...... आफूले राजालाई भनेको कुरा बताएँ । राजाले आफूसँग भनेको कुराचाहिँ भनिनँ । ..... राजाले भने, "केही त गर्नुपर्‍यो नि ! मेरो पनि त इज्जत छ ।" ...... राजाले भने, "हेर गिरजिा, हरेकको मूल्य हुन्छ ।" राजाले के भन्न थाले, मैले बुझ्न सकिनँ । अनि भनेँ, "सरकारले के भन्नुभएको, मैले त बुझ्न सकिन नि π" राजाले भने, "बाख्रा-भेडाको मोल कसैको पाँच सय, कसैको पाँच हजार, कसैको १० हजार हुन्छ नि, त्यस्तै मान्छेको पनि मूल्य हुन्छ ।" ....... तर, एउटा मान्छेको मूल्य छैन भनिदिए राजाले । भित्तातिर देखाउँदै उनले भने, "यसको मूल्य छैन ।" यसो फर्किएर हेरेँ । त्यहाँ त सान्दाजुको फोटो राखिदिएको रहेछ । ...... राजाले बीपीको फोटो देखाउँदै भने, "यसको मात्र मूल्य छैन, अरू सबैको छ ।" .... राजाले भने, "बीपीको म इज्जत गर्छु । अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय क्षेत्रमा समेत यस्तो मानिस छैन ।
दल-माओवादी भित्री कसरत संसद्बाट अन्तरमि राष्ट्रपतिको घोषणा र संविधानसभामा माओवादीलाई निश्चित सीट सुरक्षित गरििदने भारतीय प्रस्तावबारे माओवादी र काङ्ग्रेस नेताहरूबीच एक किस्ता छलफलसमेत भइसकेको छ । ....... समानुपातिक निर्वाचन प्रणालीका सम्बन्धमा पहिलो हुनेले जित्ने दुई सय ४० सीटमध्ये काङ्ग्रेस, एमाले र माओवादीलाई ३०/३० सीट र बाँकीमा त्यतिखेर छुट्टै रहेको प्रजातान्त्रिक काङ्ग्रेसलगायत अन्य साना दललाई दिने प्रस्तावमा माओवादी सहमत भइसकेको छ ...... हाललाई राष्ट्रपति र प्रधानमन्त्री दुवैको जिम्मेवारी प्रधानमन्त्री गिरजिाप्रसाद कोइरालाले नै सम्हाल्ने किसिमले बन्दोबस्त मिलाइएको थियो । ...... कोइरालाले संसद्बाट गणतन्त्रको घोषणा र राष्ट्रपतिको प्रस्ताव सुन्नसमेत चाहेनन् । "त्यस्तो रक्तपात मच्चाउने कुरा हुनै सक्दैन," नेपाली सेनातर्फ सङ्केत ....... उनी माओवादीले अगाडि सारेको पूर्ण समानुपातिक निर्वाचन प्रणालीको पक्ष्ामा भने देखिएका छैनन् । बैठकमा उनले भने, "मिश्रति निर्वाचन प्रणाली नै मेरो बटमलाइन हो ।" ..... "संसद्बाट गणतन्त्रको सङ्कल्प प्रस्ताव पारति गर्ने हो भने पूर्ण समानुपातिक निर्वाचन प्रणालीको मागचाहिँ पूरा गरििदनूस् न त !" ..... बाबुराम भट्टराईले त प्रधानमन्त्री निवासबाटै टेलिफोन गरेर कार्यकर्तालाई आन्दोलन अनिवार्य रहेको बताइरहेका थिए । भट्टराईको यस् तो रवैया देखेर अन्य दलका नेताहरूले मजाक पनि गरे, "प्रधानमन्त्री निवासबाटै आन्दोलन घोषणा गर्नुभएको हो ?" ......... संसद्को एक चौथाइ सदस्यले समावेदन चढाएको अवस्थामा प्रधानमन्त्रीले १५ दिनभित्र संसद्को अधिवेशन डाक्नुपर्ने व्यवस्था अन्तरमि संविधानमा छ । ..... चुनावी प्रक्रिया चुलिनुपर्ने बेलामा संसद् अधिवेशन डाकिनु र त्यहाँ गणतन्त्रजस्ता महत्त्वपूर्ण विषयमा छलफल गर्न खोजिनुले माओवादीले संविधानसभा निर्वाचनलाई पछि धकेल्न चाहेको सङ्केत मिल्छ । माओवादीले वार्तामा अडान नछाडेको पनि घोषित मितिमा निर्वाचन हुन नदिन नै हो । ........ काङ्ग्रेस, एमालेदेखि राजा, सेना, भारत, अमेरकिालगायतका शक्तिकेन्द्रहरू आफूलाई सिध्याउन लागेको माओवादीले सार्वजनिक मञ्च र सञ्चारमाध्यममार्फत भन्दै आएको छ । ....... लहान, गौर घटनादेखि भदौ १३ गतेको सरकार-मधेसी जनअधिकार फोरम सहमतिसम्म आइपुग्दा तराईमा आफ्नो आधार समाप्त गराउन ...... समानुपातिक निर्वाचन प्रणाली र सङ्घीय संरचनाको विषयमा फोरमलाई 'क्रेडिट' जाने गरेर सरकारले सहमति गरेकाले पनि माओवादी चिढिएको हो । ....... सेनाको उच्च नेतृत्वले कोइरालालाई राजतन्त्र समाप्त पार्ने निर्णय गरएिमा राष्ट्रिय अखण्डता खतरामा पर्ने सुझाव निरन्तर दिइरहेकै थियो । ....... प्रधानसेनापति रुक्माङ्गद कटवाल एक दर्जनभन्दा बढी जनरलहरू लिएर भदौ २३ गते बालुवाटार पुगेका थिए, जहाँ उनले सेना एकढिक्का रहेको सन्देश मात्र प्रधानमन्त्रीलाई दिएनन्, तत्काल गणतन्त्रतर्फ गएमा सेनामा विभाजन र विद्रोह हुनसक्ने खतरासमेत औँल्याए । त्यो आफ्नो फोर्सका निम्ति राजतन्त्रको समाप्ति स्वीकार्य नरहेको अप्रत्यक्ष धम्की नै थियो उनको । ...... गणतन्त्रमा जाने काङ्ग्रेसको घोषणापश्चात् प्रधानमन्त्री र सेनाप्रमुख कटवालबीच केही चिसोपन बढेको आभास मिल्छ । सेनाप्रमुखले काङ्ग्रेसको निर्णयलगत्तै प्रधानमन्त्रीलाई भेटेर असन्तुष्टि पोखिसकेका छन् । "त्यसले गर्दा हाम्रा प्रधानमन्त्री मानसिक रूपमा प्रधानसेनापति कटवालको नियन्त्रणमा छन्," काङ्ग्रेसकै एक नेता दाबी गर्छन् । ........ उनमा पनि नेपालको पहिलो राष्ट्रपति बन्ने इच्छा जागृत भएको हुनसक्छ ...... काङ्ग्रेस महासमिति बैठकमा प्रधानमन्त्री कोइरालाले भनेका थिए, "अब दुई सय ५० वर्षको राजतन्त्रको इतिहास मेटिएको छ । जनताको विजय भएको छ ।" ...... असोज ९ गते नागरकि समाजका अगुवाहरूसँग भेट्दा प्रसन्न मुद्रामा थिए कोइराला । काङ्ग्रेस एकीकरण, काङ्ग्रेसले गरेको गणतन्त्रको निर्णय र इन्द्रजात्रामा राष्ट्रप्रमुखको हैसियतको भूमिका निर्वाह गरेकै कारण कोइराला खुसी भएको अनुभव गरे नागरकि समाजका अगुवाहरूले । "पाण्डेजी तपाइर्ं गणतन्त्र-गणतन्त्र भनेर कराइरहनुहुन्थ्यो । अब त भएन ? मैले पार्टीबाट पनि गणतन्त्रको घोषणा गराएँ । इन्द्रजात्रामा पनि राष्ट्रप्रमुखको हैसियतले सहभागी भएँ," उनले नागरकि समाजका अगुवा डा देवेन्द्रराज पाण्डेलाई इङ्गित गर्दै भनेका थिए, "अब त गणतन्त्र आइहाल्यो नि ! अब पनि के चाहियो ?" कुराकानीका क्रममा कोइरालाले आफूलाई राष्ट्रप्रमुखको हिसाबले प्रस्तुत गरेका थिए ।
कसरी भयो काङ्ग्रेस एकीकरण आफ्ना राजनीतिक चेला देउवाले दिएको हुँकारले रन्थनिएका कोइरालाले पार्टी फुट्नबाट रोक्ने प्रयास गरेनन् । वास्तवमा देउवाको भेला पार्टी विभाजनका लागिभन्दा कोइरालामाथि दबाब दिने हिसाबले बोलाइएको थियो । तर, परण्िााम विभाजन नै भयो । ...... "जुवाडे लोग्ने भनेर पोइल गएको त रक्स्याहा लोग्ने पो परेछ !" ..... देउवा पनि दङ्ग थिए । उनले एक उच्चपदस्थ विदेशी कूटनीतिज्ञसँग भने, "मेरा लागि माओवादीहरू भगवान्सरह भएर आए ।" ...... महामन्त्री रामचन्द्र पौडेलद्वारा प्रस्तुत राजनीतिक प्रस्ताव र चक्र बास्तोलाद्वारा प्रस्तुत घोषणापत्र ...... उनले भने, "मुलुकमा जति पनि परविर्तन भएका छन्, ती सबै काङ्ग्रेस नेतृत्वमा भएका हुन् । अझै पनि मुलुकको रूपान्तरणको नेतृत्व गर्ने साहस र बल काङ्ग्रेसमा छ ।" उनले गणतन्त्रको निर्णयमा गएर काङ्ग्रेसले आफ्नो पहिचान गुमाउने तर्कको कुनै अर्थ नभएको दाबीसमेत गरे । ....... तारानाथ रानाभाटले आफूलाई रोक्न सकेनन् र बन्दसत्रमा स्पष्टसँग भने, "सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्रमा जानु भनेको पार्टीले पोटासियम साइनाइड बोक्नुसरह हो ।" ......... काङ्ग्रेसलाई राजा बोकेर हिँड्ने पार्टीका रूपमा आलोचना गर्दै आएका वामपन्थी पार्टीहरू अब एजेन्डाविहीन भएको उनको मत छ । ..... काङ्ग्रेस नेता प्रदीप गिरीले दुवै काङ्ग्रेसबीच भावनात्मक एकता नभएको टिप्पणी गरे । उनको तर्क थियो, "यो यान्त्रिक एकीकरण हो, भावनात्मक र राजनीतिक रूपमा एक हुन बाँकी नै छ ।" काङ्  ग्रेस एकतालाई उनले 'चुनावी गठबन्धन' को संज्ञा दिए । ...... पार्टी एकीकरणपछि जिल्ला सभापतिको पद गुमाएर सहसभापतिको तहमा घटुवा गरएिका काङ्ग्रेसका २७ जिल्लाका पूर्वसभापतिहरूले पनि सार्वजनिक रूपमै विरोध जनाए । ...... "फेर िपनि टिकट वितरणमा तेरो र मेरो भनियो भने एकताको औचित्य खोजी हुनसक्छ ।" ...... े जम्बो शैलीमा गरएिको पदीय विभाजन ...... "यदि एकता हो भने किन त्यत्रो विशाल कार्यसमिति बनाउनुपथ्र्यो ...... एकीकृत पार्टीमा उपसभापति गोपालमान श्रेष्ठ र प्रकाशमान सिंह एवम् महामन्त्री विमलेन्द्र निधिले आफ्नो हैसियतभन्दा ठूलो पद पाएको विषयमा महासमिति बैठकको दोस्रो दिन असन्तोष पोखिएको थियो । विशेष गरी संस्थापन काङ् ग्रेसमा महामन्त्री रहेका रामचन्द्र पौड्याललाई यस एकताबाट ठूलो चोट पुगेको छ । राजनीतिमा आफूभन्दा कनिष्ठ श्रेष्ठ र सिंहलाई आफ्नो माथि राखिएपछि पौडेलले कोइरालासमक्ष गुनासो गरेका छन् । ......... ६०ः४० को अनुपातमा आफ्ना कार्यकर्तालाई महत्त्वपूर्ण पदहरू दिलाउन उनी सफल भएका छन् । ....... छोरी सुजातालाई पार्टीको नेतृत्वमा पुर्‍याउने चाहना र स्वयम् सुजाताको राजनीतिक महत्त्वाकाङ्क्षा पार्टीभित्र सल्किरहेको छ, भुसको आगोझैँ । ...... ८५ वषर्ीय कोइराला संविधानसभाको निर्वाचन सफलतापूर्वक सम्पन्न गरेर राजनेताको छवि बनाउँदै राजनीतिबाट सन्न्यास लिने मनस्िथतिमा देखिन्छन् । ...... यसले माओवादीलगायत वाम शक्तिहरूको राजनीतिक प्रभाव केही मत्थर गर्नसमेत मद्दत पुर्‍याउन सक्छ । ..... उल्टै पार्टी सभापति कोइरालाले राजनीतिक परिस्थितिका बारेमा बताएपछि भट्टराईले पार्टी परित्याग गर्ने आफ्नो निर्णयमा विचार गर्नसक्ने धारणा राख्दै थिए ।

CPN (M) sticks to its demand for proportional system; Oct 4-6 bandh called off NepalNews take initiatives to convince the six parties over the party’s demands. ..... there is general understanding among the parties to pass a commitment resolution from the parliament for federal democratic republic, but the Nepali Congress and the Maoists are locked in a dispute over the election system. ..... there is general understanding among the parties to pass a commitment resolution from the parliament for federal democratic republic, but the Nepali Congress and the Maoists are locked in a dispute over the election system.
Four blast-accused presented before media Jagat Narayan Thakur alias Jaya Narayan of Rautahat district, Upendra Shah, Ram Lakhan Shah and Sanjib Sharma of Bara district were arrested from Kathmandu ten days earlier. Among them, Upendra is a police official. ...... linked to a little known armed outfit called Terai Army, have admitted their involvement in the triple blasts ..... the bombers had come to Kathmandu from Rautahat to carry out blasts in a number of sensitive areas. Initially, they had plans to detonate bombs right inside the Singh Durbar, Supreme Court, Balaju Bus Park and Nepal Bangladesh Bank, but could not succeed due to the heavy security presence in these places. ....... nine other blast suspects are still at large. .... The blasts were allegedly masterminded by Kausal Sahani alias Mr. John who identifies himself as a senior leader of Terai Army. .... Hours after the blasts, Mr. John had given telephone interviews to some media stations in Kathmandu claiming responsibility for the bomb attack.
Strike shuts down schools across the country
EC extends nomination deadline the EC would not be able to make similar concessions in future. ... “Everything has its limit. The EC will not be in a position to consider such requests any more”
PM approves Mahato’s resignation; NSP faction to move SC against EC decision
Riot victims’ bandh hits normal life in Kapilvastu second day of indefinite bandh .... The riot victims have said the bandh will continue unless the government provides compensation to them and makes arrangements for rehabilitation of the displaced people.
Gajurel says no election before their demands are met; Mahato threatens the same Deepening the political crisis, two partners of the ruling coalition have now done a U-turn over their attitude towards the November 22 Constituent Assembly election ..... their second demand has generated bad blood between the Maoists and other parties, particularly Nepali Congress who think that changing election system at this late hour would mean that the election will not be held on time. ..... Rajendra Mahato, leader of the dissident faction of Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP-Anandidevi) who resigned from the position of Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies on Saturday, has warned that his party will now work to foil the CA election. ....... Piqued at the decision by the EC to recognise the NSP led by Anandidevi Singh as legitimate, the Mahato-led faction organised protest programmes on Saturday and burned effigies of chief election commissioner. Mahato's organisation also refused EC's request to register as a separate party. .... Mahato has warned to foil the CA election in Madhes region.
Parties agree to ask EC to postpone nomination date by five days
UML wants polls held on time
Police arrest Rajendra Mahato, three dozen others; all released now
Parties locked in debate over election system The failure among parties to reach consensus on election system could affect the election schedule published by the Election Commission. As per its schedule, parties will have to submit the closed list of candidates for PR-based election for November 22 election. However, Maoists have said they will foil the schedule if parties try to go ahead without fulfilling their demands first.
Maoists in no mood to file closed-list of candidate nomination on Sunday
ICG says Nepal's peace process is still fragile longstanding problems including weak political will, poor governance and security, and continued claims for representation by marginalised groups ....... “The Maoists could contest elections from outside government but polls without their participation would be meaningless, and they retain the capacity to make the country ungovernable if they oppose the process" ...... critical elements of the 2006 peace deal, such as security sector reform, remain to be tackled while the implementation and monitoring of past agreements have been minimal. ..... nationwide poll campaigning, will increase public confidence and leave less room for spoilers to manoeuvre .... opponents of the process, "especially royalists alarmed at the growing republican consensus, were desperate to derail it" ..... “More serious violence is a real risk. An election postponement will only reduce such dangers if major parties agree on urgent, substantive steps to address the grievances and governance failings that have fostered recent unrest. Failing this, further delays will only make solutions harder to find and invite unhelpful recrimination and finger-pointing.” ...... reaching cross-party consensus on security plans, engaging groups opposed to the polls in dialogue, and discussing the functioning of post-poll government and the CA.

SPA big guns meet, agree to disagree Himalayan Times “There is a very thin possibility of finding a meeting point,” Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai told this daily after a meeting held at the PM’s Baluwatar residence. .... “But the PM did not agree to go for a proportional representation system of election,” he said, adding that the other constituents of the alliance were ready to go for a proportional representation system. He added that his party was committed to holding the election in November, provided that it was held on proportional representation basis. .... Dr Bhattarai claimed that even the Election Commission officials told them that arrangements could be made for proportional representation system if the parties decided to go for it. Asked whether they would submit a closed list of candidates for proportional representation system of election on Sunday (September 30) to the Election Commission, he said, “There is no question of doing it”. But he added that the peace pro-cess would not break down. ...... The Maoist leadership is learnt to have told the PM and Nepal that other parties were planning to “isolate” the Maoists in the election.

Mahato to resign, will unleash agitation against EC decision NepalNews After the Election Commission (EC) decided to grant recognition to the Anandidevi Singh-led Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP), on Friday, the dissident faction led by Rajendra Mahato has announced that they will launch agitation against the decision. Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Mahato has decided to resign from his position. He is planning to tender his resignation to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on Saturday morning. The Mahato-led NSP will hold countrywide protest demonstrations in front of EC office and district EC offices. Likewise, they have announced to picket the EC offices on Sunday while imposing bandh in Madhes region from October 4-6. On Friday, EC had decided to recognise Anandidevi Singh-led NSP. However, it had also decided to register Mahato's party separately if he wants to, by Saturday afternoon.
Maoists in no mood to file closed-list of candidate nomination on Sunday

Maoists-called banda affects life in Sarlahi, Mahottari Kantipur
MPRF-Bhagya Nath called banda cripples life in Birgunj
Funds pour in for projects worth 57 MW The government has sealed loan commitments of US $ 45 million and Rs 2 billion for construction of the 30 megawatt (MW) Chamelia project and the 27 MW Raghughat project respectively. Additionally, the government has received loan commitment of Rs 1 billion for the construction of three high voltage transmission lines to link Nepal's national power grid with the Indian power grid. .... Chameliya River, a tributary of Mahakali River in Darchula district.
Limbuwan threatens fresh agitations the Federal Limbuwan State Council (FLSC) .... Kumar Lingden, general secretary of the group ..... "We have put three genuine demands to the government. We will not retreat an inch from our demands .... The group has demanded proclamation of a federal republic, an autonomous state with right to self-determination, and an ethnic-based proportional election system.
UML cadres call Dhading banda, Nepal condemns Maoist attacks
Maoists grievously injure ANNFSU leader
सद्भावना महतो पक्षद्वारा बहुमतको दाबी नेपाल सद्भावना पार्टर्ीीआनन्दीदेवी) का महतो पक्षले निर्वाचन आयोगलाई राष्ट्रिय कार्यसमितिको अध्यधिक बहुमत नवनिर्वाचित अध्यक्ष राजेन्द्र महतो पक्षमा रहेको जनाएको छ । अध्यक्ष महतोको नेतृत्वमा राष्ट्रिय कार्यसमितिका ३४ सदस्यीय प्रतिनिधिमण्डलले बिहीबार निर्वाचन आयुक्तलाई भेटर उक्त कुरा जनाएको प्रवत्ता सरिता गिरीले विज्ञप्तिमार्फ उल्लेख गरेकी छिन् । र्वर्तमान कार्यसमितिको ३६ मध्येका ३४ सदस्य एकीकृत राष्ट्रिय कार्यसमितिको सदस्यसमेत रहेको विज्ञप्तिमा उल्लेख छ । यस्तै बिहीबार बसेको राष्ट्रिय कार्यसमितिको बैठकले संविधानसभा सदस्य निर्वाचनको लागि उम्मेदवार मनोनयन गर्ने अधिकार अध्यक्ष महतोलाई दिएको विज्ञप्तिमा उल्लेख छ ।
प्रेसविरुद्ध माओवादी अधिनायकवाद
एकीकृत कांग्रेसको चुनौती

Seven party meeting ends as leaders differ over PR election system NepalNews Earlier, the Maoists held meeting of their central leaders where they decided to stick with the demand for fully PR based election system for forthcoming Constituent Assembly elections. ..... "We are committed to hold CA election on November 22. However, that election must be based on fully PR election system," Hisila Yami, told reporters after the meeting. ..... On Thursday's meeting among top leaders of seven parties, they had reached understanding to pass commitment proposal on republic through the parliament – seen as a compromise on Maoists' demand for declaring republic from the House
Maoists register petition demanding special session of the House As per the interim constitution, the prime minister has to call special session of the parliament if one-fourth of the parliament members demand so. In the interim parliament, 83 members are needed to meet the quorum while the Maoists have 84 members of their own
EC recognises Anandidevi's party; Mahato asked to register separately by Saturday The EC has asked the Mahato-led faction to register as a separate party by Saturday 4 pm for the purpose of contesting the Constituent Assembly (CA) election. ..... formally bringing about the division in the party.
Appellate court issues interim order asking pro-Maoist workers not to disrupt Kantipur
UML calls for immediate decision on Maoist demands UML’s central committee meeting is to begin form Saturday. The meeting will endorse the party’s election agendas and finalise the list of election candidates.
Dr Karki announces NRNA candidacy Former president of Association of Nepalis in America (ANA) Dr. Shyam Karki from Baltimore, Maryland, USA has announced his candidacy for the Non Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) president. He has worked as Vice President of the NRNA and is a Trustee of the International Nepali Literary Society (INLS). ..... Dr. Karki has been active in the community for more than 30 years and serves in more than 20 Nepali organizations including ANA, NRNA, NAC, INLS, Baltimore Association of Nepali in America, America Nepal Society and others as advisor, trustee, or life member. ..... He said the NRN movement needs to be broadened to include all stakeholders, expand new country chapters and find ways to mobilize the resources of 1.5 million NRN's worldwide. ...... "There is a need to establish clear property rights for all NRNs, expand investment opportunities and lobby for voting rights of NRN's who remain Nepali citizens. Similarly, there is great need to work on improving the skills and working conditions of Nepali workers and protect their rights in many host countries," he said. ..... He further stated that although there are an estimated 125,000 Nepalis and 150 organisations in North America, the USA based NRN's have yet to play a vital role in the NRNA movement.
Hirachan to contest for NRNA presidencyDev Man Hirachan, current vice president for Asia Pacific region has announced his candidacy for Non Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) International Coordination Committee (ICC). ...... NRNA Japan Chapter said Hirachan asked the NRNs in Japan to support his candidacy in a gathering of over 16 Nepali organisations recently. ...... The third NRN conference is to be held in Kathmandu October 15-17. Current president Dr Upendra Mahato has already stated he would not contest for third tenure.
Email banking service launched
Bandh cripples life in eastern Terai seperate strikes called by the Maoists' Mithilanchal State Committee and the dissident faction of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) .... Mahottari, Dhanusha, Siraha, Saptari and Sarlahi .... The MJF dissident faction led by Kishor Biswas has also called one-day Terai bandh on Friday.
Maoist union halts publication of Kantipur
SC says Rayamajhi Commission-accused can contest polls
Top leaders’ meeting inconclusive; next meeting Friday
PM intensifies political parleys; key parties 'agree' on commitment proposal for republic
CEC wants parties to settle rows in two days
UML calls off Dhading bandh
Police arrest 17 in connection with Kapilvastu violence
Nepal making no progress in business and economic reforms: WB report
Maoists have weakened ideologically and politically, says Nepal
Minister Pradhan holds series of meeting in New York informal meeting of the SAARC Foreign Ministers where she stressed on the improvement of intra-regional connectivity and trans-border transport infrastructure, enhancement of intra-regional trade, operationalisation of SAARC Development Fund, preparation of roadmap to South Asian Economic Union, implementation of SAARC Social Charter, and attainment of SAARC Development Goals

Nepali Congress decides to go for ‘federal democratic republic’ NepalNews more than 90 percent Mahasamiti members stood in favour of the republican agenda. The Mahasamiti later reached unanimous decision following hours of debate on the draft manifesto. ........ The election manifesto also commits to multilingual federal state, liberal economy, religious secularism and independent judiciary. ...... the President as Head of State be elected by the central and provincial parliaments. ...... the resolution commits to an ‘inclusive federal republican model’

Kishunji severs his relation with Congress NepalNews has written a letter to leaders and all the Mahasamiti members stating that they were involved in a "long but meaningless" exercise to adopt federal democratic republic line. ..... the exercise smacked of total disregard to the policy propounded by "evergreen leaders BP Koirala and Ganesh Man Singh."
PM hopeful of Maoists' return to the government; will meet with Prachanda today
Mahara rules out possibility of returning to govt
Unified NC to endorse republican manifesto; against declaring republic by parliament
Nepali Congress is one again