Thursday, January 22, 2009

Unification Of Madhesi Parties

MJF sets its political ideology the convention decided to broaden the party scope by distributing membership to people from hilly districts, adding that his party will make efforts for unification of all Madhes based parties.
A unification of the Madhesi parties is an idea whose time has come. The five Madhesi parties have to come together and start having national ambitions. The April 10, 2008 election results should be the basis for the unification.
  1. Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF)
  2. Terai Madhesh Loktantric Party (TMLP)
  3. Sadbhavana Party (SP)
  4. Nepal Sadbhavana Party
  5. Dalit Janajati Party
Nepalese Constituent Assembly election, 2008 - Wikipedia, the free...


I think Nepali Janadhikar Forum would be an apt name for the unified party.

Party President

Upendra Yadav is the obvious name. He leads the largest party, that's why. That is the democratic way.

Central Secretariat: 11 Members

The leaders of the five parties would be members. Six others from the two largest parties would also come in, perhaps four from the MJF, and two from the TMLP.

Central Committee: 33 Members

11 Secretariat members would be in. That leaves 22 seats. Those 22 seats have to be divided among the five parties based on how many votes they earned on April 10, 2008.

District Committees: 21 Members

The vote earned by a party in a particular district should decide how many seats it will get on that district committee.

Village/Town Committees

The same for the local level committees.

Growing In The Hills

The party then has to aim to grow in all 75 districts. For that a clear national agenda is needed.

National Convention

Once it has district committees in all or most of the 75 districts, the party has to hold its first national convention. I hope that can happen within a year from now.

National Agenda
  1. Geographic, not ethnic federalism.
  2. Four states: Koshi, Gandaki, Karnali, Terai.
  3. Retain the 75 districts.
  4. Direct elections for president. Second round between the top two candidates if no one candidate gets at least 50% of the vote.
  5. 75 multi member constituencies for the lower house.
  6. Completely proportional elections for the upper house with the entire country as one constituency. At least every other name on a party's list must be female.
  7. Unicameral legislatures in the four states. Component districts as multi member constituencies. The unicameral legislature elects a Chief Minister.
  8. Turn Nepal into a multi-party democracy of state funded parties.
Beating The Maoists On The Federalism Issue

The Maoists wish to go for ethnic federalism, and they wish to get rid of the 75 districts. Both those ideas have to be countered. It is in countering those two ideas that the One Terai, One State idea will be realized, and it is in countering those two ideas that the NJF can hope to become a truly national party with a presence in all or most of the 75 districts.

That NJF could do really well in the elections to be held after the country gets itself a new constitution.

Staying In Government

I think it would be important for the NJF to stay in government. The Maoists did win the April 10 elections. They deserve to lead. That is the mandate.

But the NJF has to work to get the NC and the UML behind the geographic federalism idea. And then the Maoists. If the Maoists don't come to the idea even after the NC and the UML have, at that point a NC-UML-NJF government can be thought of.

In The News

Five-party taskforce to decide on local bodies NepalNews
PM Dahal meets Koirala
PM refutes his party's hand in Uma Singh's murder
Sadbhavana Party also threatens stir "We are feeling the need to activate the UDMF again," said SP chief and Minister for Commerce and Supplies Rajendra Mahato ..... the SP will launch the stir if the government does not show seriousness to fulfill the understanding within next one month. ...... The UDMF includes TMLP, SP and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF). SP and MJF are partners in the current ruling coalition.
UML gen secy blames Maoists, NC for country’s mess senior UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal said the Home Minister looks seemingly helpless in safeguarding his party activists from repeated attacks by Maoist affiliated YCL cadres. .... He also called for strict action against PLA and YCL cadres who have been engaging in violent activities across the country.
CA committees to hold joint discussion
Pokhara shut down following clashes Industries, transportation and market places remain shut in Pokhara after ANNFSU deployed its cadres across the town for strike. .... The All Nepal National Independent Student Union Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) aligned 21 students, ANNFSU-aligned six students and six police personnel were injured on Wednesday's clash. The office of the Free Student Union has been vandalised and 15 motorbikes were burnt. .... the UML affiliated student group also organised out a rally in Kathmandu and announced that protests would go across the country

MJF Re-elects Yadav as President Himalayan Times JP Gupta (Saptari), Sharat Singh Bhandari (Mahottari), Renu Yadav (Saptari), Ram Sahaya Yadav (Bara), Lal Bau Raut (Parsa), Dr Tilak Rawal (Kathmandu), Asha Chaturbedi (Parsa), Jitendra Narayan Dev (Saptari), Bharatendra Mallik (Jhapa), Ram Lal Sopihar, Khalid Siddiki (Siraha), Bijay Kumar Gupta (Siraha), Chandrika Roy Yadav (Rupandehi), Ratneswor Goit (Dhanusha), Sanjay Kumar Shah (Dhanusha) and Rabindra Thakur (Mahottari)...... Ganesh Yadav (Rautahat), Jaya Prakash Yadav (Siraha), Rabindra Yadav (Sarlahi), Abdul Jabbar (Rautahat), Rameshor Roy Yadav (Sarlahi), Nasir Siddiki (Kathmandu), Mohammad Istiyak Raien (Banke), Ramjanam Chaudhary (Kathmandu), Arasi Yadav, Upendra Jha (Kathmandu), Rajeswori Jayasawal (Rautahat), Kabuli Paswan, Jipsi Chaudhary (Dhanusha), Ratneshor Kayastha (Kathmadnu) and Sahasaram Yadav ........ a five-member disciplinary committee comprising of Dr Shivaji Yadav (Mahottari), Sitaram Agrawal (Banke), Mukesh Kumar Singh (Chitwan), Yogendra Sahani (Parsa) and Ramewhor Shah (Kathmadnu).
Yadav reelected MJF chairman, 31-member CWC formed Kantipur "The enemies and elements who want to see split in the MJF won't be able to sleep tonight," said Yadav ...... Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta, Renu Yadav, Jitendra Narayan Dev, Sarat Singh Bhandari, Dr Tilak Rawal, Ram Jana Chaudhari, Upendra Jha, Ram Sahaya Yadav and Ratneshwor Goit have been announced for the party central committee. ....... Mohamad Istiyak Rai, Nashir Siddiqi, Abdul Jabbar, Lalbabu, Raut, Khalid Siddiqi, Rameshwor Raya Yadav ..... Bhartendu Mallik, Vijaya Kumar Yadav, Jaya Prakash Yadav, Sanjaya Kumar Sah, Rabindra Thakur, Rabindra Yadav, Ganesh Yadav, Chandrika Yadav, Ratneshwor Lal Kayastha, Sahasram Yadav, RC Yadav and Kabuli Paswan ......... Asha Chaturbedi, Rajeshwori Jayaswal and Jibachi Chaudhari ....... There are also accusations that the party leadership is dominated by Yadavs in caste and eastern part in region.

MJF chief authorised to pick new central committee NepalNews JP Gupta as co-president, Bijaya Gachhadar as senior leader and Sharat Singh Bhandari as general secretary of the MJF. ..... Following his election, leader Bijaya Gachhadar proposed that the president be authorised to pick the new CWC, which was approved by the closed session of the convention. .... 149 candidates for the committee of 30 positions.
Double digit growth will be reality, says NRB governor
Babban says Maoist lawmaker behind journo murder
Constitutional Committee consults experts
Parties nearing consensus on local bodies United CPN (Maoist) will have 22 seats for chairman and vice chairman in District Development Committees out of 75 districts. Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) will have 17 seats each for chairman and vice chairman of the DDC. ...... Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) will have seven seats ...... Maoists will lead 17 municipalities and NC and UML will lead 12 municipalities each. MJF will get five and CPN (ML) is likely to occupy two. ....... the parties failed to decide on leadership of the Village Development Committee
Yadav unanimously elected MJF chief More than 300 candidates announced to contest for the 31-member central committee. Around 1,300 representatives will cast their votes .... elected president will name vice president, general secretary, secretary and treasurer of the party.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Shape Federalism?

April Revolution: One For World History?

The number one question I am asking as to Nepal's next constitution is will or will not Nepal choose to become a multi-party democracy of state-funded parties? That is the supreme question. The number two question I am asking is will or will not Nepal end up with a federal parliament that is at least one third female by law? If Nepal can take these two big steps, Nepal will have become the number one democracy on the planet, and the April Revolution 2006 and the two Madhesi movements together will have been the French Revolution for this 21st century. In becoming a multi-party democracy of state-funded parties, Nepal will have synthesized the two major streams in global politics in the past century, namely capitalism and communism. Communism failed for lack of politcal pluralism. Capitalism failed by deviating from one person one vote democracy.

Federalism: Contention On The Map

This is likely to be the primary contentious issue in the constituent assembly. The country has already agreed on federalism as a principle. But the shape and form of federalism is bound to bring forth much heated debate and discussions.

The two primary victors of the April 10 elections have been the Maoists and the MJF. The Maoists have been pushing for ethnic federalism all along. First they had a nine state federalism, that I modified into an eight state federalism in the map above. Why not a Khasan also? After the Madhesi movement of 2007, the Maoists decided to break up the Madhesh state into three and take Chitwan out of Madhesh altogether. That was their way of punishing the Madhesis for the Madhesh movement.

The MJF's One Terai, One State call is a call for geographic federalism. But it has not produced a national map, and it has not made any attempts to seek allies in the UML and the Congress, and the other smaller parties. So although it might have a winning formula, it has floundered fundamentally in terms of tactics.

The MJF, if it hopes to succeed in its One Terai One State demand, must take some practical steps and isolate the Maoists on this question. The MJF has to realize that the UML, and the Congress are also opposed to ethnic federalism. And if the MJF, the UML, and the Congress can come together, their geographic federalism proposal will carry the day, and the Maoist ethnic federalism formula will go into the dustbins of history as one of intellectual curiosity, and no real impact.

The MJF's call for geographic federalism will only succeed if it is part of a larger package deal which addresses all major issues for the next constitution. It has to talk of retaining the current 75 districts. It has to talk of 75 multi member constituencies for the lower house, and a completely proportional formula for the upper house. It has to talk of a four state federalism: Koshi, Gandaki, Karnali, Terai. It has to talk of a directly elected president. Whereas it would be okay to have unicameral legislatures in the four states, and Chief Ministers elected by those legislatures.

Transition Challenges

75 Districts

Those who are for geographic as opposed to ethnic federalism must work to preserve the 75 districts. The Maoists might push for a three level government - federal, state, local - so as to push their agenda of ethnic federalism. Those for geographic federalism have to push for a four layer government - federal, state, district, local - to counter that.

Geographic Federalism For Economic Revolution

The number one argument for geographic federalism is that it will provide the best platform for an economic revolution for the country. In a vibrant economy, people and families move around. A Nepali citizen should feel at home in any part of the country, not just in their ethnic enclaves.

Mantra: Economic Revolution
Proposed Constitution

In The News

‘Divided’ MJF mulls over leadership, reforms at GC Himalayan Times The statute draft reforms proposed for collective leadership under the able guidance of an individual. ...... Upendra Yadav, Jaya Prakash Gupta, Renu Kumari Yadav, Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar, Sharat Singh Bhandari, Jitendra Dev and Nasir Siddiqui are members of the high-power panel.
Maoists Mull One-Man-One-Post Policy The 14 state councils include -- Kochila, Limbuwan, Kirant, Magarat, Tamuwan, Tamsaling, Newa:, Awadh, Bhojpura, Mithila, Tharuhat, Bheri-Karnali, Seti-Mahakali and Pravaas.
Dire Consequences if Govt Toppled: Dr Bhattarai
new directives, policies and regulations would be formulated and implemented at the village level after the formation of local bodies to expedite development works. .... the 123-MW Upper Seti Hydroelectricity Project and 600 MW Budhigandaki Hydroelectricity Project were on government's priority.
Breakthrough in Uma Singh’s murder case
One of the suspects is a Maoist cadre. While, the other is the commander of Tarai Ekta Parishad (TEP), an armed group in the Tarai. ...... TEP commander Mebi Lal Paswan was nabbed from Saghar in Dhanusha yesterday. “Yadav was arrested on the basis of Paswan’s statement ...... Dilip Shah, Maoists’ district in-charge admitted that Yadav was a regional member of the party. Enraged by his arrest, party cadres today blocked traffic at Malhaniya on the East-West Highway for two hours from 3 pm. ...... Paswan had been shot in the leg when he tried to flee during an encounter with the police.
Bid to rein in corruption in state organs The Administrative Restructuring Commission (ARC) will instruct the Ministry of General Administration (MGA) to collect the property details of government employees, who are working in state organs that are perceived to be prone to corruption. ....... Customs, land revenue and transport management departments are believed to be indulging in financial wrong doings. ........ “We also plan to draw the government’s attention to illegal practices of ministries and government offices as far as transfer of employees are concerned. The existing procedure is a blatant violation of the Public Service Act,” he added.

MJF closed-door session starts amid clashes between cadres NepalNews
Uma’s murderer has been nabbed: Minister Mahara
one of the prime suspects, Mebilal Paswan, who is affiliated with a little known outfit called Terai Ekta Parishad, has been detained and that he has admitted to murdering her.
MJF harps on Madhesh state
Kantipur Online, Nepal the new constitution should provide opportunities for the Madheshi people to be not only the country's President and Vice President, but also to be the Prime Minister and senior officers of the Nepal Army and the police. .... Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta, also the Minister for Agriculture, stressed the need for strengthening the party's organization
Second day of MJF Convention resume
Closed-door session of MPRF begins
Republica, Nepal
Special session at MJF Convention delayed
Kantipur Online, Nepal
Special session delayed due to dispute in MJF
Kantipur Online, Nepal
CC meeting approve its working procedure, Nepal

'No dispute within MJF' Kantipur Online, Nepal
MJF second general convention to kick off today
MPRF convention set to re-elect Upendra Yadav as party chief Republica The third largest party in the ruling coalition that was on the verge of split just weeks ago is "one" again. .... the possibility of split has passed after the party leadership agreed to include more members in the central committee from the party dissidents.
MPRF decides to address differences after convention
MPRF at crossroads 52 party lawmakers ...... he nine-hour long meeting of the party’s lawmakers on Wednesday, which was called to settle the issue, saw extremely heated exchanges between the lawmakers, if not fist fights, while journalists watched bemused through glass windows. ....... all four from Sunsari and Saptari districts. Preparations complete for MPRF convention Republica About 700 representatives from 22 tarai districts and Kathmandu and Gorkha districts in the hills
150 MJF, Maoist cadres quit, form new outfit Kantipur Online, Nepal
MJF CC meet underway Kantipur Online, Nepal BP Yadav-led group and Bijaya Kumar Gachchedar led group
TMDP eying to cash in on intra-party MJF rift Himalayan Times, Nepal
MJF unity depends on Yadav, says Gachhadar, Nepal
MJF may quit Maoists-led Nepal Govt: Minister Yadav
Disgruntled Nepal Maoist leader to form regional Madhesi party
MJF will not split: FM Yadav, Gachchedar
Kantipur Online, Nepal Claiming that the recent debate in the party was a democratic exercise, the two leaders added that nobody had the intention to split the party. .... “If Yadav does not abide by the politics of consensus, the party will split.” ...“If Yadav does not abide by the politics of consensus, the party will split.”
Confused cadres feel MJF rift heat Himalayan Times
MJF will not quit govt: Yadav

Gachhadar Wants MJF to Quit Govt Himalayan Times, Nepal
Gachchedhar, Gupta claim MJF won’t split Kantipur Online
MJF ministers unhappy with govt's performance
Nepal: Three MJF ministers tender resignation
MJF President Yadav's whims unacceptable: Nepal Minister, Nepal
Russian Federation still a world power: Nepal FM Yadav
MJF pushes one Madhesh Agenda
Kantipur Online, Nepal
Minister Gachhedar, lawmaker Mandal manhandled by own party workers Kantipur Online, Nepal Scores of MJF cadres led by Tuluram Rajbanshi forcefully dragged Minister Gachchhedar, who won the Constituent Assembly polls from a Morang constituency, and lawmaker Ramananda Mandali out of the vehicle they were travelling in and misbehaved them ..... the MJF workers including himself were injured after the irate cadres knocked those who went for the rescue of the minister and lawmaker.
Nepal: MJF will not divide, FM Yadav, Nepal
'YCL, Youth Force creating security nightmares'
YCL, YF Derailing Peace Process: Yadav Himalayan Times
YCL, YF must be dissolved: FM Yadav Kantipur Online
Nepal coalition partners threaten to pull out of Govt Indian Express, India

MJF general convention kicks off in Birgunj NepalNews the third largest party in the ruling coalition Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) ..... the largest party of Terai ..... senior political leaders from Chinese Communist Party, Bangladesh's Awami League, and Indian parties such as Janata Dal (United) and Nationalist Congress Party have arrived to participate in MJF's convention MJF General Convention kicks off in Birgunj Kantipur 1,500 party cadres and observers from 25 districts ..... special session will take place on Sunday and the election of Central Committee (CC) members on Monday. ....... there is no dispute regarding the leadership, Joint Chairman Jayaprakash Prasad Gupta said. ...... Yadav’s nine-page report stresses on the demand of “One Madhesh, One Province.” ....... the statute-related draft calls for provision of appointing all the CC members and the party chairman through election. ...... Four MJF leaders representing the party in the government have clarified that there are no differences within the party. ...... Chairman Upendra Yadav, Joint Chairman Jayaprakash Prasad Gupta, parliamentary party leader Bijay Kumar Gachchedhar and Renu Yadav

The Madhesi street Nepali Times
"Why?" We know Uma's father and brother were disappeared and killed by the Maoists when her family resisted Maoist attempts to grab their property. She wanted to pursue the case, but the culture of impunity has meant that those killers remain scot-free. ...... "If they had been arrested, this would never have happened. No one is scared here," her close friend and Siraha colleague, Rajesh Verma told us. We know Uma wrote critically of the Maoists. She had told some friends: "Journalism is a way for me to take revenge and seek justice for my family's suffering." ....... a major squabble in Uma's family. Uma's father was a landowner in Siraha's Maheshpur village, besides having property in Mirchaiya bazaar. The Maoists had captured it in the past, but some other family members were eyeing it now. These relatives had a cold relationship with both Uma and her mother. ........ Many in the Tarai feel that the state has willingly abdicated its responsibility to protect lives because Madhesis, not Pahadis, are dying. ....... As she was breathing her last on the way to Bardibas, Uma's only question was, "Why? What crime did I commit?" If she had stayed on as a meek, submissive woman in her village and accepted existing power and patriarchal norms, Uma may have survived.

Nepal: MJF CA members resign, President Yadav rigid in Kathmandu, some twenty-seven MJF leaders have submitted their joint resignation to the party general secretary Ram Sahaya Yadav from the post of the Constituent Assembly member.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

CPN (Maoist) To CPN (Deng)?

CPN (Maoist) To CPN (Deng)

When I heard rumors recently that the Maoists of Nepal might change the name of their party, I was hoping they would become CPN (Deng Xiaoping).

Mao was a disaster in power. He was terrible for the Chinese economy. The numbers show.

The Chinese Success Story

Deng Xiaoping - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Deng never held office as the head of state or the head of government, but served as the de facto leader of the People's Republic of China from 1978 to the early 1990s. ........ instrumental in introducing a new brand of socialist thinking, having developed Socialism with Chinese characteristics and Chinese economic reform, also known as the socialist market economy and partially opened China to the global market. ..... generally credited with advancing China into becoming one of the fastest growing economies in the world and vastly raising the standard of living. .......... Deng changed China from a country obsessed with mass political movements to a country focused on economic construction. ...... China's significant economic growth in the 1980s and 1990s was largely credited to Deng's policies. ........ Deng Xiaoping's policies are among some of the most successful industrializations in human history, comparable to only the rapid industrialization of Japan, the Soviet Union and the homeplace of the industrial revolution itself, Britain. In a little over 30 years, his policies was able to move China from the peasant society it once was to an industrial superpower whose industrial output is only second to that of the United States and is said to become world leaders in the economic market in just a few decades. ...... Favouring joint-ventures over domestic industry, Deng allowed foreign capital to pour into the country. While some see these policies as a fast method to put China on par with the west, Chinese hardline communists criticize Deng for abandoning the Party's founding ideals and selling out China.
CNN In-Depth Specials - Visions of China - Profiles: Deng Xiaoping "Poverty is not socialism." He encouraged the creation of a market economy and capitalist-like enterprises, and by the early 1990s his reforms had helped lift an estimated 170 million peasants out of extreme poverty. ..... Born in 1904 to a prosperous landowner in a village 65 miles from Chongqing in the south-central province of Sichuan, Deng turned to revolutionary thought early, and his résumé as a Communist is almost as long as Mao Tse-tung's. ...... Deng's pragmatic ideas for economic development, however, often put him at odds with Chairman Mao, who emphasized egalitarian policies and revolutionary zeal. ....... Mao once complained that Deng treated him "like a dead ancestor" and later quipped, "Which emperor authorized that?" when Deng ordered the turnover of collective lands to individual peasants to help relieve the famines of 1959-62 that resulted from Mao's failed Great Leap Forward that began in 1958. ....... three political purges. Fellow revolutionaries ousted him in 1933, but he was back in good standing a year later. His 1966 fall from grace would last far longer. Responding to the famines induced by the Great Leap Forward during which an estimated 30 million people died, Deng proposed major reforms, such as free markets for farmers and incentive bonuses. In short order he was denounced as a "capitalist roader," held under house arrest for two years, paraded in a dunce cap through the streets of Beijing and forced to wait tables at a Communist Party school. ...... One of Deng's first reforms was to abolish Mao's rural agricultural communes and allow peasants to cultivate family plots. Grain harvests quickly increased ...... City dwellers were allowed to start small-scale businesses, ordinary Chinese were allowed to buy consumer goods, and Deng actively courted international investors.
TIME Magazine | 60 Years of Asian Heroes: Deng Xiaoping Deng has come to be linked to China's astonishing economic development, and to the steering of China away from its Leninist and Maoist organizational straitjacket into a wider world of technological growth and international trade. .......... the pragmatist, as the man who introduced a new economic dynamism with his striking phrase that it did not matter whether a cat was black or white as long as it could catch mice. ........ the nation's long-dormant entrepreneurial spirit had to be encouraged, not inhibited, and that the capitalist nature of some of the needed changes had to be openly accepted ......... there was the need to revamp the educational system, especially universities and research institutes; the military had to be streamlined and professionalized; lawyers had to be trained in the intricacies of commercial and corporate law, and be able to have cases heard in a viable and expanded judicial system; more Chinese had to be permitted to study overseas, and foreign students and tourists to come to China ......... Leading China down the capitalist path, Deng relaxed all manner of economic controls and launched Special Economic Zones—free-trade enclaves that demonstrated the prosperous potential of a liberalized economy. These initiatives helped transport millions of Chinese out of poverty in the space of just a few decades, a feat unprecedented in history; transformed China into the global manufacturing behemoth that it now is; and heralded the country's arrival on the world stage as a major geopolitical and financial player. ........ Deng could never forget that it was a Maoist vision, however flawed and ruthless, that had helped unite China after its decades of fragmentation. Mao might have pulled the nation together, but it was Deng who pushed it toward prosperity and modernity, and a future as one of the world's great powers.


There is also a lot of talk of Switzerland, as in Nepal should get itself a constitution like that of Switzerland. I find the direct democracy models of Switzerland not too practical for Nepal. We have a hard enough time holding free and fair elections. The low literacy rate will complicate the process further.

Politics of Switzerland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia the closest state in the world to a direct democracy. ...... The Swiss executive is one of the most stable governments worldwide. ...... Switzerland has a rich party landscape. ..... judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly ....... Although it has a diverse society, Switzerland has a stable government. ...... among the least corrupt nations. ....... Together with seven other European nations, Switzerland leads the 2005 index on Freedom of the Press ....... The energy generated in Switzerland comprises 55.2% hydroelectricity, 39.9% from nuclear power
Demographics of Switzerland Switzerland consistently ranks high on quality of life indices, including per capita income, concentration of computer and internet usage per capita, insurance coverage per individual, and health care rates. ....... 2007 7,593,500 ...... Total population was projected to stagnate in 2036 at around 8.1 million
Switzerland's Political System: Decentralisation, Federalism and..

I am all about learning from the Chinese success story. But just like Deng did not stop at Mao's teachings, the Nepali Maoists need to have the guts to go beyond Deng himself. Deng teaches good stuff on the economy. But he fails on the political front. The Nepali Maoists have the option to embrace political pluralism in an ideological way.

The Maoists did win an election. And I do intend to respect the people's verdict. They did so well electorally in Kathmandu Valley. I don't feel they bulleyed the people in the valley into voting for them.

The two biggest winners of the April 10 elections have been the Maoists and the MJF, neither of which had much of a presence in the 1990s. That shows the Nepali people were looking for new faces, new parties. The Congress and the UML got punished for their old thinking, old ways.

Law And Order

There can be no strong economy without basic law and order.

10,000 MW In 10 Years

That goal can not be achieved if the Maoists keep scaring away the foreign investors like they have. The economy losing 70,000 industrial jobs due to bad behavior by the Maoist trade unions is not how you lead the economy.

Peace Talks And The Terai

The armed Madhesi groups are a symptom that if you integrate the Royal Army, and the Maoist Army, you end up with a Pahadi Army.

What Shape Federalism?

That is where the primary contention is going to be in the constitution making process.

Transition Challenges

Who Killed Journalist Uma Singh?

A minister out of reins

One of the influential leaders of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (now Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)) Matrika Yadav always draws attention once he joins the government -- sometimes by seizing red sandalwood, and at other times by locking Local Development Officer in toilet. Most recently, his seizure of land belonging to Birendra Sah, an ordinary citizen at Mirchaiya, Siraha district, has become a topic of hot discussion. In his effort to prove that he is different from the others, Yadav has come to believe that he is above the law, which is his illusion.

His relationship with his party and the party's Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has soured over his act of seizing a citizen's land. He had to resign even from the cabinet after his party asked him to apologize on behalf of the party over the case. After being relieved from his ministerial responsibilities, Yadav is busy participating in programs organized by his party's sister organization, Madhesi National Liberation Front, in various parts of Siraha and Sarlahi districts.

The then Minister for Land Reform and Management Matrika Yadav seized the land belonging to 75 locals including Sah with the help of Young Communist League cadres on September 14, 2008. He has distributed 11 bigahas of land and a house with 16 rooms to his party's 200 dalit activists as part of his campaign to nationalize the property of former royal family members. He has alleged that the land actually belongs to former King Gyanendra's brother-in-law Mohan Shahi.

Yadav has ordered local dalits and squatters of Malhaniya, Raghopur, Kuthanama, Jiwa, Mirchaiya, Matiyawa, Rampur, Birta and Prayagpur to build huts and settle over the seized land.

The land seizure was initially done by Maoist cadres led by the party's district in-charge and Matrika's own son-in-law Dilip Sah, Constituent Assembly member Mahendra Paswan and local Maoist leader Jagat Yadav on August 30.

The land was freed under the directives of Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam. But the land was captured again under direct orders from the then Minister Yadav in less than 24 hours.

"Home Minister interfered in my jurisdiction without informing me," Yadav had said. "I went there to help them [dalits] settle as before. What I have done is hundred percent right."
During the people's war, Maoist activists used to run a people's court in the house spread in a 25-kattha area. Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) activists had chased away the Maoist cadres from the house during Madhes movement.

Money scam

It was revealed that financial dealing was the main reason behind the Maoist cadres' seizure of the 11 bigahas of land and the house at Ramnagar Mirchaiya-3. One of the victims, Birendra Sah, has claimed that the property was seized as he failed to pay donation as demanded by the Maoists. Sah has claimed that he has already given Rs 4 million including a bank check worth Rs 1 million and Rs 3 million in cash in donation to the Maoists.

Sah has claimed that he paid Rs 700,000 to Maoist Constituent Assembly member elected from Siraha-5, Mahendra Paswan, Rs 1.8 million to Siraha district in-charge Dilip Sah, Rs 1 million worth check to former district in-charge Surya Nath Yadav and Rs 500,000 to former district secretary and district coordinator of a Maoist sister organization Abinash. He claimed that Maoists were demanding additional Rs 1 million and that the land was seized as he failed to pay the amount.

The former Maoist district secretary Abinash has confirmed that Birendra Sah of Kalyanpur VDC-6 had provided a total of Rs 4 million as donation to the party. Secretary Abinash has revealed that the amount was taken by the party activists as per the internal understanding that they would pay back the amount to the party.

Such activities on the part of former Minister Yadav have already crossed all limits. The public is asking the question whether Matrika who gained little knowledge of parliamentary affairs even after assuming the portfolio of a minister has any mental problem.

Yadav's latest act of seizing land has strained his relationship with Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam, who represents CPN-UML in the cabinet. The Maoist leadership is also saying that it would take action against Yadav. These activities of moody and eccentric Yadav have dealt a blow to the politics of consensus.

1,200 bigahas of land seized by Maoists in Siraha

The Maoist have not returned the seized land in Siraha district even three months after Maoist chairman and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal directed his party cadres to do so. Some 1,200 bigahas of land captured during the People's War is still under Maoist control.

The 12-point understanding between the then Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists on November 22, 2005, has stated that the seized land and houses would be returned to their rightful owners. Likewise, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the government and the Maoists on November 21, 2006 also pledges return of seized land and property and creation of conducive environment to help the displaced return to their respective villages. Above all, the agreement also states that a committee comprising government and Maoist members would be formed for the purpose.

But the committee has not taken shape yet due to political bickering among major parties, says a Chief District Officer. Though the 25-point Code of Conduct developed after the first round of negotiations between the government and the Maoists last June clearly states that the displaced should be able to return to their villages and receive their properties seized during the insurgency, this has not been implemented in the case of displaced people in Siraha district.

During the insurgency, 225 people were displaced from the district. According to Informal Sector Service Center (Insec) Representative Devraj Pokharel, Maoists seized land belonging to 80 families here during the insurgency period. The Maoists did not take the process of returning the seized land and houses to their rightful owners to a logical end, Pokharel said. Likewise, the people displaced due to several other armed groups are not able to return to their villages either, he added.

According to Ram Chandra Gupta, vice chairman of Human Rights Organization Siraha, though Maoist cadres have not returned property belonging to commoners, they returned all the land at Karjanha VDC belonging to Russia-based renowned Non-Resident Nepali Industrialist Upendra Mahato on the condition that Mahato would provide a big amount of money as donation to the Maoist party.

During the insurgency period, Maoist cadres seized 89 bigahas of land belonging to Upendraman Prajapati's family of Mahadev Portaha, 125 bigahas of land of Satyanarayan Shrestha of Madar, 300 bigahas belonging to Manoj Shrestha from Arnamapipra, 25 bigahas belonging to Mahendra Yadav from Siraha and 125 bigahas of land belonging to former District Development Committee President Umesh Chandra Das.

Likewise, they seized 81 bigahas belonging to Lava Bikram of Sirloha Pachhwari VDC, and 40 bigahas of Laxmi Bahadur Niraula. Similarly, they seized 80 bigahas of land at Nahara Nigoul VDC-4 from Chaturbhuj Singh of Rajbiraj, 85 bigahas of land belonging to Krishna Chandra Jha of Arnama Bangthiya, 60 bigahas at Bariyarpatti belonging to Kiran Pradhananga, six bigahas belonging to the sons of renowned poet late Siddhicharan Shreshta, garden spread in seven bigahas of land belonging to Nepali Congress Siraha district President Sita Devi Yadav and other 30 bigahas of land belonging to Sita Devi's family.

But, the information availed by the District Police Office Siraha shows that Maoists have seized only 374 bigahas of land. Maoist Coordinator in Siraha, Dilip Sah, claimed the Maoist party has so far not issued any instruction regarding returning the seized land to the rightful owners. Sah claimed that the seized land would be returned only after the government forms a Land Reforms Commission.

(This article written by Uma Singh was published in the October 2008 edition of Nepali Sarokar monthly, and reproduced on Tuesday by our sister news portal in Nepali, Uma was murdered at her residence in Janakpur on Sunday.)

BBC News
Thousands mourn Nepal journalist
BBC News, UK - Jan 13, 2009
By Charles Haviland Thousands of people have joined the funeral procession of Uma Singh, the Nepali journalist murdered in the southern city of Janakpur on ...
Singh's murder might be politically motivated: FNJ Kantipur Online
Uma Singh killed to exact revenge: FNJ Himalayan Times
Rights activist stabbed to death in Nepal AsiaOne
all 164 news articles »
EU urges govt to probe into murder of scribe Singh at earliest
Kantipur Online, Nepal - Jan 13, 2009
... (EU) Missions in Kathmandu, Wednesday urged the government to probe into the incident and bring the guilty in the murder of scribe Uma Singh to book. ...
Minister Mahara leaving for Janakpur to inquire journo murder
Kantipur Online, Nepal - 6 hours ago
KATHMANDU, Jan 15 - Four days after Dhanusha-based journalist Uma Singh was brutally murdered, a team led by Minister for Information and Communications ...
PM postpones Europe visit
Kantipur Online, Nepal - 8 hours ago
"I would like to thank you all for the concern shown against the killing of journalist Uma Singh, the incident has shocked the government as well," he said. ...
Scribe’s murder forces Nepal PM to cancel junket
all 36 news articles »
Unidentified group kills Dhanusa based journalist Singh
Kantipur Online, Nepal - Jan 11, 2009
DHANUSA, Jan 12 - Dhanusa based journalist Uma Singh who was attacked and injured by an unidentified group died on Sunday night. Singh was attacked by a ...
Meanwhile, an unidentified group has threatened to kill Kantipur's ... E Kantipur
all 2 news articles »

Murders in Nepal, Sri Lanka Underscore Dangers for Journalists in Asia
findingDulcinea, New York - 4 hours ago
The United Nations is urging Nepal’s government to protect the media, after Uma Singh, a reporter with Radio Today FM and a member of the Women’s Human ...
Schoolboy gets himself abducted, lands in police dragnet
Times of India, India - 19 hours ago
Manuraj (17), a student of class 11 in Bhupat Singh College in Manaknagar in the city, went missing from his house on January 9 evening. ...
A minister out of reins
Republica, Nepal, Nepal - Jan 14, 2009
(This article written by Uma Singh was published in the October 2008 edition of Nepali Sarokar monthly, and reproduced on Tuesday by our sister news portal ...
MP: Supporters want Prahlad Patel to rejoin BJP
Times of India, India - Jan 12, 2009
A delegation of his supporters soon will call on Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and state unit BJP president Narendra Singh Tomar to ...
Prahlad parts ways with Uma Zee News
Prahlad Patel likely to return to BJP India Today
all 3 news articles »
Legislature-parliament kicks off, TMDP boycotts session
E Kantipur, Nepal - Jan 13, 2009
... will not allow the legislative session move on if the home minister fails to furnish answers on the murder of Dhanusha-based journalist Uma Singh. ...

Journalist Singh’s murderers won’t be spared: PM Dahal Dahal who is also the Maoist Chairman, however, said that even the Maoist cadres will be punished if found guilty, FNJ Secretary Ramji Dahal informed...... the FNJ noted that journalist Singh was murdered in a pre-planned manner. In a preliminary investigation report, the FNJ said political and family reasons could be behind Singh’s murder stressing that the case should be linked with the abduction of her father and brother allegedly by the Maoists. ... Journalist Singh was murdered on Sunday night by an unidentified group of 20 men. Even after five days, no arrests have been made so far.
Minister Mahara in Janakpur to inquire Singh murder “I am here as the prime minister was busy,” said he. .... FNJ President Dharmendra Jha also arrived here with the Communications Minister. ..... An unidentified group of about 20 men had brutally stabbed Singh with Khukuris on Sunday night.
Nationwide protests on against journo murder The journalists are set to intensify the protests as the police have been unable to arrest those involved in Singh's murder even after five days. The agitating journalists have decided to stop the works at the entire government and non government offices from tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Madhesi Movement: Next Phase

The three major Madhesi parties are in a resurgent mood. The internal wrangling inside the MJF is not the murmur before a split, that is the murmur before a new, heightened sense of unity and mission. The TMLP is in a major growth phase. Now that the Congress cadres in the Terai know that the best days of the Congress in the Terai are in the past, they are thronging to the TMLP in large numbers. The Congress no longer feels like the elephant in the room in the Terai. It is on its way to what happened to the Congress in India in Bihar and Utter Pradesh. A once mighty party ended up with a token presence in both those states.

There are those who are unhappy that former Congress leaders like Jaya Prakash Gupta, Bijay Gachhedar, Renu Yadav, and Sharad Singh Bhandari have kind of taken over the party. They need to understand that the MJF's primary tussle in the Terai for the April 10 elections was with the Congress, and so the MJF did what the TMLP tried to do, but did not succeed. Both parties tried their very best to win away Congress leaders, cadres and voters from the Congress. The MJF succeeded, but the TMLP only mildly succeeded. But then I expect the TMLP to do much better in the next parliamentary elections which will likely take place in less than two years from now.

That there are three or four Madhesi parties is not bad news. There will be competition and the people will benefit. That is how democracy works. I never felt bad that there are more than one Madhesi party in the ring. The more the merrier. The Madhesi people do not need to depend on any one party to fulfill their aspirations. If the Madhesi people feel the MJF is not being true to the cause, they might flock to the TMLP and the Sadbhavana, and vice versa. And that is good news. That is the beauty of democracy.

The demand of One Terai, One Province is a demand for geographic federalism. 40% of the people in the Terai districts are non-Madhesi. I think the Madhesi leaders should stop calling it One Madhesh, One Pradesh, instead they should say one Terai, one Pradesh. Madhesh denotes one cultural group, namely the Madheshi, Terai denotes all those living in the Terai, Madhesi, Tharu, Pahadi, Janajati.

Four geographical states of roughly equal areas might be a good idea for federalism in Nepal. I have been emphasizing that we retain the 75 districts.

In The News

Nepal's Terai-based alliance warn of stir Zee News, India Rajendra Mahato, Minister for Commerce and Supplies, underlined that the Madhesis demands, including greater representation in the state structure, were still to be fulfilled.
India provoking civil war in Nepal Terai: Maoist leader, Nepal “Our Prime Minister is not serious over the issues of nationalism, he turned out to become the prime minister of just only of the Pahadiya Community.” ..... “The Prime Minister is not at all serious about the Madhesi issues”. ..... “If Madhesi issues are not addressed properly, the split of Nepal as a nation state is inevitable”, said Mr. Yadav.
MJF internal wrangling delays House session, cabinet meeting, Nepal The MJF called the parliamentary party meeting to resolve the internal dispute after two thirds of its CA members submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister asking him to relieve all four MJF ministers from the cabinet.
MJF parliamentary meet underway Kantipur Online The group led by lawmaker BP Yadav
Matrika threatens to leave Maoist party if Madhesis betrayed, Nepal
Nepal: MJF will not divide, FM Yadav
YCL, YF Derailing Peace Process: Yadav Himalayan Times
YCL, YF must be dissolved: FM Yadav Kantipur Online
MJF will quit govt if Koshi dam problems not addressed: FM Yadav Kantipur Online
FM Yadav threatens to quit Nepal government
TMLP announces protest programmes, Nepal
TMLP publicises struggle programmes Kantipur Online
TMLP withdraws support to govt
TMLP to announce agitation on Saturday
Mulayam meets Nepal president
Integrate our cadres into security agencies: Madhesi Virus Killers Kantipur Online, Nepal
Nepal: Madhesi Forum in a fight to finish, Nepal Bijay Kumar Gachhadar who has come under fire from party cadres for his statement against ‘One Madhes, One Pradesh’ said his party stood by the slogan.
Gachhadar lambasts Upendra Yadav Himalayan Times
Single Madhes province is MJF’s ideal, says Yadav
Conflict growing within MJF Kantipur OnlineGachchedhar has hinted that the increasing differences within the party could eventually lead to its split. He said, "People close to Yadav have sponsored provocation against my remarks in different districts and also tried to burn my effigy." ..... Saying that chairman Yadav is running the party on communist tyrannical ideology, he informed, "We are now campaigning against one-leadership system and campaigning for group-leadership."

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