Thursday, July 26, 2012

Taking Kanak Mani Dixit To Task

Kanak Mani Dixit: Hindustan Times: Time to mend fences
BP Koirala enjoyed a wide range of contacts with national and regional leaders, including Jawaharlal Nehru, JP Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia and LN Mishra. Today, Nepal is reduced to the level of Maoist leaders Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) and Baburam Bhattarai who seem content in their contact with Indian desk officers and handlers.
Comparing Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai to BP Koirala is unfair. That would be like comparing Fareed Zakharia to Kanak Mani Dixit, both are well known journalists, but in two different leagues. But I'd suggest Baburam Bhattarai's friend Prakash Karat is no "desk officer and handler."
Having worked with permutations from absolute monarchy to parliamentary anarchy, the Indian State seems to be on the lookout for whoever will ‘deliver the goods’, viz hydropower; stored water for irrigation, navigation and urban use; security across the frontier; and shared economic growth with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in particular.
The suggestion seems to be that New Delhi should only do business with Nepal when the Nepali Congress is in power. That is wrong thinking. New Delhi should do business with whoever the Nepali people vote into power.
Like the ‘useful idiots’ in Kathmandu, a vocal coterie in India thinks it is chic to ridicule Nepal’s parliamentary parties as retrograde conservatives.
But that is the case. The Nepali Congress and the UML are status quoists that just played a fundamental role in momentarily defeating the just cause of federalism. They disallowed due process because due process was about to get the country federalism.
(New Delhi) helped cobble together the Bhattarai-led Maoist-Madhesbadi coalition in August 2011 and got involved in the federalism debate.
It is the Nepali people who want federalism in Nepal. It is not New Delhi. It is the Nepali people that voted for the Maoists and the Madhesi parties.
Hard to believe, but India was lobbying for one or two Tarai-based provinces, which made little sense from the perspective of devolution of power, regional stability, or dignity and economic well-being of the plains people of Nepal.
This is where Kanak Mani Dixit reveals himself. He is no impartial journalist. The media in Kathmandu is part of the status quo power structure, the kind that runs the show at parties like the Nepali Congress and the UML. Kanak Mani Dixit reminds me of Gagan Thapa. Both are smart, talented people doing well with their respective careers. And I saw one cause with them in 2005 when we were all working for democracy. But now they feel so very distant. Their ethnic prejudice is their one ideology. The Janajatis and the Madhesis need to vacate the Nepali Congress and the UML.

Of course there are going to be "one or two Tarai-based provinces." That is what the people in the Terai want. That is what the Madhesi Movement was all about.
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Act Of A Potential President

English: Pushpa Kumar Dahal (also known as Pra...
English: Pushpa Kumar Dahal (also known as Prachanda), prime minister of Nepal, during av visit to Norway in March 2009 ‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Pushpa Kumar Dahal (også kjent som Prachanda), Nepals statsminister, under et besøk i Norge i mars 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
आफ्नो सबै सम्पत्ति पार्टीलाई बुझाउने प्रचण्डको घोषणा, लाजिम्पाट निवास पनि छाड्ने 


 एकीकृत माओवादीका अध्यक्ष प्रचण्डले आफ्नो सम्पत्ति पार्टीलाई बुझाउने घोषणा गर्नुभएको छ । पार्टीको सातौं विस्तारित बैठकको समापन गर्दै अध्यक्ष प्रचण्डले आफूसँग रहेका सबै सम्पत्ति पार्टीलाई बुझाउने घोषणा गर्नुभएको हो । माओवादी लडाकूको रकम हिनामिना भएको भन्दै अध्यक्ष प्रचण्ड लगायत पार्टी नेतृत्वको विस्तारित बैठकमा चर्को आलोचना भएपछि अध्यक्ष प्रचण्डले यस्तो घोषणा गर्नुभएको हो । उहाँले वैकल्पिक आवासको व्यवस्था हुनासाथ लाजिम्पाट निवास छाड्ने समेत घोषणा गर्नुभयो । अध्यक्ष प्रचण्डले यस्तो घोषणा गर्दा बैठकमा सहभागीहरुले लामो समयसम्म ताली बजाएर घोषणाको स्वागत गरेका थिए । अध्यक्ष प्रचण्डले केन्द्रमा आर्थिक र लेखा समिति गठन गर्ने समेत जानकारी दिनुभयो । पार्टीभित्रको गूटबन्दी अन्त्य भएको आभाष दिलाउन आफ्नो सचिवालयका कर्मचारी बाबुराम भट्टराईकोमा र भट्टराईको सचिवालयका कर्मचारी आफ्नो सचिवालयमा ल्याउने समेत अध्यक्ष प्रचण्डले बताउनुभयो ।
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A Possible Roadmap

English: Composition of the 2011 Tunisian Cons...
English: Composition of the 2011 Tunisian Constituent Assembly Français : Composition de l'Assemblée Constituante tunisienne de 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Step 1: Form a non political government of technocrats to hold elections to a new constituent assembly. Amend all laws necessary to that effect. None of the political parties would participate in such a government.

Step 2: Give that assembly six months to come up with a new constitution.

Step 3: Turn that assembly into a parliament that would serve for three and a half more years.

Step 4: Within a year of the assembly coming into shape, hold elections for a new president. The president would be directly elected by all peoples of Nepal.

Step 5: Within a year of the assembly being turned into a parliament, hold elections for local bodies at the village/town/city level and at the state level to form state governments.
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Upendra Mahato In Town

There was an event at Yak Friday evening. Upendra Mahato was in town with his family. He said this was his first vacation since before he launched his entrepreneurial career in 1989.

BP Koirala is the founder of the Nepali Congress. Upendra Mahato is the founder of the NRN Movement. What Laxmi Mittal is to Indians across the world Upendra Mahato is to the Nepalis across the world. To my saying that in my remarks Ratan Jha added, they even look alike.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Krishna Bhattachan On BBC

I have been listening to this audio clip of Krishna Bhattachan over and over again. I think I have already listened to it six times. And I am not done yet.

33% For Women, Non Territorial State For Dalits

The biggest political achievement in Nepal these past few years have been these two:
  1. 33% reservation for women.
  2. Non territorial state for Dalits. 
The first puts Nepal's democracy ahead of America's, ahead of Britain's. The second puts Nepal's democracy ahead of India's. There is one missing link. Nepal has to be turned into a multi-party democracy of state funded parties. That one element will turn Nepal into the top democracy in the world.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

How To Build A Unified Madhesi Party


The unified Madhesi party can not be the work of the Madhesi Front that is in power. It has to go beyond that. Upendra Yadav also has to be invited. Fringe parties like that of Sarita Giri also have to be brought in, as the Janata Dal. Sharad Singh Bhandari has to be brought in.

The best way to do it is to work towards a general convention. There would be an ad hoc organizing committee comprising of all Madhesi parties big and small. If there is an agreement on the name of the party that would be great. But there can be no agreement on the party president beforehand. That would be for the convention to decide. It would be perfectly okay to hold an election among several contestants.

I can see it being a three month process. From a massive membership drive to move to the village/town/city level conventions to the constituency level conventions, to the district level conventions to the national convention might take a few months.

The party has to be inclusive of the Pahadis in the Terai. It should be named such that it has the option to also expand into the hill districts.

Such a unified Madhesi party, if it were to be formed, would sweep the Terai in the elections to the next assembly. Between that Madhesi party, the yet to be formed Janajati party and the Maoist party of Baburam Bhattarai, they'd secure an easy two thirds majority in the next assembly to give this country the federal constitution it deserves. Which is the whole point. Those three forces should seek a pre-poll alliance and not contest against each other anywhere in the country.

The Idea Of One Madhesi Party

I seem to like names like Sadbhavana Party or Janata Dal. Panja would be a great election symbol. The party flag should have three colors for Himal, Pahad, Madhesh.

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