By Baleshwar Agrawal
On February 1, 2005, King Gyanendra of Nepal dismissed the government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba whom he had nominated Prime Minster only a few months earlier, for his failure to control the Maoists challenge to law and order in the country and also to conduct fresh elections for Parliament. Eversince the democratic political parties have been agitating for restoration of the dissolved Parliament and the formation of an all-party interim government. The Maoists have also intensified their violent activities, particularly in the countryside, kidnapping students and others, extortion from businessmen and industrialists and creating law and order problems from time to time.
The Maoists have declared unilateral ceasefire from October 3 for a period of three-months keeping in view the Dussehra and Diwali festivals. The government has not responded positively to the ceasefire, saying that there was no war declared on the Maoists and therefore there was no question of ceasefire. Further the government spokesman said that the Maoists have not been sincere in the past and have utilised the ceasefire for consolidating and strengthening their units with new recruites. The Maoists have declared their intention to join hands with political parties against the rule of the King.
It is agreed on all counts that solution of the present deadlock is a dialogue between the King and political parties and then with the Maoists. Dr Tulsi Giri, Vice-Chairman of the Council of Ministers, who has been declared a hardliner, announced for the first time on October 3, 2005, that the government was ready to hold talks with the agitating political parties to find a solution to the present impasse. Political parties have spurned the offer saying that it did not accept the legitimacy of the present setup constituted by King Gyanendra.
Political parties have spurned the offer saying that it did not accept the legitimacy of the present setup constituted by King Gyanendra.
Where do you go from here? The deadlock cannot be ended without a dialogue and the political parties are presently not prepared for it. It will result in more economic hardship, increase the tension between the two sides.
The political parties have been demanding the restoration of Parliament, which was dissolved in 2002 on the recommendation of the democratically elected Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba. The Maoists, however, are not in favour of the restoration of Parliament, as they did not have any member in the dissolved House.
The Chinese are actively engaged in penetrating in the Nepalese affairs. They described King'sFebruary action as the internal affair of Nepal.
The Supreme Court of Nepal is hearing a review petition seeking restoration of the dissolved House pending for the last three years. The dissolved House had almost all the members elected from the political parties. If the Supreme Court decides in favour of restoration of Parliament, it could be accepted by both the sides without losing face. The King could ask the 205-members to elect a leader, who could be sworn in as prime minister and asked to constitute a non-party government. This government could conduct the municipal election early next year and the elections to Parliament as early as possible. It could also have dialogue with the Maoists and persuade them to join the political mainstream and contest elections.
The Chinese are actively engaged in penetrating the Nepalese affairs. They described King'sFebruary action as the internal affair of Nepal. Their Foreign Minister paid an official visit to Nepal and the Nepalese Foreign Minister, Ramesh Nath Pandey, went on an 11-day official visit to China. Even his Majesty the King and the Finance Minister of Nepal visited China during this period. Chinese have promised all support, both economic and military to Nepal. Shri Ramesh Pandey on his return from China to Kathmandu in September said if India, the US and UK were not extending their cooperation, they had to get it from other countries. A few decades back China helped the military government in Myanmar, both economically and militarily. Today Myanmar is completely in the shadow of China. Let us hope that it will not be repeated in Nepal.