While the seven-party alliance (SPA) in Nepal is striving hard to get on with the job of carving out a roadmap for a genuinely democratic polity, an impatient Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda, the Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has been openly flexing his military muscle with the not-so-hidden objective of becoming the country'sfirst president of a republican polity.
Sample this statement published in the Nepal News website on May 13: ?If the seven parties act(ed) against the 12-point agreement and people'sinterest in a republican Nepal, there will be another armed struggle and the Maoists are ready to lead this struggle as well?.
While the SPA led by veteran politician Girija Prasad Koirala is yet to come to grips with the present uncertain situation and is already been plagued by differences within its ranks, his appeal to the Maoists to lay down arms falling on deaf ears, the Maoist leader thundered :??the new Constituent Assembly should ensure that (there is ) secular State, right of self-determination, regional and ethnic autonomy, federal system with Nepali characteristics, special rights to Dalits and women, revolutionary land reforms programme, independent national fiscal policy, scientific and people-oriented education and employment opportunities within the country?.
There is more. According to this website, the Maoist roadmap, made public on Saturday (May 13) includes: 1. declaration of ceasefire; 2. finalisation of code of conduct, 3. formation of talks team 4. release of Prisoners; 5. start of dialogue; 6. dismissal of parliament, constitution and (the present) government; 7. formation of interim government, interim governance regulation through political conference of political parties, civil society leaders and intellectuals. 8. determination of election constituencies taking into account the equal representation of groups, region and ethnic groups; 9. election of CA (Constituent Assembly) under reliable international supervision and 10. restructuring of Royal Nepal Army and People'sLiberation Army after the results of the elections.
If one analyses these issues one by one, it will bring out the stark fact that the Maoist supreme is least interested in what the present seven-party government proposes to do. The Maoist leader wants immediate scrapping of the present government, the present Constitution and the present Parliament.
Howsoever powerful the Maoists of Nepal consider themselves to be, they cannot run the show without India'sactive support in several spheres, particularly in the economic sphere.
What is more, he wants right of self-determination, regional and ethnic autonomy, and various other changes which, if implemented (if they are implementable at all) will make Nepal an altogether new country. This may be welcome, for many people in Nepal and India, but one has to look into the implications of these changes proposed by Mr. Dahal.
For example, what does he mean by right of self-determination? Nepal is a small country with an area of 147,181 square kilometers, almost the same as Bangladesh. Will certain areas in Nepal would enjoy the right of self-determination and secession? One recalls that the Soviet Constitution too had this clause of the right of the various Soviet Socialist Republics (SSR) to secede from the Union. But was that a realistic right. Even fiercely anti-Russian Ukranians and the Georgians as also most countries of central Asia would have gladly left the Soviet Union if they were permitted to do so. But nothing of the kind happened till Communism was alive. And once Communism collapsed, the Soviet Union too did, like a pack of cards with very little bloodshed-actually only two people had died in Moscow in August 1991.
Mr. Dahal has proposed elections for the Constituent Assembly under ?reliable international supervision?. Which countries does he considers reliable? India? Pakistan? China? Cuba? Venezuela? North Korea? Chile? Bolivia? Well, the present Venezuelan president wants a 25-year long term of his presidency. The North Korean president spent 18-days traveling and from Moscow for a ninety-minute talk with President Putin, traveling all the way to and fro by rail, so much paranoid he is of flying because his aircraft may be shot down by ?enemies:
Restructuring the RNA and the PLA might as well mean putting the PLA at the top and the members and officers of the RNA under them. This will enable Mr. Prachanda to become both the President of the new republic of Nepal as also head of the army. A typical communist system which was in vogue till about fifteen years ago.
The conditions mentioned above are part of the typical Maoist rhetorics, attractive no doubt but hardly implementable.
Perhaps Mr. Dahal is not aware that although he has been receiving a great deal of assistance from some Indian leaders in his negotiations with the political parties and even the monarchy, it is not possible for any patriotic Indian politician to totally shut his eyes to the threat the Maoist movement poses to India'ssecurity. As an intellectual, he must be aware that India considers her northern boundary to be the line that runs along the crest of the Himalayas. Whatever interpretation some people might apply to this theory, the Himalayas are like a mini-Monroe doctrine northern boundary
Howsoever powerful the Maoists of Nepal consider themselves to be, they cannot run the show without India'sactive support in several spheres, particularly in the economic sphere. One hopes that the Maoist leaders are not carried away by the temporary support they are receiving from certain elements in this country. This will not last and in a future scenario, when India'ssecurity interests might be jeopardised, the Government of India, no matter what is its composition, will act decisively.