Nepali in Transition: Updates on Political Developments

Bargainings for portfolios continue. Here is the latest along with what pro-Maoist newspaper like Janadesh and pro-UML paper Drishti say. Plus, Jana Astha weekly on Gyanendra’s blatant ignorance to the government investigation

By Dinesh Wagle

The politics in Kathmandu is focused in forming the interim government in which Maoists are expected to join. Talks between the political parties, mainly Nepali Congress, CPN UML, CPN Maoist and Nepali Congress Democratic are going on. All big four parties are reportedly bargaining on the exact details of power sharing: who should get which portfolio in the cabinet. Home, Finance, Defense and Communications are considered the four key ministries. UML is claiming either Home or Finance where as NC or the PM wants all first three. Maoist is expected to get Communications.

As bargains are going on among the parties, Maoists are increasingly becoming frustrated by the way Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is presenting himself the power sharing negotiations. They feel the delaying caused by Koirala is helping those who don’t want to see the Constituent Assembly elections happening in June. (According to the interim constitution of Nepal, the CA election must be held by mid June.) Nepali Congress, Koirala’s party, wants to keep plum portfolios with itself in the interim cabinet where as CPN UML and CPN Maoist strongly disagree with that intention. They say the cabinet must represent the power equation of the interim legislature parliament where all three big parties are represented almost equally. Maoists are demanding the senior Deputy Prime Minister saying that when they agreed to accept Subash Nemwang of UML to be the speaker of the parliament all parties had in principle agreed that the Maoist would get the post of senior DPM. In yesterday’s meeting with Prachanda, Koirala shocked the Maoist leader by saying that he didn’t want to continue with the post of DPL at all.

There is another uncertainty: will the interim government form by the end of this week, before the PM heads to New Delhi, India on April 1, to take part in the SAARC meeting. The foreign minister has to attend the pre-summit ministerial meetings before that date. So there is very little time to continue the apparently never ending negotiations. An informal meeting of the central secretariat of the Maoist the day before yesterday gave ultimatum to the PM to form the government by Friday. If not, the party said, there will be Jana Andolan (People’s Movement) III. The Maoist mouthpiece Janadesh weekly in its Tuesday issue has this banner headline: “Feeble possibility of Maoist joining the government.” The paper writes: “The special meeting of Central Committee secretariat will be held today. The meeting will decide on joining the government in the present context in which the possibility of holding CA election by mid June seems fading. If the meeting decides not to join the government, new programs to start peoples’ movement will be brought out, the source said.”

Nepali language Janadesh further writes: “Nepali Congress is not ready to take a solid decision on the monarchy, the paper writes. The imperialist and royalist regressive elements within Nepali Congress are busy in different conspiracies and that is pushing the election of CA to uncertainty.”

Here is more from Janadesh: “There is no point of Maoist joining the government if the election couldn’t be held by mid-June. Nepalese peoples’ wish is to hold the election by that date and construct a new Nepal by a restructured [state machinery]. If there is a conspiracy to take the Maoist to the government but not hold the election by the stipulated date, there is no meaning for the Maoist joining such government. Maoist will not join such government.” Continue reading Nepali in Transition: Updates on Political Developments

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Buddha Boy Update: Ram Bahadur Bomjon Now Meditating in Pit

28 March: Ram Bahadur Bomjon, popularly known as the “Buddha Boy”, who stole the limelight after spending months in meditation, reportedly without food and water, has been found again, meditating inside a pit dug underground at Ratanpuri recently. Bomjon, who had started meditation under a Pipal tree in the village, had gone missing since March 11, 2006, and again reappeared on December 25 the same year. According to Inspector Rameshwor Yadav of the Area Police Post Nijgadh, Bomjon was inside the bunker-like square ditch of seven feet.

“We call it bunker,” he said, adding, “Although it’s seven feet deep, there is no lack of oxygen inside,” said Yadav, who claimed to have seen him going inside it from close range Monday (Mar 26). A police team, under the command of Yadav, had gone to the place after word of Bomjon being on underground meditation spread in the area. “His face was clean and hair was combed well,” Yadav said. According to him, “the bunker” has been cemented from all sides with roof of tiles. Even as frequent “hide and seek” were continuing, some locals recently spotted him in the local forest on 9th March. After his mysterious disappearance last year, his “disciples” had claimed that he had gone in search of a peaceful place for the purpose, as thousands of curious people began visiting him daily then. However, a few others had even termed it a ploy of his followers to earn popularity and money.

Indra Lama, a local, who has been deployed as caretaker for him since he began meditation, said the “bunker” was prepared as per Bomjon’s order. “After granting audience a week ago, he expressed his desire to meditate inside the ground; so we built it,” he said.By Upendra Lamichhane