After Fighting For 10 Years, Maoists in Nepal are Hours Away From Joining Government

Finally, political parties have won the ‘fight for the balance of power’. Or have they?

By Dinesh Wagle

Paulo Coelho might have no idea at all about Nepali politics but his lines in the best selling “The Alchemist” tell all about the current situation in the Himalayan nation. Here I extract a paragraph from the book in which the leader of the caravan tells to the travelers:

“We don’t know when the war will end, so we can’t continue our journey. The battles may last for a long time, perhaps even years. There are powerful forces on both sides, and the war is important to both armies. It’s not a battle of good against evil. It’s a war between forces that are fighting for the balance of power, and, when that type of battle begins, it lasts longer than others- because Allah is on both sides.”

In yet another historical development in Nepal, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) that launched violent insurgency for 10 years beginning from 1996 is hours away from joining the interim government. This has happened after series of intense negotiations among the coalition partners and the Maoist. The interim government, that will be formed tomorrow if nothing super extraordinary happens, should have been formed on 1 December 2006 according a landmark agreement reached between the ruling Seven Party Alliance and the CPN Maoist in November 2006.

The Interim Cabinet of Nepal

Nepali Congress

Girija Prasad Koirala Prime Minister and Defense Minister
Ram Chandra Poudel Minister for Peace and Reconstruction
Dr Ram Sharan Mahat Minister for Finance
Krishna Prasad Sitauala Minister for Home Affairs
Mahantha Thakur Minister for Science and Technology

CPN-UML

Sahana Pradhan Minister for Foreign Affairs
Pradip Nepal Minister for Education and Sports
Chhabilal BK Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives
Ram Chandra Yadav Minister for General Administration
Prithvi Subba Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Ram Chandra Yadav
Mohan Singh Rathaur State Minister for Education and Sports

CPN (Maoist)

Krishna Bahadur Mahara Minister for Ifnormation and Communication
Dev Gurung Minister for Local Development
Hisila Yami Minister for Physical Planning and Works
Matrika Yadav Minister for Soil Conservation
Khadka Badhadur BK Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare

Nepali Congress (Democratic)

Narendra Bikram Nemwang Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs
Ramesh Lekhak State Ministers for Labour and Transport Management
Gyanendra Bahadur Karki State Minister for Water Resources

Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi)

Rajendra Mahato Minister for Commerce, Industry and Supply

United Left Front

Jagat Bahadur Bogati Minister for Land Reforms and Management

(this list was updated on 1 April)

But the timetable set in that agreement experienced delays in every aspect. No interim parliament was formed on time and interim constitution wasn’t announced on time as well. Whatever the case, people in Kathmandu are relieved to hear the news that parties have agreed on the cabinet portfolios n which, it seems, Nepali Congress will play the shot. Nepali Congress has retained all ministries considered major (Home, Finance and Defense) and there will be no Deputy Prime Minister (another idea of Koirala). But it seems Maoists are happy with the arrangement.

The interim government, to be headed by Nepali Congress president and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, will have the primary responsibility of holding the election of Constituent Assembly on time, that is, by mid-June 2007. This will be the single biggest challenge for this government in the wake of recent violent protests in southern Nepal. Formation of the interim government and holding the election of Constituent Assembly are part of the peace process. Maoist and the government have already signed a comprehensive peace agreement. Maoist has put its arms and guerillas in seven cantonments across the country. Many hardliners, including those who are soft to the royalists, strongly believe that the Maoists are not honest to the peace process because they didn’t put all of their arms in the containers (cantonments) while others think that it’s impossible to expect from any former guerilla force to expect to containerize their 100 percent arms. Another issue strongly raised by the Prime Minister’s party Nepali Congress is that the Maoist hasn’t returned lands and properties it confiscated from many people across the rural areas during the insurgency.

Krishan Bahadur Mahara, the man who headed the Maoist team to negotiate peace with the SPA government formed after the popular April 2006 uprising, will head the Maoist party in the interim cabinet. Mahara will have the responsibility of Information and Communication ministry according to Maoist leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai. The Maoist party will have five portfolios in the cabinet.

With the formation of the interim government, the “fighting for the balance of power” has only entered to the next round. This fight isn’t like the one we saw in April 2006 that ended in 19 days (that too after rounds of failed attempts) as that was “a battle of good against evil” and good emerged victorious against evil. The fight for the “balance of the power” will continue until the fragile peace process will safely landed. And we know that will take a lot of efforts from all warriors. Good luck to the interim government!

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32 thoughts on “After Fighting For 10 Years, Maoists in Nepal are Hours Away From Joining Government”

  1. If one party holds major position like Prim minister, home, defense, finance.. how can one say that it is a balance of power. Girija is again playing corrupt role. This only show how selfish and egoism him how corrupt mind he has.

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  2. Yes, the murderers of Krishna Mohan Shrestha and Nudup Shrestha, the killers of Inspector Nawaraj Poudel and thousands of other martyrs are finally in the government. Just proves what a nation we are – we worship the villians and forget the heros. Maoists also killed journalists but they are going to get the Information ministry. Wow! In Hinduism it is said that when the end of the world comes, all the devils become victorious, all the innocent saints die and evil triumphs over good. Probably, we are near to that end of the world.

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  3. Wonder how long before the new Information Minister starts giving black eyes to all journalists, newspapers, Internet sites, and blogs the Maoists feel threatened by. Well Wagle ji need not worry…he has been a long time supporter of the comrades.

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  4. No Deputy Prime Minister hmmmm….

    It will be interesting to see, if Girija suddenly has to take a bed rest who claims to be the senior most Minister to lead. Before, we have already seen that tussle between Sherchan and Oli when Girija wasn’t available.

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  5. We are definitely going in the right direction. Hopefully all the ethnic groups and geographical regions will be represented in the cabinet.

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  6. Yes shree shrestha,

    Hope all the rickshaw wallas, pani puri wallas, business wallas, infact all wallas are represented aswell.

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  7. Keeping main portfolios with Grija means that he is still autocractic, and it clearly indicates this man and his party remains no longer in the country in the future. The people will reject the corrupt Girija and other party leaders such as Makune, and establish the people centred party such NCP (M) not NCP (UML) in forth coming CA polls.

    Best wishes to NCP (M)

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  8. Ok, so basically, decades of killing and outrage that the Maoists inflicted on Nepalis is, simply, for the chairs. Way back then, Maoists were also a political party like every other, and then they could not muster enough votes to gain such chairs. Now, here they are, happy for those chairs they got by killings that they could not get by winning votes earlier. What a costly detour for Nepal and Nepalis!

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  9. This is positive step forward, but every party involved should remember that this is an “interim” government without much political capital.

    I have a question – Are maoists still raising their taxes after entering into the govt?

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  10. Excerpts of interview with Comrade Bhyanakar :

    How do you feel about Maoists joining the govt. ?

    of course I feel proud and happy that finally people have
    prevailed. 11 years ago all the political parties treated us
    like filth, but today look where we are. But, I would like to say that this is only the beginning. Just joining the govt. was never our goal. We had offers for that even from the feudalistic regimes of the past.

    So, then what is your goal, comrade ?

    (smiles) Our goal is to establish the rule of proletariat over the
    burgeois. You know for the last 250 years the royalists burnt our
    houses, took away 75 percent of our harvest, raped our women and
    what not. Then for the last 16 years these so called political
    parties looted us in every possible way. We lost faith in our
    nation. We got frustrated. But today Nepal is back on track with
    fresh ambitions and that tingling feeling of new beginning.
    The sun has not risen yet. We consider this as twilight only.
    When the sun rises you will see the Nepali sky painted red.

    Comrade, can you please be less philosophical and more lucid in
    your description ?

    Well, everyone says that peace process needs a safe landing. We
    believe only when this process lands in prachanda-path everything will be safe.

    So, that means Nepal is headed towards communism ?

    That is for “people” to answer during the CA elections.

    Comrade, how does your party plan to campaign for elections?

    Well, that’s simple. Right from the start we have believed that
    “actions” speak louder than words. So, instead of delivering hollow speeches and ranting about development and prosperity we will ask people to think about the “actions” that we can take. You see Tiwari, capitalists believe in providing incentives to make people do something. In the Mao dictionary incentives=threats. So, yeah we will campaign our way.

    But doesn’t that defeat the agreements of the peace process?

    Look, the peace process agreement is valid only upto the formation of interim govt.

    What will you do if you lose CA elections ?

    We don’t want to stress out thinking about an impossible, hypothetical scenario. If we extrapolate the curve of our progress then it doesn’t end in comrade Prachanda, and Laldhoj living in a 55000 Rs. per month apartment. It asymptotes to Narayanhiti. Hell, we will win this election and no one can stop us.

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  11. Now, the armed robbery in Kathmandu will increase tenfold because these maoist looters will get protection from the maoist ministers.

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  12. Ofcourse, killers are in government, wow, what a combination!!! As soon as they get full power, they will seize the freedom of all democratic parties baliming same like to ethinics group(particularly Madhesi Forum)……it’s only an example. This kind of communism is very dangerous to Nepalese people. Prachanda’s and Maoist’s goal is not what they are blowing over the Nepalese people, their actual and true face will come out gradually as they will be holding all powers. It’s only their way to get into power. They shold be punished but they have been rewarded… what’s a better time for them..

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  13. OK so,

    13000 Nepalese lives = 5 Ministerial post in government.

    Also, maoist in government means they are clean of their crimes and atrocities including recent beating of woodland sahu.

    It seems, killings helps in Nepal. MRPF is in right direction. If they can manage to kill about 6000 nepalese they can get 2.5 Ministerial post.

    Sad day for Nepal.

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  14. Welcome to Nepal, a new terroist state. The US considers maoists as terroists and their joining the govt. means Nepal is now part of a new axis of Evil.
    Now all the major contracts and tenders will go to the Maoists and corruption and guns will be freely used in submission and opening of tenders.
    Nepal TV will now only show Mahara and his party programs.
    More forests are going to be cleaned up and in another 10 years there will be no forest in Nepal.
    Children Women, will be encouraged to join the YCL, and as for social welfare, there is no social welfare in Nepal.

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  15. hey sonam bro, wat the fk do we hav to do with wat USA says?? care for the wellfare n well being of its people not wat this impereialist shiit has to say. or do u follow bush policices?? whoever is threat or potentially threat to his interests and policies than they all r terorist, thats exactly why they r about to face another humiliating vietnam in iraq.

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  16. yes, this is not the best anyone could have thought, but in the current senario in nepal, what would be the best other than the current settlement of the power debet.

    though it is not the equal power distribution and NC being autocratic, it is the most promising idea for the current day as there are no other parties trustworthy enough or seem capable to hold those ministries.

    we have seen and knew how all parties work except for the maoist and it is of quite relief they were not given the home and defence, otherwise what could be the worst this country might see.

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  17. Well if that slimy slug Sitaula remains the Home Minister than the Maoists have also effectively got the Home Ministry-all the power but no accountability for them.

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  18. Well Kirat, I think Sitaula will remain in the cabinet, that’s almost certain. But whether he will have Home portfolio is not certain. If he doesn’t get Home, he will have Peace Ministry for sure. When Maoists are part of the government, it doesn’t really matter if they have influence on Home ministry or not.

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  19. Given the present situation I cannot really see the alternate to the Maoists joining the govt. It’s best in the present context. Was there a viable alternative? Them staying out of the govt. would have made them more unaccountable.

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  20. Once again the ball is in the Maoist’s court. If they do not act responsibly then they are beyond hope. Even after being included in the government if they cannot tame themslves then what are we to do from here? I guess the only thing we can do is wait and see what happens.

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  21. Yampok:

    You are right when you say the current distribution of power is best for the country, but you got to agree that it is also very dangerous one. Afterall, the method maoist used to get that 5 seats are through voilence. This may lead to a bad trend.

    Maoist today don’t talk any different than Nepali Congress of 1990. The only difference between maoist movement and 1990 Jan andolan is the method adopted for the movement. Maoist divided country in the name of religion, caste, ethnicity for their movement which later they backed out. The result is talks of MRPF, Hindu Fundamentalism and so on. I don’t know what will be the final effect of the divison. Time will show that. One good effect is that today Nepalese society is more open than yesterday, for example, both Kirat and Pundit can share same blogspace. Madhesi and Bhote is not far behind….

    I think we hurried to get maoist to the government. Maoist activities has not been satisfactory, for example, whatever happened in Gaur, we can’t deny the role of maoist there. A government person should not have any “role” in such incident. In my opinion we should have first outlined “code of ethics” of governenace, made it public, asked Mr. Prachanda and GP (yo mula ni chorai ho) to read it out to public and then formed a government. And these law makers should read out the same in public before and after every event…, just to keep them reminding that they can do wrong.

    No one can deny that Mr. Prachanda is responsible for 13000 Nepalese death but instead of bringing him to law we have given him an opportunity to play with law. Kam se kam Mr. Prachanda should acknowledge that 13000 death was wrong. Tyo paani garena…, Bhanne pacchi ta maobadi ta dada ko dada nai rahyo ni.

    Bhagwaan Pashupatinath le hamro racksha garon.

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  22. Gangster:
    I don’t follow bush policies, but almost more than half of nepalies are interested in what bush says.
    When the US opens its DV program, more than half the nepalese apply, aren’t they interested in what US says.
    If our people are allowed to join the US army like India Army and British Army, there will be a stampede at all the recuritement centeres.
    may be Nepal would have been better off being a part of US rather than being ruled by the SPAM or Forum or others corrupt people.

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  23. Gangster
    The reward for killing 13000 people is 5 cabinet seat. If the Forum wants to get a free Madesh then they should also kill people, blow up bridges, telephone towers, have forced donations, caputre land & buildings call frequent bands and chakka jams, issue visas for pahades to visit madesh, etc.
    The SPA is setting a bad example. But for the shake of peace lets give the maoists one month, if they don’t improve their behavior, then our country is doomed.

    Bhagwaan Pashupatinath le hamro racksha garon.

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  24. sonam bro, if that is how u hav understood the scenario of nepal, thats fine bro. but remember the simple theory, in the case like of nepal it was inevitable for rebel to rise, if not as mb but as any other forms. not that i am justifying or supporting thier violent uprising, but it was to happen. now it has officially ended for good. nature of human bro to be opportunist n selfish but doesn’t mean that we hav to give our soveirgnty for the cause of self interest. u idolise america so much, u must hav read thier revolution as well, indeed it was bloody too. everyone hates this bloodsucking leaders, responsible for all this chaos, insecurity, destruction n left us with all the mess. still there r some hopes for better and new nepal.

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  25. Gangster
    Now the maoists are in the govt. lets hope that peace returns to Nepal. However if they don’t change their behavior, then we are back to square one. After that some other violent revolt aginst the SPAM, and the King is back in picture. This cycle will continue and the common people who have nothing to do with politics will suffer. For the sake of Nepal, lets hope this govt. is able to deliver the goods, and lets pray that Nepal becomes a peaceful country.

    Bhagwaan Pashupatinath le hamro racksha garon

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  26. ????? ??? (Nepal-1) ?? ?? ?? ??? ?????????? ???? ?? ?????? ????? ????? ?? ?????????? ???? ?? ????????? ?????? ???????????????????????????????????????

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  27. Because Nepal is secular, and for all the aid that is coming in, i guess we have to increase the number of christains in nepal.

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  28. IT is funny maoist getting the information and communication portfolio.. now they can atleast realize what damage they have done to the country by bombing the communication tower in their 10 years of war…

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  29. The portfolios that Maoists got are interesting and appropriate for them. I found them quite amusing.:-)

    1. Minister for Information and Communication: – They can see and assess what damage they did to the communication network in Nepal. Now they have the responsibility to rebuild it.

    2. Minister for Local Development:- They were the ones who blocked local development by locking up VDC offices, chasing away VDC secretaries, closing down NGOs / INGOs, and stalling all development activities at the grassroot level. Now they are the ones who have to show what they can do in local development.

    3.Minister for Physical Planning and Works:- They were responsible for destroying most of the physical infrastructure in last 11 years. Now they are at a position which demands reconstruction of same structures !

    4. Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation: – They made forests unsafe by planting mines, leaving stray bombs / other explosives. They were involved in illegally smuggling timberwood. Now they’ll be conserving it !

    5.Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare:- They were the most vocal ones who talked about women’s rights. They recruited school aged children in their army, taught them nothing but extreme communist ideologies and waging unnecessary wars. Many children were orphaned, their childhood was lost. Many women were widowed. Now lets see what they do for the welfare of these children and women !

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