As we are heading towards republic before CA polls, the integration of PLA should be expedited to turn the Maoist into a ‘regular’ political party.
All developments are indicating that we are heading towards the declaration of republic before Constitution Assembly elections slated for November 22. In a meeting of top leaders of eight political parties yesterday, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala who is also the president of Nepali Congress party is said to have told the Maoist Chairman Prachanda to wait until September 24. Nepali Congress has called for the Mahasamiti meeting on 23 that is expected to formally adopt the republic policy. [PM Koirala] said he will be able to take crucial political decision after the Mahasamiti meeting,” said Maoist leader Dev Gurung who took part in the meeting, according to the Kathmandu Post. Gurung also said that Maoist will wait for the NC Mahasamiti meeting. Nepali Congress Democratic has also called for their Mahasamiti meeting on September 25-26 to opt the republic policy. With those two decisions, all parties in the EPA will have republic agenda which will create favorable environment for the alliance to declare Nepal a republic in the parliament.
If declaration of republic will bring the Maoist into electoral process, I think that should be done because the most important thing at the moment is the election. Election will not only end the first phase of transition but also formally approve all the democratic achievements the nation has seen so far.
People might question, what if the Maoists come up with other demands even after the declaration of republic? I think the declaration will exert huge pressure on them to go for the election. They will not have any agenda to go with. But the most effective way of containing Maoist arrogance and turning them into a ‘regular’ political party is to expedite the merger of their Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) into Nepal Army and/or other security agencies. This must be done without any delay which coincidently is one the 22-point demands of the Maoists. The integration will effectively end the Maoist control over the guerilla. Guerillas will be split into several barracks or under various commands of Nepal Army and/or Armed Police Force and/or Nepal Police and/or any other security agencies that might be created during the process. After the guerillas formally join the state security agencies and start getting salary and benefits that will be far better than what they are getting now, no one will dare to go for any Maoist-sponsored revolt. Also, they will not be able to get daily sermons of Maoism and Prachanda Path that they are getting now. If the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) is taking ages in that process, the government must push them.
PLA combatants inside the cantonments should immediately be provided with the professional trainings so that they could be ‘acclimatized’ for their future roles in the non-partisan, political neutral security agencies.
Of course, it will be hard if not impossible to remove the feeling of Maoist ideals from some PLA guerillas but the integration will significantly reduce the Maoist arrogance on the help of which they are creating all these mayhems. They will be a just another party even though they will still have a small and unarmed but strong and committed and organized force in the form of core YCL. But that force will not be able to intimidate the society as it is doing today in the absence of any cantonments filled with guerillas.