The Maoist’s success has demonstrated the brilliant combination of bullet and ballot to rise to the power. Chairman Prachanda will be cited as an example of success in world communist movement. His challenge: turn the flowery promises into reality.
By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle’s Weblog [In the photo: Prachanda’s dominance in party’s advertisements during the campaign trail to the party itself is cemented like never before.]
In almost all campaign speeches Prachanda used to explain why he chose constituencies Rolpa-2 and Kathmandu-10 to for the CA polls. “People can interpret my candidacy from here and Rolpa-2 in their own varied ways,” Prachanda had said in a campaign rally in Kirtipur where I was present. “My candidacy has symbolic importance. We started the great People’s War from Rolpa and one of the last qualitative attacks of the War was bravely conducted here in Thankot (Police Post).” [Read here Prachanda’s reasons in detail.]
The interpretations were that Prachanda wasn’t sure about winning from Kathmandu so he chose Rolpa. I listened to couple of his speeches during campaign and I got the impression that Prachanda himself wasn’t sure about the victory. Definitely not sure about getting the landslide that he got in Kathmandu-10. He sounded like he was desperately pleading for an alliance with the CPN UML. “Yesterday we tried to find UML leaders for four hours as it was the last day to form an alliance,” Prachanda said in one of those rallies. “But the senior leaders of the UML were not available.”
Today, CPN UML leaders organized a press conference who was broadcast live on TV and they were in somber mood. Nobody smiled. Once MK Nepal, the beleaguered general secretary of the UML, smiled but that was because he was embarassed by one of the questions by a reporter to KP Oli, a leader who was vehemently opposed to alliance with Maoists. “Today’s press conference is about me, not him,” Nepal said of Oli who was seated on a corner. UML is totally humiliated.
Anyway, let me come back to Prachanda. The general assumption is that he wasn’t sure about the victory in Kathmandu-10. Many people were also not sure about his victory in Rolpa-2. But that was the conventional wisdom that has been (and is being) shattered by the results that are trickling in from around the country.
Yesterday while receiving the certificate of the victory from the Election Commission Prachanda tried to portray himself as a pragmatic leader who is willing compromise and give importance to cooperation among political forces. He also tried to assure the international community that he is not a radical communist with anti-west agenda.
Many people, including Maoists, are awed by the electoral performance of the Maoist. This impressive show undoubtedly cements Prachanda’s dominance in the Maoist party. There was an internal rift within the party regarding the party’s participation in election and in the interim government. Prachanda was regarded as pro-election, pro-peace process. There was even talks of launching urban revolution, an idea propagated by the Ram Bahadur Badal faction of the party. It is believed that the Maoists pulled out of interim government because of that rift. Now that Badal himself has got landslide victory along with the party from Chitwan, there will be no opportunity for critics of Prachanda to raise their heads. Their mouths have been shut by these victories forever. There is no other way than Prachandapath (The Way of Prachanda).
Not only in his party or in Nepal but Maoist’s performance under Prachanda’s leadership will definitely create ripples in the world communist movement. It’s certain that Prachanda will be regarded as the example of success in the world communist text books. After a decade of armed struggle, he is in the verge of capturing the state lawfully. The Maoist’s success has shown the brilliant combination of the power of bullet and ballot. The party has been propelled to power as the armed struggle and the democratic exercise came together.
Many people are already talking about the possible actions of the Maoist-led government. Will they kick out opponents and try to impose communist dictatorship in Nepal?
I don’t think so. This is an example that I have been giving to all people whom I have been talking with on that topic:
The Maoist Information and Communication Minister couldn’t stop the beauty context Miss Nepal from being boradcast from state owned Nepal TV in April 2007. The Government police even applied force to chase away those, mostly Maoists, who had gathered around Birendra International Convention Centre at Baneshwar, the venue of the contest, reported a weekly magazine at that time. Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the information minister, even had to pacify his party workers who were wounded when the police used force. And he quietly ignored his party colleague, led by Minister Hishila Yami who went public saying beauty contest is nothing more or less than body-show and its commercialisation. Minister Mahara’s dilemma began when he was shown the long term contract between Dabur, an Indian company that sponsored the beauty context and Nepal Television. Any breach of contract, by any side would mean incurring huge penalty. Mahara chose to let NTV telecast the contest live. Mahara was later heard as saying “Paisa ko skakti dekhiyo [we saw the power of money]”
See the Maoists couldn’t even stop a beauty peasant from being broadcast live on the TV that is controlled by them. So it’s one thing to give revolutionary slogans to the public and its entirely another to fulfill them. Now that Maoists have got chance to turn their sugarcoated promises into actions. That’s a huge challenge. They have to be realistic. Prachanda has repeatedly made it clear that his party was for capatilistic democracy in which capatilists could earn profit. We have to believe him. Actually there is no option. People have decided to let them take charge of things. We can hope that they will do the best. At worst they will be another Congress lot who was engaged in corruption and power abuse. In such case Nepali people know what to do with the Maoist: vote ’em out.
For The Record:
Prachanda wins Rolpa-2: He defeated his nearest rival with a wide margin of votes. He won the election securing 34,230 votes while UML’s Shanta Kumar Oli ended up with 6029 votes. The Maoist party has triumphed in Rolpa-1 also. Party’s central leader Jayapuri Gharti won the election securing 26,505 votes to NC candidate Madhav Prasad Acharya’s 4946 votes.
Prachanda wins Kathmandu-10: Prachanda has won in Kathmandu constituency-10 with a huge vote margin. He secured 20,499 votes, almost double than his close rival Rajendra Kumar K.C of NC who got 11,103 votes. UML fared badly in this constituency also as in other Katmandu constituencies that used to be its stronghold. The party’s bet for the constituency, Sanu Kumar Shrestha, managed to garner just 6,216 votes.