The ‘politics of unity’ in the Democratic Republic of Nepal

The other view on RAM RAJA PRASAD SINGH vs GIRIJA PRASAD KOIRALA for the PRESIDENCY of Nepal

By Kanchan Jha

History is replete with instances of failure to facilitate the process of democracy. In all these instances, despite the introduction of democracy in Nepal, it became a living proof that the Shah dynasty was an impersonal ideal existence, above all and above the ‘law’ and that all Nepalese would remain loyal, in the accepted sense, to the dynasty. Moreover, Narayanhiti always remained the epicenter of the multi-party democracy of Nepal. Now as the ex-kingdom has revolved into a federal democratic state; it is high time, that the big bosses of nepali politics strengthen coalitions and revise their creed and set themselves right, where they are convinced of their errors in the past.

In the CA elections, peace and development planks remained paramount to election campaigns especially with the Maoists’ ‘new leadership for a new Nepal’ slogan. Of course, political parties have used different governance planks in the past and politicians continue to play the role of the shrewd re-musketeers, simply repackaging non-governance oriented fustian twaddle to appeal to mass perception. Unmistakably, emotions and social sentiments of the public also took the precedence not just in deciding who wins but also who does not win in the CA elections. The MJF picked up regional issues and bagged 52 seats in the assembly. Congress and the UML could not come up with an issue. And that led to an unexpected defeat from the Maoists.

Things however did not work out as expected. Even after two months of CA elections a new coalition government is nowhere in sight. While the neck-and-neck fight for power sharing continues in the political corridors of Kathmandu, the scenario, in such a case, is nothing short of chillingly frightening. Quite sonorously, the power-sharing tangle has reached a strange impasse that has paralyzed the formation of the first government of republic Nepal and might bring out ideological opportunism and nationalist hypocrisy of all political players.

What makes the issue refreshingly different is that in glorifying the country’s achievements, the political parties have blithely swept its shortcomings under the carpet and have not instead tried to address them by suggesting practical solutions to pave the way for a better Nepal. For the tender political minds of CA, political formulas/models should not be presented to them, that consists the unseen errors within itself, instead let them rise and invent their own formulas/models that does not consist unseen errors and can bear scrutiny. The grits of ‘politics of unity’ is yet to be the ultimate unifying factor especially when it comes down to the debate of power sharing and who shall be the head of state.

How far is it that the parties recognize the potential of veteran leaders like Ram Raja Prasad Singh and the state develops a model to select a president from Madhes, Pahad and Himal on a rotational basis? Truly so, many pockets of Nepali politics, like the Congress, are a million miles away from this logic. The Maoists proposition of Ram Raja as one of the presidential candidates will manage to amalgamate his personal charisma with both as the first republic voice of Nepal and as the first president of republic Nepal. Well, as far as politics of unity and facilitation of democracy is concerned, Singh will definitely serve as a non-partisan head of state affirming the political importance of high minded conservative, as well as high-minded liberal values. In addition, Singh turns outs to be the man of the masses and his remarkable personal history, honesty and integrity displays him as an incorruptible leader.

But let’s not digress from the power sharing debate. Let’s rate the political attributes of Girija Prasad Koirala (NC proposed presidential candidate) and Ram Raja Singh. On the face of it, it can be argued that in 1991 Koirala was the first democratically elected prime minister since 1959, when his brother B.P.Koirala and Nepali Congress swept the country’s first democratic elections. Moreover, some political pundits even argue that only Koirala has the ability to present a cocktail that will check and balance the power centers especially during the transition period. The grand old man in Nepali politics runs a family dynasty that has fought for democracy in Nepal for more than 50 years. Koirala has three times been the prime minister of Nepal and at present is the acting head of state. On the other hand, his critics argue that there is no clear-cut correlation that can be drawn out between past political achievements of Koirala, when His Majesty’s Government of Nepal still prevailed, and the potential to be the first president of a new republic Nepal.

The stakes are high this time and Koirala understands that. In the past, he did not display the desire for an inclusive democratic republic and favored the idea of a ceremonial king. Now, as Nepal enters a republic era he pictures himself as the first president and the commander of chief of Nepal Army. It is a tale in itself for the man who continues, despite large opposition, to vie for president, professedly for only check-and-balance of power centers.

However, his amiable tenets in the peace agreement with the Maoists are beyond appreciation as power and politics stay supreme. What Koirala managed was to bolster the seven party alliance (SPA) and surprised his critics as he proved to be a versatile player in the peace agreement. Moreover, in the journey to push Nepal up the republic ladder, many irreversible influences and manipulations were forced upon Koirala and the Nepali Congress. What I am talking about is the fact that the Congress had no option but was left with a Hobson’s choice: to kneel down and discard their so-called grand design of a baby king. To put it simply, the desire of a republic was insignificant for Congress, was not self-borne, and does not guarantee their permanent course of revolution in the future.

The principle of solidarity that is crucial in the transition phase may change if factors like adherent monarchists of the past, ‘royal-loyal military and international power players provoke its great enthusiasm. This is the greatest danger of progressive evolution of a baby republic state.

Probably for Koirala, it would be the best opportunity to stay away from the politics of power and by serving as the supremo advisor of CA, he will definitely evolve as the watchdog in the assembly. The people of Nepal will put their pride in recognizing Koirala as the father of republic Nepal. Like Gandhi and Ganesh Man Singh, he too should not indulge himself in the race for power and set an example for the next generation leaders. This will probably build positive grounds for ‘politics of unity’ to function and if Koirala decants his responsibilities, it will evoke a gargantuan hope on the forefront of our political landscape.

At the time when madheshi issue is one telling example, with many pockets in the CA mirroring the situation, political gurus think that a madheshi being the first president will quell violence in the Terai and will help emotionally unite the diffident madheshi communities. Ram Raja is the perfect peg that fits the square and counterparts the larger interests of both the madheshi and pahadi communities. Singh chose his revolutionary course, first with constitutional revolution that turned into a non-violent revolution and naturally later developed into an armed revolution. He started with graduate constituency election in 1967 and as the then His Majesty’s government could not tolerate his penetrating criticism, an ordinance was filed to render both his imprisonment and cancellation of candidature legal.

In 1971, he went underground and contested for the same election based on a republic manifesto that fired the imagination of the intelligentsia defeating well-backed congress and communist candidates. After five years of imprisonment without trial, in 1976, he clandestinely started a revolutionary organization drawing cadets from all over the country, both from the hills and Terai, including people from the hills settled in Terai. Singh formulated his ideology as no to communism and no to the capitalism. He favors a fervent democratic republic with most progressive Marxian economy and an aggressive approach to unify diverse communities.

In view of the chaos for power sharing among the leading political parties, I hereby would like to develop a forum that shall discuss the potential attributes of both Ram Raja and Girija Prasad. I would like to invite readers to comment on the below chart.

Indicators (0-4)- Ram Raja Pd Singh/Girija Pd Koirala
1. Political Carrier 4/4
2. Republican Fight 4/1
3. Age Suitability 3/3
4. Family political background 4/4
5. Health and Fitness 3/3
6. Nationalism 4/4
7. Power Balance among NC, UML, Maoist, Monarchy and its allies including the military 4/3
8.International acceptance 3/4
9. No Past-post of benefit 4/0
10.Chargesof corruption/honest/clean image 4/1
11. Progressive and stable 4/2
12. Jail and exile 4/4
13. regional Balance within country 4/1
14.Education/Exeperience 4/2
15.NonAlignments/Neutral 4/2
16. National/International Figure 3/4
17.Other political parties support and
accountability 4/0
Total 64/42

In turn, the above governance indicators hopefully will find an appropriate solution to the primary political interest by coordinating accurately and inclusively with the available political resources. Its implementation will strengthen the capacity to protect and claim our basic rights as well as our political rights and that is actually when the people of Nepal will come into power and the ‘politics of unity’ will come into effect.

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36 thoughts on “The ‘politics of unity’ in the Democratic Republic of Nepal”

  1. Well well.. just what have we achieved by abolishing the monarchy. The Nepali people were told that the monarchy was the root of all troubles… is it really?

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  2. Agree with you SB..where we heading

    why madhesi are so powerful in recent past

    now a madhesi is advocating for madhesi president

    others will follow suit

    Good direction we heading …??? !!!

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  3. Presently the big fight between BIG THREE is inly for the PRESIDENTIAL post. In case Maoists and UML bypass Girija
    it will be more dangerous. Because bypassing congress in
    present scenario is not good.
    So to make balance between BIG three the best choice is to go
    for Ram RAJA.

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  4. No to Girija and no to Ram Raja – these are both violent people who happily endorse it and are definitely not law abiding citizens – is this the message we want to send out to our future generations for a new Nepal?

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  5. Might as well go for Goit or Jwala Singh then…

    Why can’t we get someone like Ganesh Raj Sharma (advocate) or Dr. Kul Chandra Gautam.

    I’m sure there are other criterias to fulfil but at this point in time we also need articulate, law abiding Presidents to take our message forward.

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  6. Actually when Gyandra selected Surya
    Bd. Thapa for PM post, Congress and others said that as- Tika lagayeko PM. Now politician are trying to be the same ‘Tike’. There is no reason for Girija PK and Madhav KN to be a president. Actually for the time being PM should remains as head of state and after making constitution from CA people should select their President. I am citizen of Nepal and I don’t accept my President to be selected among parties leaders without my vote. They should respect my feeling and more all Nepalis.

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  7. Hi 3p
    You are right but for ceremonial president we cannot go for
    general election. Better way is to elect from voting by CA members.

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  8. i agree with 3p.We are being made dummy.Our masters are ruling and we are moving around.Are three party autocrats? that they are trying to direct the future of nepal.Nepalese has not given them mandate to select president from the covert meeting of baluwatar.We have right to vote our first historical president and we have not mandated to any of the political parties elected in the constituent assembly.Lest, in the name of consensus Nepalese are being bypassed.Does consensus is only reason that they are being excused?What should we understand in TERM OF RULING “ABSOLUTE MONARCH == cONSENSUS RULING OF THREE PARTY”.Is’nt that shame????

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  9. It is most important to share the power among BIG THREE in this period and the most important thing is that a person raised by regional politics,regional group can’t lead the nation.He\She should be common of all nepali and a national figure.

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  10. Who will be the next President? Who will be the next Prime Minister?
    If we decided to make Presidential system then we don’t need Prime Minister. Instead of two positions we should be talking about only one position of President. This should end the argument.
    Since Maoist Party won the election they should be forming the government.
    Will someone tell Girija that his time is up?

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  11. Sad but true – Girija is still needed for check & balance esp during this constitution making phase, but I dont understand why that can be done only through making him the President.

    A Prez needs to be someone who can evoke non-partisanship and an inspiration. GPK is far from that. Some other model of check and balance must be explored without tainting the very first President office of a republic Nepal. GPK is total no no. Look at the leech – still want to hang on to power till his last breath.

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  12. Patriot– what check and what balance? How long has Giddey Girija ruled in Nepal and what has been made this country from what it was? People got the monarchy out with the notion that the 240 years was a waste– and how many years has Girija lost from our lives? And how many more do you want him to lose? He is a kursimaniac and he has got to be shown the door. The guy is obsolete. Thanks but no thanks to his service. He is a loser (10 out of his 11 relatives lost the elections0. The people simply want this failed corrupt politician “nepotist” autocrat OUT.

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  13. Maoists did not win the majority. They won about 33% of CA seats. That does not give them mandate to rule the country as if they won the clear majority. The mandate of people is clearly a coalition government; and NC has rightly claimed the second choice being the second largest party.

    Ram Raja Prasad Singh is a good man but he lacks the popular support that Girija Prasad Koirala enjoys. I am not a big fan of Koirala, but if he is the man second largest party puts forward, there is not much good we can achieve by complaining. We must respect the democratic process. Maoists want Ram Raja Prasad Singh who did not even contest the election to be the president so that he can be used as a pawn.

    Maoists, whose ultimate goal is to establish communist republic will leave no stone unturned to reach their goal ,should not be left unchecked. The beauty of true democracy is there is some form of check and balance. Giving them both presidency and premiership would be a political suicide for freedom loving Nepalese people!

    Puspa Kamal Dahal is trying to be a new King. If we let his pawn Ram Raja Prasad Singh become the president; Dahal will be defacto New king. Risk of having Ram Raja Prasad Singh as the president is bigger than power hungry Koirala becoming the president! We must choose the lesser evil!

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  14. we’re supposed to be unbiased.There is no risk of having ram raja pd singh as president as he is son of simple nepalese n freedom fighter rather than corrupted politicians.
    Politicians fascinate because they constitute such a paradox; they are an elite that accomplishes mediocrity for the public good.

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  15. ram raja singh should be the favourite, if any of us realize his rebel history. it is a hard irony that girija’s name is discussed as an alternative to singh. singh was a friend of great rebel leader che guevara. but girija is a protector of all those corrupts who sucked the blood of poor nepalis for ages.

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  16. it seems, the progressive forces of Nepal have to launch another democratic struggle to bring pressure on koirala, who is still clinging to the post of prime minister and expressing his wish to be the president of nepal. maoists are to be cautious about the counter revolutionary forces like the nepali congress and uml who have lost the confidence of the people.

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  17. i want split madhesh but no madhesi president,which will happen within 10 years of time don’t worry guys this is for sure accept the truth,and it will happen, the war will shortly begin. nepal cannot fight the madhesi as the big boss down south will back our version of Bhiyas which they are doing now. Ram Rajah is a big shit,he was the Mohara used by the royals-the panches to stop the Kangressi satyagraha, he did it exploded bombs in the valley killing two poeple. rest the country will face after this RAW agent becomes the head of the state ! prahcnada knows this but he cannot say a single word, the bhattarai section of the maoists-close to india, support Ram Raja. Mohan baidya and other reject Singh as president. i suuprt Sahana Pradhan(Women) or Subash Chandra Nembang (Janajati) no to an india.

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  18. This Kanchan has shown how irrational and biased he can be. i may not like girija but i can’t be that biased to give more points to ram raja than Girija babu.
    Blood is thicker than water!

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  19. The issue of Madhesi or the fu*king word indigenous aside, I just have a question to ask, who the fu*k is Ram Raja Prasad Singh? What has he done for this country? Not long ago he was chairing a meeting of a group of separatists. I guess before you prove that you’re indigenous you’ve got to prove you’re Nepali. Is he a Nepali? Girija Prasad Koirala should step aside, I wouldn’t want him to be the first president of this country, but I wouldn’t want a bastard like Singh in that place either.

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  20. When we were fighting against Gyanendra’s tyrnnical rule under the commandarship of Girija Prasad Koirala where had Ram Raja Prasad Sing gone? Can one be a true republican only by exploding bomb in public place?In 2042 when Ram Raja exploded bomb in Kathamandu that only minimized The Satyagraha aandolan initiated by Nepali Congress and ultimately benefiting the king.Whereas had Girija Prasad Koirala not helped Maoists to be assimilated in mainstream politics the would have been collapsed by the king .so Girija is the only eligible candidate of presidency.Maoists recent harrsshment to Girija proves that” KINGS AND COMMUNISTS ARE NEVER TO BE TRUSTED”

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  21. coke, drink coke n be cool!
    fucking bastard , if madhesi are closed border to india means they are indian then what the fuck you pahade are? chinese? if you cant think n believe all the people living in nepal territory as nepalese then what are the people living in the darjeeling (gorkhaland) state ?
    if u r given to choose the people of nepal then u will divide all, in the name of madhesh n pahad, then after in the name of bahun n lower cast . at last u will find that u r the only one true nepalese!!
    nepal is in this situation just bcz of u like terrorist. all like u should be hanged!

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  22. What the fc*uk is wrong with the UML? Why are they proposing the idiot Makune as their presidential candidate? He was defeated by the people in both the constituencies he stood from. The UML are so out of touch with the general massess it is unbelievable!

    UML and NC student unions rioting over non-issues, rich bus owners shutting down the valley because they want to make more money and petroleum dealers adding to the mix by putting their interests first over that of the country and striking for more deliveries of petroleum. It’s anarchy in Nepal and the common man has been laid low while the NC and the UML haggle for a ‘ceremonial’ presidential berth! What a shame.

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  23. we teh people are of course indifferent. Prachandra is good, the rest see themselves so nice.
    VOtes are superclear.
    Why prachandra is good?
    because of his maoibadi?
    no no
    he is good because.
    And now keep him and explain how we make nepalese non totalitarian regular social democracy.
    Basically people are intelligent leaders are weak.
    thats all for today.
    god bless all. Look internet what is maoism, albania, russia, china, italy. (italy mafia similar garbage collect problem)

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  24. Prachanda is good because he is restless.

    All the others are content with their own positions. They don’t want to bring change.

    Nepalese wants change whatever it is. Just change!

    Nepalese can take a lot of risks! They have no other choice.

    Nepalese want “Change, quick change, no trace of history, but make history from now on!”

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  25. Nepalese should build strong Nationalism.

    This Nationalism is not ‘Anti Indian, or Anti Chinese, or Anti American’. Nothing anti will make a Nationalism.

    Nationalism is ‘to trust the power of people, belief that people power will make positive change, and trust oneself, and have confidence”

    Confidence in oneself comes from practice. Practice of nationalism and seeing nationalism as a positive force to build the nation.

    Foreign policy of Nepal should be re-defined on this context. We need to have a very harmonious relationship with India and China, a balanced one.

    Peaceful economic development must be the top priority, and base for our Nationalism. All the other issues should remain secondary.

    Strong government for 5 to 10 years is a need of the hour. Self discipline of the people is top requirement. If not, strong civic discipline should be imposed by the government. Implementation of punish and reward by the government should be established. Rule of law should be maintained.

    Common minimum agenda among all the parties involved in Constitution Assembly for the above and other issues should be signed and maintained.

    Opposition parties should play the role of a strong ‘watch dog’, barking on any instance of infringe on the common minimum agenda.

    People should not leave the parties to all the decisions. People should be the Super Vigilant.

    Above all, everyone should be ultra optimists, and take risks, since ‘no risk no gain’.

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  26. Change with Prachanda – by endorsing his ministers locking up people in toilets acting the judge and jury – restlessness for what – taking the law into their own hands to do as they please. Where has any of Prachandas men been tried and convicted? Change maybe good but change in the wrong direction is definitely not.

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  27. Only future can say whether change is good or bad. You cannot judge it by remaining in ‘status quo’. Anyway status quo has not delivered anything… so Change is the only option. What do you say?

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  28. yep only the future can say but you can make a bloody good prediction. change is the only constant, it’s not an option, it is always there – one can do things to ensure that it’s not a disaSTOR.

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  29. You got a damn good point haha! And thanks for getting my point, too!

    Now lets have a laugh, haha haha!!! 🙂

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  30. The strength of Pachande is hidden guns and bullets
    the strength of Madhav Nepal is gold coins
    after all the coins and bullets are coming together
    NC will remain heraya heryai

    Like

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