Populist Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has now tried to lured media fraternity by offering, what media report suggests, ‘unnatural facilities’.
By Siromani Dhungana
If you can’t beat them, join them. Or, bribe them. If it turns out to be true, the Baburam Bhattarai-led government’s attempt to appease the media sector only exposes the real character of an ultra-leftist government. It will be a kind of bribe but with completing legal formalities.
Following sharp criticism for what it has been doing, the government has tried to appease media outlets by providing lucrative facilities. The government which, according to its own word, is committed to welfare of people has shifted its priority and started to appease different sectors which ruling UCPN (Maoist) used to brand as “agents of feudalism and expansionist forces.”
But that’s the contradictory and hypocritical nature of Baburam Bhattarai. Can the Mustang-rider PM reveal the source of his party’s income to pay for his choppers fare?
By Siromani Dhungana
And the earth is round! Russian Mi-17 and French AS332 Super Puma helicopters were used by the then governments to fight against the decade-long Maoist insurgency (1996-2006) The story has taken a twist now and rebellion-turned-Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has been one of the frequent users of these flying machines.
Hiring these choppers cost from Rs 0.42 million to more than Rs 0.44 million for an hour, but that does not seem to deter our Mustang-rider Bhattarai from hiring helicopters for campaigning in favor of his party UCPN Maoist.
PM Bhattarai has spent Rs 19.09 million in chopper after assuming charge of the Prime Minister’s office in August 29‚ 2011, reports Kantipur Television.
He has chartered AS332 Super Puma and MI-17 helicopters of Nepal Army Air Wing for 23 times since August 2011. Dr Bhattarai, however, has cleared the chopper fair only once.
नेपाली सेनाको तत्परता, माओवादीको लचकता, भारतीय शुभेच्छा र कांग्रेस-एमालेको चाहना एकैठाउँमा आउँदाको सुखद परिणाम हो बितेका साताहरूमा शान्ति प्रक्रियामा भएको प्रगति
दिनेश वाग्ले वाग्ले स्ट्रिट जर्नल यो लेख आजको कान्तिपुरमा प्रकाशित भएको हो । पत्रिकाकै पन्नामा पढ्ने भए यहाँ क्लिके हुन्छ : (पीडीएफ पहिलो पेज र १४ पेज । चित्रकारुपमा हेर्ने भित्र/तल)
खोप्लाङ, गोर्खाका बाबुराम भट्टराईले प्रधानमन्त्रीका रूपमा यो साता बालुवाटार, काठमान्डुमा सय दिने मधुमास पूरा गर्दैछन् । सामान्य अवस्थामा उनको कार्यावधिको मूल्यांकन आगामी मंगलबार थालिनुपर्ने हो । तर कतिपय रुष्ट नेपालीहरूले आफ्ना ३५ औं प्रधानमन्त्रीको राजीनामा अहिल्यै मागिसकेका छन् ।
‘बाबुराम, पद छाड’ भन्नेहरूको त्यो सूचीमा विपक्षी दलहरूका नेता र आफ्नै पार्टीभित्रका ‘खुट्टा तान्ने कमरेडहरू’ मात्रै भए त्यसलाई राजनीतिक दाउपेचको एउटा अस्वाभाविक उदाहरण भन्दै अस्वीकार गर्न हुन्थ्यो । तर यहाँ दुई महिनाअघिसम्म ५७ वर्षे भट्टराईलाई ‘हृदयका राजा’, ‘आशाका केन्द्र’ र ‘आइडल’ जस्ता प्रेम र प्रशंसाका शब्दहरू बर्साउने कतिपयले नै सबैभन्दा ठूलो मन्त्रिमण्डल बनाएको, हत्यारालाई माफी दिन खोजेको, प्रशासनयन्त्रलाई ‘ध्वस्त’ बनाएको भन्दै गाली गरेका छन् । प्रशंसकहरू निराश हुँदै उनलाई आफ्नो अपेक्षाविपरीत, अघिल्ला प्रधानमन्त्रीहरूजस्तै, निष्प्रभावी र ‘उही ड्याङका मूला’ भन्न थालेका छन् भने आलोचक र शंकालुहरू चाहिँ ‘मैले त भनेकै थिएँ नि’ जस्ता शब्दावलीबाट कुरा थाल्छन् ।
‘पहिले घरभित्र पसेर अवस्था के छ भन्ने नबुझी उहाँले बोल्नुभयो, मान्छेहरूले आशा गरे,’ पूर्वप्रशासक तथा पूर्वप्रमुख निर्वाचन आयुक्त भोजराज पोखरेलले भने, ‘अर्थमन्त्रीका रूपमा बनेको उहाँको राम्रो छविमा आधारित भएर जनताले उहाँबाट बढी नै आशा गरे । व्यक्तिगत रूपमा उहाँ अहिले पनि बदनाम हुनुभएको छैन । ‘भट्टराईले यसो गरे, उसो गरे, खाए’ भन्ने सुनिएको छैन । शान्ति प्रक्रिया टुंगिने बाटोमा बढेको छ, त्यसको जस उहाँलाई जाला । तर शासनलाई राम्रो पाटोमा लैजान र नतिजा देखाउने सन्दर्भमा उहाँ असफल हुनुभयो ।’ Continue reading प्रधानमन्त्री बाबुराम भट्टराईका सय दिन→
प्रधानमन्त्रीका रूपमा माओवादी नेता बाबुराम भट्टराई भारतको औपचारिक भ्रमणमा रहेको यो अवस्थामा नेपालमा विपक्षी कांग्रेसका नेताहरू हात बाँधेर मुस्काइरहेका छन् । उनीहरूको त्यो मुस्कुराइ झन्डै १५ वर्षअघिको एउटा सानो जस्तो लाग्ने घटना र त्यसपछिका भयङ्करजस्ता लाग्ने थुप्रै अन्य घटनामा अडिएको छ । २०५२ माघ २९ गते झ्याम्म दाह्री पालेका एकजना ‘रिसाहा अधबैंसे’ ले त्यतिबेलाका कांग्रेसी प्रधानमन्त्री शेरबहादुर देउवासमक्ष ४० वटा माग प्रस्तुत गर्दै ती फागुन ५ गतेसम्म पूरा नभए ‘सशक्त संघर्षको बाटोमा’ हिँड्ने चेतावनी दिएका थिए । ती माग पूरा हुने नहुने टुङ्गो नलाग्दै र आफैंले तोकेको समयसीमाको बेवास्ता गर्दै ती व्यक्ति फागुन एकमै भूमिगत भए कमरेड लालध्वजका रूपमा तत्कालीन राज्यसत्ताविरुद्ध त्यही दिन सुरु भएको सशस्त्र युद्धमा सामेल हुन । ती लालध्वज, धेरैलाई थाहा छ, यिनै भट्टराई हुन् जसले (र, उनको पार्टी माओवादीले) १५ वर्षपछि भारतसँग सम्बन्धित सुरुका नौ मागलाई पूरै बिर्सन खोजेको जबरजस्त अभिनय गरिरहेका छन् । ४० मध्ये कतिपय माग ०६२/०६३ को जनआन्दोलनले पूरा गरायो तर त्यो सूचीमा रहेका नम्बर एकदेखि नौसम्मका माग अहिले पनि पूरा भएका छैनन् । पूरा गराउने कुर्सीमा माओवादीका अध्यक्ष पुष्पकमल दाहाल नौ महिना बसिसेका छन् भने लाजध्वज त्यो कुर्सीमा बसेको आठौं हप्ता भएको छ । Continue reading माओवादी-भारत सम्बन्ध: पहिले विस्तारवाद, अहिले अवसरवाद→
Standing Committee meet ends; Baidya demands Central Committee meet
SEP 03 – The UCPN (Maoist) Standing Committee meeting held at the party headquarters in Paris Dada, Kathmandu concluded on Saturday (today) after party Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya demanded the party Central Committee meeting. The meeting was said to iron out the internal differences surfaced after the party handed over the keys to the arms containers to the Special Committee. The hard-line faction of the Maoists led by Baidya has been protesting against the keys handover. Yesterday, the Baidya camp had even boycotted the SC meeting to express their discontent over the key handover issue. The Maoists have handed over the keys to the containers at all the seven cantonments to the Special Committee on Thursday and Friday. Continue reading Maoist Infighting Update→
मुस्ताङ् चढ्ने, कर्मचारी सरुवा नगर्ने, सरकारी खर्चबाट आफूलाई बधाई विज्ञापन रोक्ने निर्देशनसँगै सबैभन्दा महत्वपूर्ण, शान्ति प्रकृया टुङ्ग्याउन एकलव्य भएर लाग्ने प्रधानमन्त्री बाबुराम भट्टराईका भनाई र केही हदसम्म कामले थुप्रै जनतामाझ उनलाई प्रिय बनाएका छन् । सर्वसाधारणले चिया पसलदेखि इन्टरनेटसम्ममा व्यक्तगरेका सकारात्मक र आशापूर्ण अभिव्यक्तलाई मापक मान्ने हो भने कुनै पनि व्यक्ति प्रधानमन्त्री चुनिंदा जनतामा त्यतिधेरै खुशी र उत्साह ल्याएको यो विरलै हुने घट्ना हो ।
[UWB note: For those who are subscribed to this site but don’t understand Nepali: This article, first published in today’s Kantipur newspaper, takes an in-depth look at two sides of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai- his surprising popularity in the mass and his inconsistencies and contradictions in his politics.]
२०१५ मा बीपी कोइराला पहिलो जननिर्वाचित प्रधानमन्त्री हुँदा, ०४६ को जनआन्दोलनपछि कृष्णप्रसाद भट्टराई प्रधानमन्त्री नियुक्त हुँदा र ०६५ मा पुष्पकमल दाहाल प्रधानमन्त्री चुनिदा पनि जनतामा लगभग यस्तै खाले आशा र उत्साह सिर्जना भएका थिए । सामान्यतः राजनीतिज्ञहरुलाई शंकाले हेर्ने र घृणा गर्ने कतिपय जनताले नै अहिलेका प्रधानमन्त्री भट्टराईलाई त्यस्ता शब्द प्रयोग गरिरहेका छन् जो सामान्य अवस्थामा प्रेमी या प्रेमिकाका लागि साँचिन्छन् । जस्तै- हृदयका राजा, आशाका केन्द्र, मेरा आइडल । Continue reading प्रधानमन्त्री बाबुराम भट्टराईका दुई पाटा→
We are waiting for the spillover effect to take hold. China is growing phenomenally. India is following China so very closely. We are tightly sandwiched between them. We are folding our hands and sitting back, hoping that one day the economic progress will spillover from both sides and submerge us. We are hoping to swim. While hoping so we continue to berate both of our neighbors. We call the Chinese the “ex-Maoists who have no idea about democracy and freedom.” We call the Indians “expansionists who have nothing except the Bihari-style democracy.”
The Bihari-style democracy! Turns out the Bihari-style democracy is much better than what we have been told we have—”great achievement of the great People’s War”. In the past four years since the ‘great People’s War with small help from People’s Movement-II’ gave us republicanism we have gotten nothing but instability and inflation. Life has become harder for the man on the street while leaders are engaged in an endless power struggle. Frustration has surpassed the height of Sagarmatha.
Until recently, Bihar used to represent the worst of India: crime, corruption, insecurity, lack of development and immoral politics. Everything negative. That image of Bihar has changed dramatically in the past five years. And in the meantime, all these negative Bihari traits have crossed over to Nepal. That’s the actual spillover effect taking place. Neither Bihar nor India is to be blamed for that. We are solely responsible for stagnation and the deteriorating situation in our society. What have we done in the past five years when Bihar went through the historic transformation? Okay, we too witnessed historic political changes. We ended a decade long bloody war. We transformed from an autocratic monarchy to a democratic republic. Certainly things to be proud of. But, the question is, is that enough? The answer is a resounding NO. Continue reading The Spillover Effect: from Bihar to Nepal [and the Maoists]→
When Maoists provided musical and celebratory feel to their protest gatherings, the former rebels were not innovating a protest tactic. Their innovation, so to speak, was to push thousands of villagers to Kathmandu valley with the party bearing the cost of travel and living. Interviews with a few such people revealed that not all of them were Maoist supporters or excited about the free jaunt. Some were forced to leave their homes for Kathmandu in the midst of agricultural activities. The Maoist-sponsored city tour of the villagers may not have immensely contributed to their agitation against the Madhav Nepal-led government but that surely brought our poverty on surface for the world to see. The rural folks came with their chafed hands that told the story of suffering and lowly life that they had been living in the hills. The arrival of these folks, without shoes and proper clothing, also revived the city versus village debate at tea-shops of Kathmandu. “Everything’s centered in the city,” I overheard a villager telling to city folks at a tea-shop in Tinkune. “It’s high time the city heard our story, understood our plight.” Continue reading Why the Maoist Strike Failed→
On a balmy morning Monday, the Maoist protesters clogged the main intersection at Koteshwar, Kathmandu, singing and dancing in the ‘revolutionary songs’.
Helmeted battalions of policemen in riot gear were mere bystanders. Kirant Rajya Samiti of Maoists was responsible for overseeing the protests in Koteshwar area, one of 18 such points where Maoist staged protests. Hence, most of the protesters here were from eastern hills of Nepal. Maoist supporters came from districts such as Ramechhap, Khotang, Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga. Most of the supporters are brought from far flung areas while a few arrived from surrounding districts (but mostly from rural areas). Some were even forced to participate.
Meet Suresh Rai, a 30-year-old member of Kirant State Secretariat. He along with one hundred fifty Maoist supporters arrived in the capital five days back. “We came in 2-3 groups,” he says. “We’ll continue to protest as long as people will support us.” Hailing from a family of farmers, Suresh says it’s tough for them in the hills to feed the hungry bellies of 7 members of his family.
As we speak, music blares from the huge sound boxes–there’s a makeshift stage built on a truck. Incessant singing and dancing is going on. In between, there are poetry recitations. Flags with hammer and sickle are waved, YCL, the notorious youth outfit of Maoists has a distinct air about them: bandana in their heads, some covering the entire body with the flags.
They’ve been sheltered in several places in Kathmandu Valley ranging from the party palaces and under construction buildings to Nepal Law Campus, Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, Rastriya Sabha Grisha in the city center.
This has turned out like rural Nepal meeting urban Nepal as most of the village folks have arrived in capital Kathmandu for the first time.
But it’s only natural because Maoists have drawn support largely from marginalized communities such as Dalits (so-called untouchables), janajatis (the ethnic people), Madhesis (the people from plains), among others.
Dil Bahadur Bika, a Dalit from Phulbari village of Okhaldhunga, has come to Kathmandu for the first time. In the village, he runs a grocery store (that also sells cosmetics). But as a sole breadwinner of the family, he had to close it because there’s no one to look after. The 35-year-old, a YCL member, is living with other Maoists in a party palace in Kaushaltar, two kilometer north from Koteshwar.
The protesters’ routine goes thus: they leave for the strike at 6 pm. The lunch time will be from 9 am to 11 am. They observe strict discipline while attending the strike. They stay in the one of 18 points till 3 pm. At 3 pm, they participate in the rally. The evening is the time for torch rally. They finally return home after 6pm. Another cycle of strike and they repeat the routine.
Back to the Koteshwar: A song that is tinged with revolutionary fervor blares from the speakers and Dil Bahadur Bika pirouettes in its music. The song goes: