Skip to content Skip to navigation

Expecting consensus in Nepal

The last king of Nepal leaves the palace on June 11 to pave way for a secular democratic republic regime at Kathmandu. Meanwhile, the greediness of power among political parties come to the light. After days of debate and discussions among the political parties including the rebellious communists, there remains confusion about the formation of a stable government in the South Asian country.

As Nepal, a tiny country sandwiched by two giant neighbours India and Tibet (China) has witnessed the departure of its last king Gyanendra from the Narayanhiti Royal Palace in Kathmandu, the 240 years old dynasty came to an end. The parliament on May 28 resolved and declared the Himalayan nation as a federal democratic republic. The main palace is now turned into a museum.

The dethroned king Gyanendra, 60, now lives temporarily at Nagarjuna palace, the summer residence of the former monarch, until a private house is arranged for him. The government has provided security arrangement for the ex-king who will now live as a common man.

Gyanendra gained the throne of the Himalayan kingdom after a bloody massacre in the palace during June 2001, where the then king Birendra Vikram Shah with some of his close relatives was killed by the Crown Prince Dipendra. Later Dipendra shot himself. King Birendra's brother Gyanendra then took control of the dynasty, which was shaped by the king Prithivi Narayan Shah in 1768.

But Gyanendra was never accepted as an admired king by the most Nepalese, as many of them suspected a conspiracy hatched by him to kill the most popular king Birendra. Many of his decisions, one when he dismissed the government to take absolute control of power in February 2005, made Gyanendra more vulnerable. Otherwise, the king of Nepal, earlier a Hindu Kingdom, was believed to be an incarnation of God (Bishnu) in the form of a human being.

After a decade of armed movement by the Nepali communist (Maoist) rebels for ending the monarchy, the country of 26 million people went for a general election in April 2008 and a Constituent Assembly was formed. It was expected that a democratic government will be formed in the country with the support of wining political party members, which included the rebels of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) too.

In the 601-member Nepal constituent assembly polls, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) won in 220 constituencies. The other left party named Communist Party of Nepal-United-Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) succeeded in 103 constitutions. The major political party Nepali Congress won 110 seats.

Initially the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which led the bloody revolution that killed more than 10,000 people, demanded both the posts of President and Prime Minister in the coalition government. Surfaced as a new power in Nepali politics, the Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, more popularly known as Prachanda, made it clear that they must be allowed to form the government with both the top posts in their net. Prachanda, during an interview on May 30, stated, "Our Party deserves both the posts of President and Prime Minister. Losers (read Nepali Congress and CPN-UML) in the Constituent Assembly polls cannot get these posts."

But the other political parties were not in the mood to buy the theory. The Nepali Congress leaders argued, being the largest political party, the CPN-M has the legitimate claim to form the next government, but they should share one post to other coalition partners. Facing the heat, the Maoist leaders retreated and spared the post of President. They now want a non-political personality as the first President of Nepal.

The Maoists made choices for the ceremonial post. They picked up names like Mrs. Sahana Pradhan, Ram Raja Prasad Singh, Nara Bahadur Karmacharya, Padma Ratna Tuladhar and Devendra Raj Pandey from the civil society groups. They however did not forget to mention that Prachanda must be elevated as the first Prime Minister of Nepal, at any cost, with the executive power.

Lately, putting Nepal into a fresh political crisis, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) ministers in the ruling interim multi-party government resigned on June 12. It was understood as a pressure tactic to convince Koirala to quit and allow the Maoists to form the government according to their wishes. All the CPN-Maoist misters submitted their resignation letters to their party chief Prachanda, who was initially supposed to handover those to the interim government head Koirala. But later he has decided 'not to submit' the letters for the time being.

Talking to this writer, an Indian journalist based in Kathmandu, argues that 'being the largest political party, they (Maoist) have right to demand anything'. "The Nepali Congress and the Communist party of Nepal (UML) are nowhere close to the Maoists (in respect of number of seats won in the April 10 polls). They are far behind the Maoists," stated Anirban Roy, the representative of The Hindustan Times in Nepal. He also added that Koirala should have resigned and helped Prachanda to form the government. "After all, Koirala becomes Prime Minster for five times, and should not cling on to the hot seat even after losing the election," asserted Mr Roy.

Meanwhile, there was news that the Prime Minister GP Koirala was proposed as the first president of Nepal by the Nepali Congress. Prachanda however denied to accept Mr Koirala as the President. Though he is a grand national figure, Prachanda declared, they could not make choice for Mr Koirala because of his age and fragile health.

"Besides, he has been in power for long and if he is given the post (President) there is a possibility of two power centres in the government," asserted the Maoist leader.

The CPN-UML has meanwhile proposed that 'a non-member (of Constituent Assembly) could become the President'. However the first president should be elected and the person should be able to acknowledge the essence behind national unity, freedom and sovereignty, argued CPN-UML General Secretary Jhalanath Khanal.

Meanwhile, the political parties started hammering Prachanda because of his continued guerrilla background. They insisted hat Prachanda must quit the post of chairman of Maoist People's Liberation Army before joining the government. "There cannot be two parallel armies in a state and Maoist chief Prachanda, cannot be the chief of two armies," one of the Nepali Congress worker declared.

"It was perhaps easier for Prachanda to dethrone the king, but running a government will be more challenging task for the man, who emerged as a new epicentre of power in Nepal," commented a Kathmandu based political analyst. The analyst, who wanted anonymity, also added, "Making Nepal a country of prosperity, where one-third of the populace lives in acute poverty without access to education and health care, will be his immediate challenge."

Observing the present political crisis on way to form the government, it is understood that the political leadership including Prachanda have forgotten the real issues. The long time exploited people of Nepal supported the Maoists to depose the king, but in return they do not deserve a dictator (read in the form of Prachanda), he added.

Author info

Nava Thakuria's picture

Senior journalist based in Guwahati.

Add new comment

Random Stories

ABSU, AASU demand impartial inquiry

8 Aug 2016 - 9:58pm | AT Kokrajhar Bureau
A joint delegation team of All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) and All Assam Students Union (AASU) led by Promod Boro, president of ABSU visited Balajan Tinali bazar on Monday in Kokrajhar district to...

Hepatitis-B vaccination camp at Guwahati Press Club

5 Apr 2016 - 7:36pm | AT News
Another session of Hepatitis-B vaccination camp is on the card for the members of Guwahati Press Club on 7 April next (11 am to 1 pm). The free camp, primarily organized for the lady scribes who took...

SVEEP programme in Jakhama

17 Oct 2015 - 7:22am | AT News Dimapur
More than 1000 people joined in the systematic voters education and electoral participation (SVEEP) programme held at St. Joseph College in Jakhama on Friday. Nagaland Chief Election Officer...

New Archbishop for Guwahati

3 Mar 2012 - 4:05am | editor
Guwahati is set to get Reverend John Moolachira as the new Archbishop. He is likely to take charge on Monday succeeding Archibishop Thomas Menamparampil who has already retired. The Guwahati...

Other Contents by Author

It’s shocking to report that a number of Guwahati-based scribes and RTI (right to information) activists have been facing interrogation and even arrest by Assam chief minister’s special vigilance cell following the allegations of Sewali Devi Sharma, the prime accused in Rs 105 crore State council of educational research and training (SCERT) scam, as being blackmailers to her in different occasions. The arrestees include a female reporter (identified as Pujamoni Das alias Honey Kashyap, who reportedly took a large volume of money from Ms Sharma) along with a satellite news channel reporter named Bhaskarjoti Hazarika.  RTI activists namely Rabijit Gogoi (who pretended to be a...
Can we imagine a world of zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero carbon emissions with a new approach in post-corona economics! Ask Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and he will answer in the affirmative. The university professor turned revolutionary banker believes that the human race should not only dream about a safer world by reducing global warming, wealth concentration and unemployment, but also work in that direction with personal and collective capacities. In his latest book titled ‘A World of Three Zeros’, Prof Yunus proposes a new economic system focusing on every human being as an entrepreneur in the making. He believes that humans are not born to work only for...
Guwahati: Assam is all set to host first sustainable financial working group (SFWG) meeting and Youth 20 inception meeting as part of India's year-long G20 presidency, where it is meticulously chalked out various tour programs that would help in promoting the State’s rich biodiversity and socio-cultural heritage in international arena. The authorities have completed the preparation to welcome the foreign delegates to the State. Guwahati is adorned with digital wall painting, thematic gates, flags of G 20 countries, LED cut-outs, standees, hoarding, etc as part of branding and beautification. The government has also completed the arrangement for the visiting delegates to places of...
Guwahati: India observes National Press Day on 16 November with an aim to pay tributes to everyone who contributed to the growth of print media along with its mentor & watchdog the Press Council of India (PCI). Moreover, it’s also an occasion for the practicing media persons to introspect seriously over their noble profession where it has been heading in the post-Covid-19 pandemic era. Since its inception and functioning, the PCI continues to symbolize a free and responsible press in the largest democracy in the world. Among all press or media councils, functioning in various countries, the PCI is recognised as a unique entity that exercises authority over the media and also safeguards...
Participating in a debate on satellite television or digital channels needs some homeworks to make the deliberations short and clear. Unless you face an arrogant anchor and unruly participants, the experience in talk shows normally emerges as an intriguing one. It happened to me, as I had recently participated in a digital media discussion on the pertinent issue of National Register of Citizens  (NRC) in Assam, where the prime guest was none other than the immediate past State NRC coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma. The talk show host Dikshit Sharma put the questions in a clever way so that the issue comes alive and my part was just to interpret Dev Sarma’s version for clarity to the valued...
Guwahati: It was an amazing experience to attend the foundation day of a 25 year old press club in central Assam on a lazy Sunday, where a number of senior citizens along with rural scribes and novice journalists were waiting to listen to my speech. It’s easier to address a journalist’s meet- where we can discuss many issues with liberties, but while the audience includes respected senior citizens and young people, it becomes a difficult task to speak to them together. First, the question that arises, how much should I highlight the eroding credibility of the mainstream media around India in general and Assam in particular and secondly what may be the role of social (alternate/digital)...
Guwahati: A year-long celebration of 100 years of sports journalism in Assam begins coinciding on the day while the first ever news related to a football competition is published in Asomiya (a weekly news magazine mentored by Chandra Kumar Agarwala) on 1  July 1923. Assam Sports Journalists Association (ASJA), which is affiliated with the Sports Journalists Federation of India (a national affiliate of the International Sports Press Association), has taken the lead in celebrating the occasion that will culminate on 1  July next year. On Saturday, flags for ASJA and the centenary celebration were hoisted by ASJA’s founder president Balendra Mohan Chakraborty and his successor...
Reactions from the public (sensitive readers) against a news item in any newspaper (also news channel) are usual in India, but outrages against the mainstream media outlets in digital platforms for not covering a particular issue is definitely an unusual phenomenon. The north-eastern state of Assam witnessed such public fury against some of the editor-journalists for avoiding press conferences by opposition political parties where they targeted the state chief minister for his family’s alleged land scam. The organized public uproar in the alternate media was so intense that the celebrity editor-journalists of Assam did not dare to clarify their positions. They preferred to avoid the...
Hyderabad: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has strongly condemned the incident of assault on a Manipur journalist and urged the state chief minister, N. Biren Singh, to book the culprits under the law. The National Union of Subscribes also wished for an early recovery of Elangbam Rameshwar, who works as a Thoubal correspondent for the Naharolgi Thoudang regional daily newspaper, which is published from Imphal. Local media hinted that the handiwork was masterminded by some Congress workers in the Thoubal locality of the north-eastern state, who were attacked by a group of 20 to 25 masked men in the morning hours on 24 October. The rural reporter faced assault at his residence in the...
Hyderabad: The national executive committee meeting of Indian Journalists Union (IJU), which concluded on Sunday in the capital city of Telangana, discussed various burning issues concerning the practitioners of journalism across India and emphasized on effective safety & security to journalists, reforms in Press Council of India (PCI) and basic minimum facilities to the media fraternity sustaining the spirit under freedom of the press to serve the largest democracy on the globe. Chaired by IJU president K Sreenivas Reddy, the two-day meeting held at Tourism Plaza in Begumpet locality expressed serious concern over killings of journalists by anti-social elements and filing of cases...