Forces For And Against Enforcement Of Constitution
Siddhi B Ranjitkar
The forces working for and against the enforcement of the Constitution have been at work. Currently, the forces for implementation of the Constitution have taken over from the forces against the implementation. Those forces losing the power have been blaming the foreign interferences for their faults not recognizing their own flaws in running the administration and their reluctant to enforce the Constitution.
The Oli-led government had to surrender the power to the coalition of NC, Maoist-Center, and Madheshi Front and the Federal Coalition because the Oli government had more regressive forces that did not want to implement the Constitution. His Deputy Prime Ministers such as Chitra Bahadur KC, CP Mainali of the Oli government had been against the federalism. Another character that strongly supported the Oli government had been the Chairman of NWPP: Narayan Man Bijuckchhe that did not totally believed in the federalism, and a staunch anti-Indian. Fortunately, these guys have non-existence of the grassroots-level supports.
Another former Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa did not believe in the republic. He had been carrying the corpse of the monarchy on his shoulder, and fighting for the Hindu State. Thapa even broke up the possible unification of his RPP-Nepal with the mother party RPP blaming the foreign power for not making the unification possible. The unification was supposed to be announced on August 9, 2016.
Anybody watching the political events in Nepal could easily say that the unification was broken down even before the failure in declaring the unification at the last moment. Chairman of RPP Pashupati Shumsher Rana and Chairman of RPP-Nepal Kamal Thapa had signed off the agreement on declaring the unification of the two parties on August 9, 2016. Unfortunately, Rana postponed the unification declaration stating some technical problems. RPP was for the Hindu republic but RPP-Nepal was for the Hindu monarchy.
For example, speaking at the Reporters’ Club in Kathmandu, Chairman of RPP Rana said that the breakaway party: RPP-Nepal was going to be unified agreeing on the Hindu Republic. Immediate reactions of Chairman of RPP-Nepal Thapa were that his party had not discarded the agenda of Hindu State and monarchy. He had clearly declared that his party was not going to merge with RPP agreeing on the Hindu Republic.
Kamal Thapa had vowed to stay on with Prime Minister Oli because he could manipulate Oli to his benefits. For example, Thapa made Oli to have a decision on providing one Hindu ascetic that had encroached on the land of Chitwan National Park for making the Hindu temples and shrines with the land not only legalizing the land the ascetic had encroached on but also giving additional land at the cost of the national park. Then why Thapa should leave the company of such a generous prime minter that gave the State property illegally to a person that dared to encroach on the State property. The last minute decision was illegal because by that time Prime Minister Oli had been in the minority and the decision of his Council of Minister must be invalid.
Both RPPs were in the Oli government. RPP withdrew its ministers from the government once it became clear that Oli would fall from power. However, RPP-Nepal stayed on in the government until the last minute. Chairman of RPP-Nepal Thapa was the deputy of Prime Minister Oli looking after the foreign affairs even vowed that he would support Oli until the last minute. It was clear even then that the RPPs were not going together.
Kamal Thapa said that Rana and he had decided to take the matters on joining the Prachanda government only after the unification of the two RPPs but Rana in a hurry sent his two men to join the government. Thapa said that it indicated Rana was a power hungry man.
Then the question is why all the fuss is about. Thapa has been saying that the foreign power has derailed the unification. He even went on saying that Rana had a meeting with the Indian ambassador before scrapping the unification. He also charged Rana with being the power hungry, as his RPP party has joined the Prachanda government.
Chairman Kamal Thapa would have been glad to join the Prachanda government if he would have the opportunity of playing the political game of not enforcing the Constitution. He had said that he had played a great role in propagating the Nepalese Constitution among the foreign dignitaries. However, he did not say that how he used the naïve KP Oli as prime minister to deteriorate the relations with India. Oli disregarded the advice of the Chinese leaders not to spoil the relations with India, as China wanted Nepal to have good relations with India, and even the Chinese leaders have foreseen to reach India through Nepal making Nepal a real bridge between China and India.
Speaking to the reporters after a program in Kathmandu on Wednesday, August 10, 2016, President of China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) Ji Zhiye said that the trilateral cooperation between China, Nepal and India would help in achieving economic prosperity in the entire region by enhancing through ‘One Belt and Road Initiative’ proposed by China, the news on kathmandupost.ekantipur.com stated.
Prime Minister Oli and his Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa had totally disregarded this aspiration of the Chinese authority for the trilateral relations between China, Nepal and India, and they had unilaterally engaged in not regularizing the relations with India. They also totally disregarded the Madheshi and ethnic people’s issues making the enforcement of the Constitution complicated. They had simply followed the regressive forces represented by Narayan Man Bijuckchhe, Chitra Bahadur KC, and CP Mainali.
Chairman Thapa had exploited a personal grudge Oli held against India. Oli was furious at India for playing against him in the election to the office of prime minister in October 2015 supporting the then Prime Minister Sushil Koirala for the second term of office, and sending the Madheshi leaders to vote for Koirala. Oli carried the personal enmity with the Indian establishment even after he became the prime minister that was the strong card Chairman Thapa played for his own benefits.
How could a head of government continue to have the antagonism between the friendly neighboring countries? Immediately after becoming the Prime Minister, Oli needed to improve the relations with India and end the blockade India had imposed on Nepal. Rather he looked at the northern neighbor China for support.
China knew that Nepal could not do away with the dependency on India for many things for years to come even though China opened up its border for Nepal to reach the third world. China reluctantly supported the Oli government’s wishes and reached various agreements on the development projects and on opening a port for Nepal to sail to the outside world.
China also knew that supplying petroleum products to Nepal was a distant possibility. So, it took many months to sign off even an agreement on supplying the petroleum products to Nepal setting aside the physical and logistic problems of transporting petroleum products from China to Nepal. China had demonstrated that all hurdles on the way to supplying petroleum products to Nepal could be passed providing Nepal with the gift of 1.2 million liters of gasoline when the supply of gasoline from India was totally cut off. However, Chinese concern had been that Oli needed to be ready to pay the price for such supply of gasoline. Unfortunately for Oli, the price of gasoline was much more higher than Nepal could pay for.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi certainly wanted to stop Oli from being the prime minister. Modi had his own reasons for doing so probably for the benefits of Nepal. In his visit to Nepal, Modi had clearly stated that the Nepalese Constitution should be inclusive and acceptable to all. He also said that the Constitution could be amended as required in the future. Modi knew that Oli was not for meeting the demands of the Madheshi and ethnic leaders for making the Constitution inclusive; so Modi wanted to stop Oli from taking the power.
Prime Minister Oli did not give up his stand on antagonizing India. Prime Minister Oli had cancelled the visit of the Nepalese president to India that could improve the relations with India after Oli himself visited India in March 2016. He also recalled the Nepalese ambassador to Delhi charging him with engaging in the anti-government activities in Delhi. Oli had impolitely said that a diplomatic mission had held a lavish dinner celebrating his downfall when the coalition of the NC and Maoist-Center registered a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Oli in the parliament. During the last days of his term of office, Oli even said that some people in Delhi had been playing with the witch puppet for troubling Oli in Nepal. That was not only the undiplomatic but also the shame on the Nepalese establishment.
Believing the Constitution not acceptable to all the people would be a problem; Indian Prime Minister Modi had sent his foreign secretary to Nepal in September 2015 for stopping the promulgation of the Nepalese Constitution until it became acceptable to all. It was too late, as the Nepalese leaders had already set the date on announcing the Constitution. Probably, the good intention of Modi came about as the gross interferences in the Nepalese politics.
Prachanda wanted to promulgate a new Constitution as soon as possible. He had the bitter experiences in not adopting the Constitution that was far more better one believing that the Maoists could wait and get the Constitution of what they thought would be good for Nepal. Prachanda opted for another election to a Constituent Assembly. The election results put the Maoists in a very weak position than used to be. However, Prachanda skillfully maneuvered the politics to have his say in crafting a new Constitution. Even though Prachanda lost the number of good points he wanted to adopt a new Constituent immediately after the three major political parties such as NC, CPN-UML, and the then UCPN-Maoist leaders agreed on it believing the Constitution could be amended to suit the needs of those that were not happy with it.
Speaking to the anchor of the Radio Nepal morning program called “antar-sambad” on August 10, 2016, Maoist-Center leader Giriraj Mani Pokharel said that Nepal had the bitter experiences in not being able to institutionalize the democratic gains Nepalese had made in 1950s. The regressive forces managed to come back and rule the country despotically for some decades. People needed to shed their blood again and again for getting back the political rights and basic human rights. The Maoists and other political leaders knew it. This time, they did not want to repeat the same mistakes their predecessors had committed in the past. So, they declared a new Constitution once they reached an agreement on it.
So, the Constitution was adopted, and problems were supposed to disappear but they did not. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala did not transfer the power to Oli as it was agreed on. Prachanda took it as a good opportunity for putting up his party men and women in the strategic positions of the governance. He put up a man on the position of the vice-president, and a woman on the Speaker. His men and women took the major ministerial positions in the Oli government.
Prachanda had a great faith in Oli that Prime Minister Oli would honor the agreements they had reached gentlemanly or otherwise on enforcing the Constitution resolving the Madheshi issues, and completing the peace process. However, Oli not only disregarded any unwritten understandings reached between them but also even the agreement in writing, and Oli went ahead with his own agenda not giving a fig to the issues concerning the Madheshi and ethnic people provoking the street protests, according to Chairman of Maoist-Center Prachanda.
Oli also was sailing on the boat against the Indian establishment. All the anti-Indian characters such as Narayan Man Bijuckchhe, Chitra Bahadur KC, CPN Mainali and Kamal Thapa were on board. Surely, Indian Prime Minster Modi was quite uneasy with such a bunch of people that did not see anything good what India did for Nepal.
These characters were not only against the Indian establishment but also against the federalism, and federal States. Kamal Thapa was even carrying the smelly corpse of the monarchy. NC leaders, and Prachanda did not believe in Prime Minister Oli would enforce the Constitution and institutionalize the federal States, and federalism with these characters steering Prime Minister Oli to the reverse direction of enforcing the Constitution. Madheshi leaders were deadly against Oli because Oli did not step behind even a single step from the position he held on the Madheshi issues.
So, the NC, Maoist-Center, and Madheshi and ethnic leaders came closer to formulate a common agenda on the matters of the national interest. They were for removing those so-called one-person leaders including Prime Minister Oli from power and move on to the basic agenda on implementing the Constitution and institutionalizing the federalism. The result was the downfall of Oli and his sycophants that would never have any chance of coming back to power again.
The new Prachanda-led government and his coalition partners were committed to amend the Constitution to meet the demands of the Madheshi and ethnic people for making the Constitution inclusive thus easing the implementation of the Constitution, and institutionalize the federalism, complete the peace process, and make sure that the public services were delivered without delay. They also want to improve the relations with both the neighbors.
China has confirmed that the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping will be as scheduled. So, the relations with China have not been affected by the change in the government in Nepal. Chinese officials have met with Prime Minister Prachanda to confirm the good Chinese relations with Nepal. Prachanda is not a new face for the Chinese authorities. They had interaction with Prachanda in 2008 when Prachanda became the first elected prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.
President of China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) Ji Zhiye said, “There is no problem from Chinese government regarding Xi’s visit to Nepal. It depends on the situation here. The date and other procedure will be move ahead based on the same.” The Chinese team is here to create an environment for President Xi's visit to Nepal, the news on kathmandupost.ekantipur.com stated on August 10, 2016.
Indian Prime Minister Modi was happy about Prachanda becoming a new prime minister. He had demonstrated it immediately calling Prachanda on his cell phone after Prachanda got elected to prime minister, and he even invited Prachanda to visit India. Prachanda has a great chance to normalize the relations between Nepal and India. He also can make Nepal a bridge between China and India.
The unbalanced relations with the neighboring countries Oli had developed during his nine-month term of office have returned back to regular relations. Nepal needs to be a bridge between China and India so that Nepal will have an equal access to both the market of China and India. Nepal also should be able to use both the northern and southern routes to reach the third world.
August 11, 2016