Sunday, June 22, 2014

Consensus On Sharing Censure

Those of us scratching our heads so hard the past few days as to why our fragmented and fuming Maoists have suddenly chosen to forge a working alliance now have something to work on.
The major objective of the emerging alliance is to pull Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist out of Constituent Assembly, Chandra Prakash Gajurel, vice-chairman of the CPN (Maoist) said at a public interaction program the other day.
Published reports suggest Matrika Yadav’s CPN (Maoist), Mani Thapa’s Revolutionary Communist Centre and Pari Thapa’s CPN (United) also desire a common voice on key contentious issues before the new constitution is drafted.
Come to think of it, our Maoists are in a real fix. The parties inside the constituent assembly have emerged as the biggest impediments to the promulgation of a new constitution.
No single entity is prepared to assume full responsibility for this impending failure. Collectively, though, they are willing to share the blame. (Provided, of course, each party/faction/coterie reserved the right to point fingers at its rivals.)
This shared stance within the assembly has deprived the parties outside of a credible and coherent agenda. Since they cannot play spoilers, they have projected themselves as saviors.
“Yeah, we thought the constituent assembly, as the ultimate embodiment of popular sovereignty, would salve the Nepali soul,” your average Maoist comrade might assert. “But little did we know that a butcher selling goat meat behind a display of goat heads still had several tricks up his sleeve.”
“On top of that,” another might add, “it takes guts to accept where you went wrong.” If the street is where sovereignty of the people resides, then let’s try to ensure its triumph from there. That’s the philosophical part, more or less. What about the operational side? That’s what Gajurel is talking about.
Dahal recognizes that his war and peace were dictated largely by factors extraneous to the so-called objective conditions inside Nepal. The set of these external circumstances across the southern border circa 2005-2006 that culminated in the advent of republicanism here have largely dissipated and the drivers no longer possess the power to push the agenda forward.
On the other hand, the new handlers, while cognizant of their own national-security imperatives and core interests, are not necessarily wedded so sentimentally to republicanism and secularism in Nepal. Truth be told, who really knows how many people there, or elsewhere in the near abroad and beyond, continue to see those two attributes in Nepal as conducive to their national interests?
Despite Baburam Bhattarai persisting as the perennial thorn on his side, Dahal must continue pretending that he is still the ‘fierce one’ of lore. So he threatens to pull out of the assembly, decrying the ‘regressive tendencies’ of the ruling Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML).
However, if Dahal were to withdraw from the assembly unilaterally, Nepalis would feel vindicated in seeing him and his party as escapists. If parties outside the assembly could pull him in their direction, Dahal and Co. would be exposed to an acceptable, if not equal, distribution of denunciation. The core of political consensus, if you will.