Saturday, January 31, 2015

Kabuki Theater Of Ex-Premiers

The sky didn’t fall. Nor did the earth shatter.
The space in between in the aftermath? That’s quivering from absurdities of some of our prominent ex-premiers.
The constituent assembly fell into the fold of ‘status-quoists’ and ‘reactionaries’ on January 25, 2015, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai asserted the other day. Without another progressive struggle, politics would take an unpleasant turn, he warned.
The broken chairs and uprooted mikes doubling as projectiles inside the august assembly set the stage for the subsequent rhetorical silliness from key people heading the government.
Madhav Kumar Nepal of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) maintained that the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML made a mistake by tabling their nine-point joint proposal at the Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee, thereby infuriating the opposition. (Classic symptom of the liberal/left: empathize with your opponent.)
Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali Congress accused the Madhes-based parties for nixing his marvelous idea of deleting ‘interim’ from the interim constitution and declaring mission accomplished.
Jhal Nath Khanal of the UML castigated foreign powers – explicitly excluding China – for muddying our waters. Surya Bahadur Thapa of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party cited the incompetence of the political class for non-promulgation of the constitution on the stipulated deadline.
Despite all that happened, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala is beseeching UCPN-Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal to return to the process of dialogue. Maila Baje feels Koirala is rejuvenated by the fact that he is still at the helm. But the latter insists he can’t come back to talks with the sword of majority-rule hanging over him and his folks.
And what does prime minister-in-waiting think? Khadga Prasad Oli believes the Maoists just need a few billion rupees to come back to the table.
Bhattarai’s effort to tout the progressive-reactionary divide no longer reflects – to borrow one of his favorite terms – ground realities. Who’s who depends on the time of day, if not the dynamics within factions and coteries inside parties.
Madhav Nepal has developed a disconcerting tendency to second-guess himself. If the two ruling parties were so lousy in their political acumen, well, he, too, is part of the problem.
Khanal can blame foreign powers all he wants, but they are simply seeking a return on their investment circa 2005-2006. The Chinese are far from neutral in Nepal. They only appear to be the most polite ones in public – and that’s putting things charitably.
Thapa – the most rabid republican among those with royalist roots – hardly needed to highlight the incompetence of the political class. But, then, Deuba’s proposal only served to explain why he happened to be sacked twice by the then-monarch. If anything, the Madhes-based parties, by opposing Deuba, were the adults in the room.
The man who’s making the most sense is Oli. Of course, he still spews gobbledygook such as how he would work to ensure that consensus and process proceeded together. But, if you believe him, buying off the Maoists had worked in the past. Let’s not focus too much on where the money came from.
The going rate certainly must have risen. But what’s a few billions among chums, right?