First step of
Parties and Maoists towards peace
As King Gyanendra embarked on a
long visit—Africa via Dhaka where he was to address the SAARC summit--to defend
the power takeover and garner international support in the second week of
November, political party leaders and Maoist were in serious discussion in the
Indian capital to establish peace in country.
That was not certainly the
priority on the king's agenda. Leaders like Girija Prasad Koirala, Madhav Kumar
Nepal, Hridayesh Tripathi and Prakash (joint-secretary general CPN United Mashal)
and Maoists supremo Prachanda and Baburam Bhttarai were in intense discussion in
Because of King Gyanendra's ego
and pretence, possibilities of reconciliation look remote. As a result,
political forces felt compelled to join hands with Maoists. King's speech in
SAARC summit has made clear that he is not changed.
Meanwhile, parties seem
convinced that they have got a positive message from Maoists. The most important
message among all is Maoists are eager and excited to return back to the
democratic political fold. A three-month ceasefire by the Maoists has given the
base for some trust. There are also indications that the Maoists decision is
backed by their cadre.
The decision by recent plenum
of central committee for return to democratic fold is encouraging enough.
Although details of the plenum have not been disclosed yet, limited disclosures
so far make us believe that the change in Maoists is 180 degree. It seems that
the plenum took three crucial decisions:
Maoists cadre not to target political party cadre
Pave the way for
election to the constituent assembly, and end the armed struggle
(decommissioning under U N supervision)
Apart from these decisions, it
is said that Maoist also agreed to procure suggestion and assistance from
political parties on how to manage their army.
Maoists also face a compelling
situation now, and there is combined pressure from three factors:
International situation and the
geo-politics of South Asia have remained unfavorable for Maoist's armed
struggle. Because of India's rigid hostility towards militancy in neighborhood,
capturing power for Maoists would be a tough job despite the fact that they can
visit the unmanned country side at ease. As a result, mobilizing cadre with the
needed secrecy has become much more difficult.
In the circumstances,
ultimately accepting the competitive multi-party democracy becomes more
acceptable and easy option for that. And Delhi exercise appears an attempt in
that direction. But divulging details at the very outset would have only led to
the abortion of the attempt. Madhav Kumar Nepal who spent three weeks in Delhi
said his stay there was mainly meant for health check-up, although the visit had
been facilitated by Government of India and the friendly left parties'
invitation. But some of his activities could not go un-noticed. Apart from
meeting many Indian leaders, he also met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He
also tried to put extra pressure on Maoists through some intermediaries in
India's naxalite dominated Andhra Pradesh. This may not have skipped the
attention of Prachanda and Baburam.
Although there is a dispute in
Nepal regarding India's security perception , India feels that growth of Maoists
in Nepal would not be confined within the boundary of the Himalayan kingdom, and
that in collusion with Indian naxalites, they would play havoc in the security
affairs in India as well. There are also fears among the left parties in India
that the growth of naxalite cadre there would be at the cost of the left
parties. That explains why the Indian left parties appear more concerned and
serious about the need to tackle Maoists problem in Nepal, preferably through
negotiation. Association of the Government of India which survives on the
support of the left there is understandable.
In addition to the exercise
going on in India, Nepalese actors have to take into consideration many other
factors including International situation. The United Nations, European Union
and United States of America who all appreciated how important the dialogue was
as a means in a way endorsed the Delhi exercise But they are also genuinely
concerned that Maoists peace exercise is not only tactical. This backing of the
international community also demolishes a pro-king propaganda that if the
Maoists and political parties joined hands together ever, international
community will back the king. The latest round of shift in the Maoists
strategy—to join the campaign for democratic republican—is no doubt the outcome
of 'truce' between the two top Maoists leaders—prachanda and baburam. The agreed
line at the moment is –'we can not win the state power through guns'
In fact, it has been a long
wait to see Nepal's politics transformed into a bi-polar phenomenon. It now
appears that the palace was the biggest hurdle.
But challenges of the
pro-democracy forces are far from over. Securing continued support of the
international community, and continue to strengthen the movement for democracy.
Disarmament of Maoists would certainly strengthen that process. For that Maoists
would need to extend the ceasefire when the deadline expires on December 3.
What the parties expect from the Maoists:
Give up armed
intimidation, and torture
Allow freedom to
political party cadres to operate
What the Maoists expect from the parties
join back the king
towards political agreements
Maoists like enemies
Accept Maoists as
democratic, and peaceful force
Chart out common
Minimum program to establish democratic republic through constituent assembly
What they agreed on:
Not to attack
Maoists to accept
of arms under UN-supervision at the time of constituent assembly elections
Accept result of
the constituent assembly election
peaceful political struggle
against dictatorial monarchy
elections and not let it happen
Maoists admit their Short-comings–UML General Secretary Madhav kumar Nepal
can convince India, United Kingdom and the European Union about our move once we
come together. Even United States of America also would not oppose on it.
Maoists accepting a peaceful means would make all happy.
Maoists realize that society could
take a forward move under the multi-party system.
Nepali people genuinely want
Maoists as part of the political mainstream. I moved on with the same
purpose—whether in Siliguri or in Lucknow. All want the problem settled through
dialogue, and that is what we are doing.
Ceasefire has proved that Maoist
cadres follow the command of the leaders. It is a positive thing for us.
Similarly, the Royal Nepalese Army under the king's command would not be
acceptable to any one now.
Maoists have realized that they
have lost people's respect, mainly because of the cadres' brutality.
There are however, some
misconceptions in certain quarters in India. One: Maoists are in a position to
capture state power through guns. Two: If the institution of monarchy ceases to
exist tomorrow, the country will be disintegrated. Both are exaggerated notions.
There are strong institutions which would fill in for any role that a changed
situation might demand.
Maoists movement is not devoid of
good issues. Their accepting the multi-party democracy and agreeing to
decommission of arms would pave the way for inclusive restructuring of state.
The Delhi dialogue has already opened the process of Maoists joining democratic
changed because of the Maoists' desire: Nepali Congress Chairperson, Girija
I want to go on to the 'Fast
Track', because of my age and health. But, it needs patience. It is not good to
be aggressive. I need peace, democracy and freedom. Maoist's ceasefire is a
chance. Entire international community wants political solution.
If we are the political power, it
is our duty to attract Maoists to the democratic main stream. Yes, I do not have
any faith on the guns of both sides. A third party would be necessary for
Dialogue would not be enough. We
need a solid institution to carry it forward. That's why parliament is needed.
That should be followed by formation of an all party interim government which
would conduct election for a constituent assembly.
This is what the 7-party alliance
demanded way back in June. On the issue of going to polls for the constituent
assembly, I and the Maoists are one. And army should be under civil authority.
My political thought has been
changed because I am clear that political transformation which even Maoists are
clearly in favor of, can not materialize without a constituent assembly.
I see quite a flexibility on the
parts of the 'Maoists' leadership'. They need to be encouraged, and given a way
But the king appears quite rigid.
He wants to go by the game of numbers ignoring all realities. We need to gather
huge crowds, and declare restoration of Democracy ourselves if the king is not
willing to do that.
big leap by Maoists: Leader, Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Anandidevi), Hriidayesh
Once the parties are able to get
Maoists in the political mainstream, parties' image would rise high in the
Maoists quest for change is not
only genuine, but it's also intense.
Maoists have been able to convince
the masses about their sincerity.
King can not transform the
Maoists. So it is futile to try to convince the king directly. Instead, we need
to convince the international community about the need for the dialogue. We also
need to convince them that the Maoists are sincere now.
Together, and with similar agenda
Maoists and the political parties are the most dominant factor in the country's
The war, the disgrace they faced
from the people, and Nepal's geo-politics—all have contributed to realization
among the Maoists.
We need to formulate our stance
into action by February 8 (the municipal election). If the king bulldozes us,
the political solution would be delayed as the king would then use the Royal
Nepal Army against the Maoists with vengeance
November 16-30, 2005