PM running out of time

I am no fan of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala. He did not have the heart to provide any space to Ganesh Man Singh or K P Bhattarai. Today, when he seeks to offer space to the King, he is thinking about his own survival, not the country’s. But, unfortunately, the SPA does not have any other leader with Koirala’s stature.

While I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the Maoists, everyone else is not. But if the talks break down, much of Maoist violence will be centred in the cities, most significantly, in Kathmandu. The army generals are unlikely to save the SPA. Somehow, the Maoists have to be brought into the interim government. If need be, Koirala should be willing to hand over power.

The peace talks are stuck over the issues of monarchy and arms. The Americans don’t have to tell us that the Maoists cannot join the government without the management of their arms. But haven’t the Maoists made it clear that they will lay down their arms in return for a republican set-up? Hence, the monarchy needs to go.

Two incidents have put the monarchy in the soup: the royal massacre which made the monarchy implode and King Gyanendra’s ambition to become an autocrat. Many of us who were the loyalists of the late king Birendra doubted his ability to deliver. But his supporters argued that the ‘smart’ King was risking his crown for the establishment of a peaceful and prosperous country. It is therefore only fair that the Maoists and other parties should opt for a republic. The PM can prevent his reputation from tumbling by supporting the campaign for a republic, ensuring peace through a realistic approach to arms management. But time is not on his side if he chooses otherwise.

Mahendra M Sakya, via e-mail

No republic

As regards Rebecca Shrestha’s letter “Chance to be a hero” (THT, Oct. 27), I disagree with her views which don’t reflect a majority opinion in the country. Why are people so eager to make Nepal a republic? The problem here is not poor infrastructure, but corrupt politicians.

Only a free and fair referendum can decide the fate of the monarchy. If people disagree with the Prime Minister’s views, they can form their own party and oppose him in the constituent assembly. The Maoists must be disarmed before they are taken into the government because a political party should not possess arms.

Shiba Thapa, Kathmandu

PM’s choices

This refers to Rebecca Shrestha’s letter “Chance to be a hero” (THT, Oct. 27). King Gyanendra committed a huge blunder by seizing power, which, in turn, helped fuel the April Revolution.

Now that the future of the monarchy is uncertain, the King further alienated the general public by refusing to answer the questionnaire sent to him by the high-level probe committee. He missed yet another chance of winning some hearts.

On the other hand, the Jana Andolan II conferred unprecedented power on G P Koirala. He will continue to hold sway as long as he sides with the people. Therfore, Koirala’s actions in days to come will determine whether he will go down in history as a hero, or lose whatever he has earned in his longpolitical career.

N B Katuwal, via e-mail