Oral resolve

The seven-party alliance has decided to wait and see whether the Maoists live up to their promises before forming any talks team to discuss the present crisis with them and explore the possibility of working together against the royal rule. To monitor the rebels’ performance, the alliance is to form a team drawn from the civil society. The alliance had earlier laid down some conditions before the Maoists, such as they stop violence, create no obstacles to the seven-party pro-democracy movement, end extortions, and make a formal declaration of their commitment to democratic values such as multiparty parliamentary system, human rights, and the rule of law. These conditions came after Maoist leader Prachanda had called upon the alliance to form a talks team to discuss possible collaboration against the royal rule. Prachanda’s appeal was in response to Congress president Girija Prasad Koirala’s declaration that he would ‘openly hold’ talks with the Maoists.

Indeed, the alliance constituents have yet to reach a common ground on several issues concerning crisis resolution. For example, the other day Koirala created doubts by stating in Biratnagar that the Congress’s threat of embracing the republican agenda was designed just to put pressure on the palace to restore democracy, but not in real earnest. Confusion and differing views among the constituents themselves are among the key reasons why their off-and-on ‘anti-regression’ movement has not gathered steam. To many, the alliance’s decision to form a committee and assess the Maoists’ implementation of their promises may be a game of postponing any dealings with the Maoists.

Most of the alliance constituents actually want to patch up with the palace. But the problem is that the palace has shown little interest in opening up to them, except on its own terms. This situation is unlikely to lead to the building of enough confidence for the political settlement of the problems. It must be conceded, the Maoists’ stand, if not anything, is much clearer than those of the other actors in the scene. Koirala’s remark about why the parties threatened collaboration with the Maoists was unfortunate in that it did not make for any clarity of stand, not necessarily because he did not actually mean to go hand in glove with the rebels.