Political stalemate - Necessity of introspection

Maoist leader Prachanda’s interview to Kantipur daily had received wide publicity and there was an overwhelming response to it as a positive statement, which could lead to peace and political stability in the nation. However, his interview to BBC turned hope into disappointment. This received wide publicity and people started questioning if this was the statement of the same person who a couple of days ago had brought a ray of hope.

US ambassador James Moriarty was not alone in expressing his utter disappointment and brand the Maoists untrustworthy but some seven-party alliance leaders, who had reached a 12-point agreement with the Maoists, also started to question the Maoist leadership’s credibility. Whatever the government’s or anyone else’s reaction to the 12-point agreement, the overwhelming Nepalis had welcomed it and pinned their hope that the Maoists would sincerely defend human rights and show readiness for peaceful transformation. Though there were quite a number of misdeeds by the Maoists against the spirit of the 12-point agreement, people were still ready to give them the benefit of the doubt. However, the Maoist supremo’s utterances cast a shadow of uncertainty.

Prachanda in his interview to Kantipur had admitted that there were certain shortcomings which would be taken care of gradually, but rights abuse by the Maoists increased and the BBC interview exposed that they were far away from finding a peaceful solution. Prachanda and his mates may have a certain view of the institution of monarchy and the King himself but it very well exposed his lack of information about the institution of monarchy’s roots in the national psyche.

The Maoists, until recently, used to name three important political forces, one of them being the institution of monarchy. Suddenly, they have come to the conclusion that only two political forces were left to be recognised — the Maoists and the seven-party alliance. One can easily discern that such analysis was based not on reality but on wishes. A leader who is devoid of real information and floats on wishes leads himself into a false premise and becomes whimsical. Whim makes a person dictatorial. This is high time the Maoist leaders reexamined their premise.

The government officials have based themselves on the wrong assumption that only the King among the constitutional forces can guarantee a victory over the Maoists. They have promised to provide peace and security but it is not being delivered. Their claim of having broken the backbone of the Maoists has been belied time and again.

In this respect the alliance stands as a credible political force, which recognises the influence and strength of all the three forces. They have repeatedly demanded unity among the constitutional forces and clarified that the insurgency could not be ignored. The unity among the forces could only be used to address the insurgency.

Those who have rejected the 12-point agreement have done so because of their prejudice against the Maoists as nothing but terrorists. They fail to see that the insurgents have expressed themselves in favour of a peaceful transition and adherence to multi-party democratic system. They failed to appreciate the Maoists’ one-sided ceasefire with a view to giving peace a chance.

No person with faith in democracy, pluralistic society and dignity of human beings can condone the Maoists’ criminal acts. However, no sane person can ignore the necessity to provide the benefit of doubt to those who want to adopt a new path to solve the myriad problems.

All the three forces have to recognise each other’s influence and importance. One has to recognise the increasing awareness of the Nepali masses who are trying to break the shackles of the feudal past and create a new society based on human dignity and equality. The war has resulted not only in great miseries but also in new and lasting awareness. Those who do not see this and stick to the hackneyed prescription can only lengthen the miseries.

The Maoists must review their 10-year-old struggle but not get swayed by the feeling that the entire masses were with them. They must recognise the harm done to the public and realise that a big segment of Nepalis believe in guarding the institution of monarchy for national unity. People are not ready to accept absolute system under anyone including the King but people have great faith in the institution of monarchy.

The royalists must recognise the importance of the parties, including the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), and shun the hollow slogan of nationalism and piousness of royal wish. Thanks to the alliance for recognising the problem objectively. They have realised their past mistakes. However, they have yet to assure the people that their agitation is not for power but for real political transformation where all the Nepalis feel freedom and equality. Let all the three forces be objective and introspect honestly.

Upadhyay is a former foreign minister