Rolpa connection

CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal has claimed that the Maoists have decided to follow a line similar to that passed by his party’s fifth general convention thirteen years ago. In other words, the Maoists, says Nepal, have made a ‘historic decision’ to embrace

‘multiparty competitive politics’. Indeed, the central committee of the Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) met recently, and its decisions have yet to be made officially public. However, the CPN-UML leader told the national gathering of party cadres in the capital on Monday that the Maoists have decided, among other things, to accept the existence of different political beliefs, to settle for constituent assembly for a political resolution of the crisis, to lay down arms under UN supervision, and to accept the verdict of the constituent assembly. Nepal further says that the new policy will soon be put before the NCP (Maoist)’s general convention for endorsement.

If Nepal’s statements are true, the new Maoist line will mark a watershed in the national politics for the better. At the same time, all political forces, including the rebels, should understand that multiparty democracy means fiercely competitive politics under which the right to govern comes from the people through free and fair elections. This system rejects the claim of anybody, be it an individual, group, family or party, to rule without such a mandate. Nevertheless, supposing good intentions on the part of both the government and the rebels, the dialogue would still be unavoidable.

But the distrust between the two sides is so deep that, left to themselves, they are unlikely to come to the negotiating table in favour of democracy. For example, the Maoists insist on the acceptance of constituent assembly and the government on the surrender of arms as a pre-condition for talks. Therefore, to build mutual confidence, the two sides should bring themselves to agree to an unconditional dialogue. Besides, this would also call for the government’s reciprocation of the Maoist ceasefire, which should also be extended. For the sake of argument, even if it is to be a constituent assembly, they will still have to hold talks to sort out issues and work out the modalities to execute the agreement. But, under the circumstances, it is highly unlikely that the rival sides will come to terms on their own. Therefore, the UN seems to be the best agency which can provide each side with the assurance and guarantee of the execution of any agreement, which will always be subject to the endorsement of the majority of the sovereign Nepalis.