Sinking boat

The total lack of Maoist commitment to the peace process is evident from the video tape that was released to the media in which Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” was actually boasting about how the Maoists planned to seize state power and also to impose an autocratic system in the country. That the tape was actually 18 months old and, therefore, held no relevance to the present context is just a ploy to hoodwink the people for it has raised doubts about the Maoists’ intents as can be seen from their actions after the holding of the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections and their coming to power. One after another they have been attacking bastions of democracy, the latest one being the army, an institutions that had remained unscathed. After interfering with the judiciary and making attempts to stifle a free press it has raised genuine concerns as to whether the Maoists were taking the country towards a totalitarian state. This fear is based on actions of the Maoists even the aftermath of the signing of the peace accord. The Maoists have so far been seen, as alleged, again engaging in more than rhetoric with the intention of undermining democracy.

However, the Maoists have failed to take the army under its control. The video tape of the address of Prime Minister Prachanda reveals his ploy to infiltrate the army with his politically indoctrinated cadres and, as the perceived obstacle was the incumbent CoAS, who was apparently aware of the conspiracy, he went to all extent to try to remove him in a manner termed by him as constitutional. However, after the reprieve given to Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Rookmangud Katawal by President Ram Baran Yadav who asked him to continue his calling the plot could not materialize. The constitutional imbroglio that this case has brought about is now with the Supreme Court. That the Maoists are unwilling to retract their demand that the CoAS resign to the extent that they would not be abiding by the verdict of the apex court, should it go against them, shows how determined the Maoists are in their design to gain their objective. The resignation given by Prime Minister Prachanda can be seen as a game-plan in this direction.

In the meantime, there is much talk about a politics of consensus. If the Maoists are serious about this then they should follow the democratic norms. But so far, their actions have shown no signs that they are working for such a consensus, rather they have been putting all sorts of hurdles that have been impeding the peace process, which includes the writing of the constitution. Even now the Maoists are now reverting to their actions prior to the conflict period. Their cadres have been intimidating and threatening non-Maoist political workers in Ramechhap and Kailali districts and warning them of dire consequences unless they leave or abandon their allegiance to other parties. Furthermore, the YCL and other bodies affiliated to the Maoists are found using strong arm tactics to coerce the people to submit to their biddings. However, as the Maoists have won the mandate of the people from the CA election , there is hope that they will reform and prove by action and words that they are committed to pledges to democracy.