Tuesday, August 16th, 2022 15:00:39

Bewildered Maoists In Nepal Maoists Grope For Viable Policy For Capturing Power

Updated: May 29, 2010 1:43 pm

At first, diseases caused by intake of polluted water and unhealthy food, and then, like tons of bricks, the explosive protest by harassed Kathmandu residents—the twin attacks demoralised the Maoist cadres brought to the country’s capital in order to topple the government led by Madhav Kumar Nepal so much, that they beat a hasty retreat only five to six days after starting a siege of the national capital on May 2.

            This left the Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda so much perturbed that he became more belligerent in his speeches, little realising that capturing, power from an elected government with support from 22 parties is an impossibility in the present situation.

            It is likely that Mr. Prachanda was carried away by the huge gathering in Kathmandu which might have given him the notion that revolution was at last happening and very soon a Maoist government would be installed in Kathmandu by throwing away all the “reactionary” elements in the Bagmati river.

            It is not always realised that the Maoist influence in Nepal is only limited to less than one-third of the

population and even today, despite their repeated failures to come together, the non-Maoists number three times more than the supporters of the Maoists. The report of the Election Commission on Nepal soon after the elections two years ago gives the correct assessment of the relative strengths of the various parties.

            In the Constituent Assembly (CA) of nearly one crore people, who had voted in the elections to the CA in the spring of 2008, the total number of votes polled by the Maoists were 31,44,204 compared to 22,69,883 polled by the Nepali Congress, and 21,83,370 polled by the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninists ) or simply UML.

            Madheshi Janadhikar Forum, a party of the Madhesi people (who are often called people of Indian origin), polled 6,78,327 votes and Terai Madhesh Democratic Party (TMDP), another Madheshi Party, polled 3,98,930 votes. In a nutshell, the Maoists polled 31,44, 204 voters out of the total 1,07,39,078 votes or less than 29 per cent of the valid votes cast. This means more than 70 per cent of the people of Nepal had rejected the Maoists in the free and fair polls for the CA.

            This fact has been ignored by many and when the results of the elections were being declared in March/April 2008, the media created a hype saying that the Maoists were making unexpected gains and were on the verge of winning the elections. The figures released by the Election Commission had cleared the air, but the impression in popular mind based on early gains by the Maoists still persist.

            In fact, in the ultimate analysis, the Maoist tally for the 601-member Constituent Assembly was 220, less than half; the Nepali Congress had won 110 seats, the UML 103 seats, the MJF 52 and TMDP 20. The votes polled and seats won by other 25 or so parties are not mentioned here.

            There is another factor that is not realised in India, even in Delhi. The Madheshis, or the people who are described as people of Indian origin (actually even the Maoist leadership including the leader Prachanda, who is a Brahmin, are all of Indian origin.) do not go with the Maoists. They are intent upon getting one single State out of the future federal Nepal for the Madheshis (from Sanskrit Madhya Deshis) extending from the western tip of Nepal to the east, along the Indian border. They are not interested in Maoism. In fact one Madheshi, a Yadav by caste, who had become a top leader of the Maoists at one time, is today no longer with them.

            What happens is this. Since the media is interested by and large only in reporting events taking place in the capital city of Kathmandu, events happening there get disproportionate publicity. People outside Nepal start believing that the Maoists have influence all over the country. They might have infiltrated in the southern Terai regions, but do not have that much influence as they have in the northern hills. The Hindi, Maithil, Bhojpuri and Avadhi-speaking people are not interested in Maoism.

            Their problem is to establish themselves as genuine Nepali citizens and they claim parity with the “Pahadis”, the hill people, in every aspect of social and political life of the country. They have been treated so far as dirt by the hill people. Realistically speaking, they do not aspire for prime ministership of the country under any system. What they want is equality with the Pahadis in every aspect of national life. Having been a correspondent in Kathmandu for ten years representing various Indian and foreign newspapers and news agencies, this reporter believe that there may not develop a cordial relationship between these two groups of people.

            The problem is also with other sections of the hill people like the Magars, Gurungs, Thakalis ,Sunwars, Sherpas etc. All these ethnic groups are demanding separate autonomous States within the confederation, if and when Nepal becomes a federation of autonomous States.

            Even the Newar population living mainly in the Kathmandu Valley have declared an “independent” Kathmandu State a few weeks ago. These are the main issues before the people of Nepal today, not any particular political ideology. They have repeatedly voted in the past for a democratic polity and given a chance, they would do so again.

By Arabinda Ghose

Comments are closed here.

Archives

Categories