24 April marks the third anniversary of Jana Andolan II, the much vaunted "people's revolution" of 2006. Republica (how obvious can one be?), in its inaugural issue, trumpets "Triumph of People Power". In marked contrast, the Kathmandu Post which bills itself as Nepal's Largest Selling English Daily does not even mention that today is Democracy Day, being observed with a national holiday. So not all believe that people's power was what created JA II.
In a nutshell, on 24 April 2006, the then-King stepped back from his autocratic rule making way for the re-convening of the National Parliament. The anti-King movement had been spearheaded by seven political parties, led by the Nepali Congress (NC) and the United Marxist-Leninist party (UML). In November 2005, under the auspices of the Indian Government, the Maoists who were then still fighting against the government sat down for talks in Delhi with the seven party alliance (SPA). The resulting 12-points agreement effectively brought the Maoists into the SPA as an eighth political force. In a truely communist tactical move, a hard-core communist rebel movement joined efforts towards a multi-party democracy.
The initial call for an end tp an end to autocratic rule by the King snowballed into a anti-monarchy movement. instigated by SPA, Maoists and arguably (only because there is no hard proof) by the Indian Government. Every player had his/her own axe to grind. GP Koirala, the NC president aspired to be the first president of Republic Nepal, and his ambition had no bounds. The Maoists, almost by definition, were not going to support - at least overtly - the monarchy. Unfortunately, India felt put upon when the King pressed for China to have observer status in SAARC (the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation). It all came to a head on that fateful day 3 years ago when thousands of people took to the streets chanting anti-King slogans. Monarchy had become democracy's bugaboo. And alas, the monarchists had only themselves to blame for this utter failure in reflecting how monarchy and democracy were both needed for the sovereignty, unity and future of Nepal.
The people who came out into the streets have now been deified as the instruments of "people power". It is too late to count how many of those were Maoist cadres, how many were paid by the SPA, and how many were out just to watch the fun.
We observe Democracy Day today in a country whch has pre=maturely been classified as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Whether we are to be federal or not depends on the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly. We have become a republic in the most undemocratic fashion possible, sans referendum and at the whim of the triumvirate leaders of the Maoists, NC and UML parties. The term "new Nepal" is almost unheard these days. Seems we are relegated to the same old Nepal where the people are shepherded around like sheep. Democratic sheep??!!