Saturday, October 31, 2009

Barbecue and Politics

Happened to be invited to a superb barbecue dinner very recently. It was a small group, including two CA members, one of them a seasoned politician. With the impending street agitation promised by the Maoists, politics naturally took up a lot of the conversation time.

I had certain basic questions, not being a politician nor much of a political analyst either:

1. Why did the Army not step in when the King's powers were removed by the SPA and the Maoists in the spring of 2006?
There was no call for this action by the King himself and the Army Chief then was not a man of action.
2. When the country was declared secular, why did the Hindu majority in Nepal remain silent?
Because they were Hindus and tolerance is a basic tenet of Hinduism.
3. Why does not anyone have the courage to face Girija and change the NC leadership?
He still has a coterie of strong supporters within the party and the Koirala name probably is an asset for him.
4. So what is going to happen with the Maoists agitation starting 1st November?
Their call for reviewing the President's decision on reinstating the Army Chief sacked by the Maoists holds absolutely no water. Right off, the case is in the Supreme Court and, without its decision, there cannot be any discussion on it. Besides, there is no constitutional provision for the President's action to be reviewed by the CA. Further, the unconstitutional move was initiated by the Maoists themselves when the sacked the Army Chief directly without sending their recommendation to the President. Of course, they also abrogated the whole principle of consensus when they went ahead with the sacking while all other parties were against it.

Well, the answer to the fourth question was rather an earful but I learnt a lot. In summary, the Maoists' brazen move to replace the Army Chief with their chosen General backfired. They had to resign. They lost face. The street agitation going on now is only to let people know that they still have some "punch" left. Of course, going into the foreign involvement in the Army Chief fracas would extend this post too long; so I will not even touch that. The issue is not "civilian control of the Army", as hyped by the Maoists - it is simply politics as played out by power-hungry politicians who do not care a whit for the people of this country.