- During British-Raj
- From 60s to 90s
- The 90s system
- 1996-2006: Civil War
- India’s Nepal Policy: 2005
- Main Political Parties
- Constituent Assembly(CA)
- Why is there a political crisis/logjam/turmoil in Nepal?
- Why No Constitution?
- Taarikh pe Taarikh
- Pushpa Kamal’s Prachand “Dhamaal”
- Madhav Nepal’s lack of Dhamaal
There was alliance agreement between British and Nepal King. Under which:
- British Indian Army will recruit Gurkha soldiers from Nepal.
- Nepal King will accept British “guidance” on foreign policy matters.
- The British will protect Nepalese Kings against both foreign and domestic enemies and will not interfere in the internal matters / domestic affairs of Nepal.
1947: British withdraw from India.
- Nepal King has no external source of support anymore.
- Now the Anti-King forces led by Nepali Congress (NC) party, launched a revolution in 1950.
- King accepted settlement, Constitution drafted, general elections held.
- The Nepali Congress (NC) party won majority, and formed the Government.
- But there was frequent power struggle between the PM and the King.
- In early 60s, the King dismissed the parliament, banned all political parties.
- He passed a new Constitution- Now crown became the real source of authority.
- This system continued for years, but in 1990 there was huge uprising and protests by people. (this is known as “First Jan Andolan”.)
- Finally, King accepts multiparty parliamentary system.
- New election is held, new Constitution is written.
- It was more or less the same as British monarchy.
- King remained the head of state.
- King appointed the leader of the majority party in the lower house as Prime minister.
- If there was no clear majority, King appointed a leader who enjoyed support of majority coalitional partners.
- From “outside” Nepal looks like a tourist economy but most of the tourism is confined to Katmandu valley only.
- Because other places in Nepal don’t have much “infrastructure” (hotels, good roads, electricity, communication etc.)
- Government’s policies hardly upgraded the socio-economic status of rural people.
- Most of the foreign aid for poor, was chowed down by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.
- Ethnic division was becoming sharp. (Madeshis vs higher caste Brahman+Chhetris).
- While the 1990’s Constitution provided for multi-party system, elections etc. But still the political power rested in the hands of elites, noble families of Nepali Congress (NC) etc.
- These socio-economic issues led to rise of Maoists elements.
- Finally in 1996, they started armed struggle against the popularly elected Nepali Government+ King.
- Their “People’s liberation Army” took control over many rural and remote parts of Nepal, started seizing properties of rich peasants, holding kangaroo courts, murder, abduction, etc.etc.etc. you get the picture.
- Maoists demanded following
- Abolish Monarchy.
- Frame a new Constitution for Nepal.
- Create a system of directly elected President.
- Divide Nepal into provinces according to ethnic lines.
- Redraw relations with India. (regarding border, trade, water sharing etc.)
Since the beginning, India had supported Monarchy in Nepal, for two reasons
- To prevent Nepali + Indian Maoists forming alliance.
- Nepali Maoists wanted Nepal to become a secural country but certain section in Indian Political establishement wanted Nepal to continue as the only Hindu Kingdom.
- But then Nepali Maoists, headed by Prachanda, contacted Indian Government.
- They assured, “Support us and we promise not to create any trouble for India.”
- Indian authorities made assessment of the situation in Nepal, and concluded that
- Most Nepalese people were against Monarchy and King Gyanendra.
- Maoists had sizable presence in Nepal.
- If we don’t support them, China will. And then we stand to lose. (for example, in future, when Maoist Government is formed, they’ll give all contracts to Chinese companies.)
- If we don’t support them, they’ll shelter Indian Maoists, further creating trouble for us.
- So better let’s help them get integrated into mainstream politics and democracy of Nepal. Then Nepali Maoists will be of no more trouble to us.
Under this assessment, India made a new Foreign Policy for Nepal in 2005. It involved
- Stop supporting the Monarchy and Nepal’s Royal family.
- Befriend the Maoists.
- Bring Maoists and pro-democracy forces together in Nepal
- Help establish democracy in Nepal.
At the end of this series, we’ll see Why India’s Nepal policy=#EPICFAIL.
- Anyways, back to the topic,
- The time is 1996-2006.
- There is a civil war going on between Royal Nepalese Army vs. Maoists.
India and UN try to mediate peace.
|2005||The king takes direct control over Government, and dissolves parliament on the ground that popularly PM and parliament has failed curb Maoist menace.|
Now the (restored) Nepalese Parliament passes a law that
- King is no longer the supreme commander of Army. (that means. Army will work as per directions of PM and will not take orders of the King. This will facilitate peace deal with Maoists.)
- Declared Nepal a secular country, (no longer a Hindu Kingdom.)
Finally at the end of 2006, Maoists sign a Comprehensive peace accord with Nepal Government, under which
- Maoists and Nepalese army will stop operations against each other. They’ll stop new recruitment.
- Temporary Cantonments will be established.
- The Maoist combatants will stay in these cantonments.
- Both the Maoists and the Nepalese army will lock equal amounts of their arms in UN-monitored containers.
- Government of Nepal will provide food, ration and salary to these Maoist rebels residing in Cantonments.
- King will no longer enjoy his former political rights. His property will be nationalized.
- In long term, these Maoist rebels will be either inducted in regular army, or they’ll have option to accept financial assistance and lead a regular life.
In short, Maoists will stop violence, join mainstream.
Ok so far,
|1990||Constitution provided for multiparty system. (king appoints PM from the majority party etc.)|
|1996-2006||Civil war between Nepalese army vs Maoists.|
- Thus, elections are held under Interim Constitution.
- And the Maoist party also participates in these elections.
- But nobody gets absolute majority.
- This leads to coalition governments.
|Nepali Congress (NC)||Sushil Koirala.|
- Constituent assembly has to deliver result. (=Constitution).
- And then fresh elections must be held according to that new Constitution.
Now the question is
- Because their Constituent assembly (CA) has not delivered the result (=Constitution).
- So President of Nepal has dissolved the Constituent assembly (CA) and removed the Prime Minister.
- But President also asked the Prime Minister to continue as a caretaker Prime Minister.
- Problem: This Caretaker Prime minister is not holding fresh elections.
Next question: why has Nepal Constituent Assembly failed to deliver result (=Constitution)?
The Constituent Assembly has failed to deliver a new Constitution for Nepal, because there is severe disagreement among various political parties.
Maoist Party members
|Everybody starts shouting.|
|Speaker||Beth Jaayiye, Beth Jaayiye. Kripyaa Shaant Ho Jaayiye. (sit down, sit down, please calm down.)|
So, first disagreement is “what should be the form of government.”
|Maoist and Madhesi Parties||
|Other parties(Nepali Congress(NC), UML)||
|Everybody starts shouting. (again)|
- So, second disagreement is “Basis of Federation.”
- There are other disagreements over appointment of judges, whether judiciary should be completely autonomous or responsible to legislature, election process etc.
- Over the years, they have not been able to sort out these differences in the Constituent assembly (CA).
- Constituent assembly (CA) was formed in 2008.
- Original term: they were to deliver Constitution by May 2010.
- They Failed to deliver Constitution due to ^above disagreements.
- The term extended to August 2011.
- Again failed to deliver Constitution.
- The term extended to November 2011.
- Again failed to deliver Constitution.
- Term extended to May 2012.
Now Supreme Court got angry, and passed the order “whether CA delivers a Constitution or not, it must be dissolved in May 2012.”
Ok wait, let’s recap
|1990||New Constitution that provided for multiparty system. (king appoints PM from the majority party etc.)|
|1996-2006||Civil war between Nepalese army vs Maoists.|
|2008-2012||CA fails to deliver Constitution. It keeps giving itself extension after extension.|
In the meantime, Prime Minister is changed four times during 2008 to 2011! How and why?
- Prachanda is the chief of Maoist party. (Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN).)
- His original aim: overthrow the “State” by violent means. (a.k.a. the traditional Maoist way, just like how Indian Maoists want to overthrow the “State” by 2050.)
- He waged Civil war between 1996-2006.
- Ultimately He had to sign peace accord and agree to join democracy.
- In 2008’s election, his party won many seats.
- He became the Prime Minister of Nepal.
- Ram Baran Yadav of Nepali Congress (NC) became the President.
- Since Prachanda couldn’t overthrow the “state” via traditional Maoist methods (=violence), He decided to go for plan “B”.
Prachanda’s Plan “B”?
- Initially 6500 of the Ex-Maoist Combatants were to be recruited in Army.
- Prachanda raised the demand to induct 9000 Maoist combatants in the army.
- ^This will led to significant presence of Maoist in the regular army=> army cannot create much trouble in future. (say for example, if US or India supported King to return and there was another political crisis).
- Prachanda’s Maoist party will push for a new Constitution that has “directly elected President.” (so no worries of coalition politics.)
- Similarly they demanded Judiciary must be accountable to legislature (and not autonomous like it is in India.)
So ultimately Prachanda’s aim was to have a governance system where he could be the “main boss” and other organs of the State (army, judiciary, legislature) remain weak, just like President Hugo Chaves in Venezuela or Putin in Russia.
But Prachanda’s otherwise “awesome” plan was cut short in 2009.
- Because in 2009, Prachanda decided to replace the Army chief.
- So Prime Minister Prachanda asked President Ram Baran Yadav to sign the order for removal of Army Chief.
- Problem: President Ram Baran Yadav refused to sign the letter. (reports say India had put pressure on him, not to replace the army chief.)
- Prachanda bites the dust. He resigns from Prime minister’s post because President did not agree to his demand for removal of Army Chief.
- Madhav Nepal of UML party becomes the new Prime Minister of Nepal.
- From 2009-11, Madhav Nepal is the Prime minister of Nepal.
- But Prachanda did not like that he had to give up the PM post.
- So he starts agitations, Bandh, protests, rioting, dharnaa, pradarshan against Madhav Nepal.
- Madhav Nepal resigns without doing much “Dhamaal”.
- Now Jhala Nath Khanal becomes new PM, but he too is no match for Prachanda’s Dhamaal and resigns in August 2011.
- Finally Baburam Bhattarai (of Prachanda’s own Maoist party) becomes new Prime Minister.
- And Baburam continues to be the Prime minister of Nepal ever since then.
This concludes the first article. In the next two articles, we’ll see
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|3 of 3||