King Gyanendra, India and the United States of America found themselves in awkward situation with the result of the Constituent Assembly polls in Nepal- the Himalayan nation sandwiched between China and India. The Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist’s unanticipated landslide victory in the CA polls conducted on April 10 rang bell not only in South Asia but also in Europe and America. Everybody was taken by surprise.
The king and the royalists met a hard blow at the hands of the ultra-secular Maoists who were the first to raise the demand of the ‘Republic Nepal’. If other parties, particularly Nepali Congress, had won, there could be chances of negotiation but the Maoists have already demanded the king to vacate the royal palace and it is one of the many factors for which the people chose them. Out of total 601 seats they bagged 120 seats in the first-past-the-post and 100 in proportional representative system and emerged as the biggest party of the country.
The king is revered as the incarnation of the Hindu God. The hard core Hindu nationalist party in India, Bharatiya Jana Dal, Hindu fundamentalist organizations like Shiv Sena and others in Nepal, India and even in the Diasporas overseas had favoured the king by refusing the poll results and the prospect of the republic Nepal. The recent reaction came from the president of World Hindu Federation, Bharat Keshar Singh, who in a press conference in Kathmandu last week demanded the newly elected Constituent Assembly to declare Nepal a Hindu state, use word ‘Hindu’ in the constitution and to conduct a fresh plebiscite to decide the fate of the monarchy. All this is a threat prevalent in Nepal.
This unprecedented victory of any Maoists party in world history so far sent cold shivers down the spine of the capitalist power houses and Nepal’s closest neighbour India. It practically caused lot many tensions for the latter which itself is struggling with Maoists insurgency in more than a dozen of states and which was termed as the ‘biggest threat to the internal security of India’ by the prime minister Man Mohan Singh.
India fears the victory of the Maoists across the border could stir up the Maoists Movement in India which is suffered by Maoists violence in 14 states and around 150 districts. The revolutionaries in India won’t be able to garner the votes, if they chose the ballot for gun, as the Maoists in Nepal did neither they have any hope for that. In this situation, the only way for them is the surge of insurgency. It is important to recall that other than the parliamentarian communist parties; all the revolutionaries criticized the CPN-M’s move to the parliament. While the politburo of Communist Party of India (Marxists), Sitaram Yechuri, was welcoming the poll results, they were, surprisingly, almost silent.
The third factor which gives base to the fear of India is the good and deep-rooted relations of CPN-M with the Maoists in India. However, the CPN-M supremo Prachanda denied any incentives to the Indian Maoists, India fears the state sponsored help by the Maoists government to the Indian insurgents for Prachanda himself had headed the organization of the South Asian Maoists in the past.
China, another neighbour of Nepal, always favoured Nepal against India. Some months back, a senior diplomat and Nepal policy specialist in Beijing, Prof. Wang Khongwe, said China would help Nepal to counter every Indian action whether that is military or otherwise. He had clearly underscored the importance of Nepal to China. Although it supported all the governments in Nepal, its relations with the Maoists has been improved and grown stronger ever since.
India wants to continue its Big Brother’s role for Nepal. Having India surrounding it from three sides and because of the great mountains and Himalayas in the northern border with China, Nepal has almost no choice except pleasing India and succumbing to its hegemonic policies, but Maoists are interested to ‘make better’ the relation with China which does have interest in helping leftist government anywhere on the globe. Secondly, China is interested in opening new borders with Nepal, developing the Tibetan railways up to the border with Nepal and increasing the bilateral business with it. If so happened, the afore mentioned role of India could be shattered. It could be disastrous to India as its role and impact would be at the brink of status quo.
For the US, too, it’s equally imperative not to let china to be a major player in this Himalayan nation. As the red curtain fell over Nepal with the election, it was the US, perhaps, which was in greater dilemma. When the peace agreement between the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists was in progress, Washington kept on pressuring the SPA to not to make any pact with the terrorists. It criticized the peace deal and Maoist’s entry into the government. The US ambassador to Nepal then, James F. Moriarty, exhausted himself while trying to persuade the SPA leaders to break the deal with Maoists. He was so vocal at that time that the people burnt his effigies and SPA leaders had to warn him not to interfere in the country’s internal matter.
And now, when the Maoists had won the election and are sure to form government, they are still in the US terror list. While India, China and all other countries welcomed the polls results and expressed their solidarity with the Nepalese people as earlier as possible, the USA gave its reaction in the second week after the polls.
Last week, the Speaker of National Assembly, Subhash Nemwang asked the US ambassador to Nepal Nancy J. Powell when the latter went to meet the speaker and express the ‘official’ view of America on the election why the Maoists were still in the list of terrorists even after the clear verdict of the people to run the country.
To our great surprise, she had no answer to this. She replied she would discuss the matter in Washington for which she is to leave soon.
– Modnath Dhakal, Lahore, Pakistan