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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Great betrayal to the country and people


Yuba Nath Lamsal
The Constituent assembly died its natural death but without producing a constitution, for which it was formed four years ago through election. This demise of Constituent Assembly is natural because it had already survived more than it had to be. The Constituent Assembly was to write the constitution in two years which was the original provision in the Interim Constitution. The parties and their candidates had also promised that they would give the country a new constitution within two years as stipulated in the Interim Constitution. However, the CA utterly failed in its job right from the beginning, for which political parties and their principal leaders are to be blamed.
Prior to the election, there had been different predictions about the election results. Most people had projected the CPN-UML as the possible winner and the UML leaders, too, were quite hopeful of better electoral performance. A section of political analysts had subscribed to the view that the Nepali Congress would emerge winner in the triangular contest among the three major forces—the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the UCPN-Maoists. The Nepali Congress, too, was hopeful of electoral gain on the basis of its analysis that it would get all non-communist votes while the communist votes would be divided between the Maoists and the UML. However, the electoral results were unexpected which was shocking to all political forces and others who were closely watching the Nepal’s CA election. Even the Maoists were not confident of its stunning electoral performance.
The parties began to play with the fate of the Nepalese people right after the
CA elections, despite their promises to the people to work for the interest of the country and the people. The parties got bogged down more in power politics than in their primary task of constitution writing. During the four years since the CA election was held, four different governments were formed, which is evident of the parties’ priority to power. The task of the constitution writing was taken a back seat. Two years for which they were elected to complete the constitution writing were wasted as nothing was done during this period. But parties happily and without any hesitation amended the constitution and extended the life of the Constituent Assembly for one year, which was the beginning of breach of promises and betrayal to the people and the country. Even in the extended period, the CA failed to come up with a constitution and parties again extended the life of the CA. They started to repeatedly extending the term of the CA and it was felt that they would do it for indefinite period bleeding the national exchequer without doing any good job. The extension of the CA tenure was just to cover up their failure and ensure their perks and benefits. But the Supreme Court applied brake on further extension. In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court clearly ruled that the fourth extension would be the last one because the parties cannot extend the CA time indefinitely. As a result, the CA ceased to exist from May 29, 2012. Despite the decision of the Supreme Court against further extension, the government had registered a bill in Legislative-Parliament for the life of the CA. But this effort went in vain because of non-cooperation from opposition parties. Had the Supreme Court not given its verdict against further extension, parties would have repeated the same old practice for their perks and facilities. This shows the height of irresponsibility of the political parties.
When the efforts of extension failed, the government chose to go for a fresh election. Now controversy is going on in Nepal’s political and legal circle. The government has defended its decision to announce the fresh election for the new Constituent Assembly as election is the best democratic exercise, while the opposition parties have rejected the election to be conducted by the Maoist-led government. The opposition parties have dubbed the election announcement as a tactic to capture power. They have demanded that all-party government be formed to conduct the election for which the Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai must quit. Whatever the logics and counter logics, the failure to write the constitution in four years is betrayal to the people and a big waste of national exchequer.
There is no doubt that election is the best democratic process to involve people in political process. But elections are expensive for poor countries like Nepal. More than 10 billion rupees were spent for the election of the Constituent Assembly and salaries/allowances of its members during the last four years. Since the CA members did nothing, how should this money be compensated? Moreover, there is still no guarantee that the constitution would be written even when the new Constituent Assembly was formed. Since parties have already failed utterly in producing the constitution in four years, what moral authority they have to seek votes from the people. And what is the guarantee that they would not repeat the same mistake again. The political parties and their leaders must answer these questions of the people.
The crux of the problem that led the Constituent Assembly to fail and collapse is the federalism issue. All political parties, except a few fringe ones have committed to the federal model. As a result, the Interim Constitution has declared Nepal as a federal democratic republic. In the first place, our parties committed mistake by committing to federalism without national debate. Although federalism is not bad in itself, is it suitable for Nepal? There are both success stories as well as failures of federalism in the world. We should have conducted national debate on this issue but parties accepted federalism without seeking people’s opinion. This is an indicative of the fact that our parties act in arbitrary and authoritarian style and manner and take the people just for granted.
The parties had and still have no idea what federalism really means. Without comprehending its pros and cons, they accepted federalism in the Interim Constitution. There should have been debate whether federalism was necessary for a small country like Nepal. Federalism is a concept to provide the service delivery at the door step of the people. In big countries, federalism makes sense but not in the small countries like ours. Nepal is a tiny country that is smaller than federal provinces of its neighboring countries. For example, Nepal is smaller than Tibet Autonomous province of China and Utter Pradesh and Bihar of India. So there is absolutely no necessity of federalism in Nepal. If power decentralization was genuinely practiced, it would have been much better for Nepal. Similarly, federalism is a costly venture which is not feasible for a poor country like Nepal.
More than that the model of federalism is the most controversial. Our political parties have not been able to resolve this issue. The Maoists and some ethnic and indigenous groups have demanded federalism on ethnic line whereas other parties have opposed it. This issue became more complicated when other groups mainly Brahmins, Chhetris, dalits (oppressed class) and some other groups, who constitute almost half of Nepal’s population, came heavily against the ethnicity-based federalism. They are of the view that ethnicity-based federalism disrupts the social and communal harmony which would ultimately led to communal tension and even split of the country. More dangerous is the demand of the single autonomous Madhes state with the right to self-determination behind which external hands are suspected.
Already skeptical about federalism, the protests against ethnicity-based federalism encouraged Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML to stand against the type of federal model the Maoists are demanding. Even the Maoists were also little bit discouraged because of the heavy protests of the Brahmin, Chhetris, dalits and others.  The Maoists feared political backlash. As a result, this controversy created the situation that the new constitution would stir hornets’ nest in Nepal. If federalism was accepted on ethnic line other groups would protest and reject the constitution and if the ethnic-based federalism was not accepted, indigenous people and different nationalities would have rejected it. The federalism issue became a thorny issue which would create more conflict in the society. The parties, thus, chose to shelve the entire constitution making process.
The failure of the constitution writing by the Constituent Assembly has definitely shocked everyone. This is a height of incompetence of the political parties, their leaders and the members of the Constituent Assembly. But there is a silver lining behind this failure as well. The failure has its positive aspect as it has prevented the country from sliding into another round of conflict in the name of federal model. Now this chapter has come to an end and a new chapter has begun. Election is a must to resolve the political issues and in the present political and constitutional vacuum, consensus of the major political force is a must. Political consensus and unity of the major parties alone can address the problem created by the political vacuum.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Arduous trek to democratic republic
Yuba Nath Lamsal
With the advent of 21st century, democracy has become a global lingua franca. In this modern and civilized era, there is no political alternative to democracy. Even a notorious dictators talk loud about democracy and democratic principles, although they may be ruling with iron fists denying the people with their civil and political rights which are the basic foundation of democracy. Democracy and civilization have, thus, become synonymous in the present world.
Democracy is a universally accepted political system in which people’s representatives govern for the interest of the people. This is why democracy is called a ‘government of the people, for the people and by the people’. The democratic government is the people’s government which governs on behalf of the people and takes care of the interest of the people. In other words, democracy is a people’s polity.
In every political ideology and philosophy, the word democracy has occupied special and important space. They talk of democracy, people’s rights and welfare. But rarely have such commitments been practically translated into action. This is not the case of any particular regime or country but this is a universal phenomenon. Democracy is not merely a word to extol but this is the system, culture and way of life that has to be translated into action and every-day life.
There is a variance in the definition of democracy across the world. The western definition of democracy varies from that of the oriental definition of democracy. Similarly, definition of democracy in the capitalist countries is different from that of the socialist and communist countries.  This difference is because of ideological and perceptional divergence mainly between the two dominant political ideologies in the contemporary world namely the capitalist philosophy and communist (Marxist) ideology.
Even in countries and societies with similar ideological orientation, there is clash of definition of democracy. Western capitalist democracy and values lay more emphasis on individual freedom and civil and political rights, whereas oriental democracy or eastern values accord more priority to community rights, social, economic and cultural rights. While individual liberty is the hallmark of western democracy, right to life that includes food, shelter and clothes and freedom from want occupy prominent place in oriental concept.
Similarly, the Marxists, socialists and communists, too, emphasize more on the right to life, right to education, right to employment and right to development than civil and political rights. Karl Marx is the founder of the philosophy that prophesizes ‘to each according to his/her needs and from each according to his/her ability’. This implies that each and every child has the right to education and other amenities required for healthy growth. An adult has the right to employment based on his/her qualification, skill and ability. The opportunity of employment enables a person to assert and exercise his/her basic rights.
The western capitalist countries and systems, too, borrowed the idea of right to employment after communist philosophy was put into practice in several countries of Europe and Asia. The concept of unemployment allowance was borrowed from the communist/socialist countries. In communism and socialism, there is no private property and all properties including land, farms and factories belong to the state. It is the responsibility of the state to provide employment to all its able citizens. In the capitalist system, state does not interfere in the economy and private property. Private sector plays key role in economy in capitalist country. Since the state cannot intervene in private property, factories and farms, the government cannot guarantee jobs to all its citizens. Instead, the government provides unemployment allowance to those who are out of job.
There are accusations and counter accusations between the capitalist and communist regimes regarding the definition of democracy. The capitalists call the communism as anti-democratic and authoritarian system in which people are denied with the right to participate in the political system and governance. According to capitalists, free and fair elections are the yardstick of people’s participation and freedom of political choice. People’s participation in the election also ensures popular participation in the governance. However, communists and socialists differ on this argument. They are of the view that election alone is not the metric of democracy and people’s participation in the governance. To ensure people’s participation in the governance, the people, according to the Marxists, need to be made able to duly participate in the political process, for which people need to be economically empowered and properly educated.  
While we are observing the Republic Day with both cheers and gloom, a great debate is going on in Nepal’s political and academic circle on many issues concerning constitution, federalism, model of governance, among others. The debate is not whether we should adopt or discard democracy. The debate is on what should be the suitable form of democracy in Nepal. Although the Constituent Assembly is dominated by communists with almost 62 per cent members belonging to different communist faction, there has been tentative agreement on the western capitalist type of democracy. Despite communists having majority in the Constituent Assembly, they are not demanding the communist type of system. However, they are divided whether the country should adopt the Westminster type of democracy which is in practice in the United Kingdom or presidential type which is in vogue in the United States of America.
We are currently in the process of completing the constitution writing, which would not only formalize and institutionalize the achievements of 2006 popular movement or Jana Andolan II. The most important achievement is the declaration of Nepal as a democratic republic. The monarchy was abolished and republican set up ushered in four years ago and we commemorate this day every year as the Republic Day. This day is important for all of us who long for democracy because republican system alone guarantees genuine democracy. It is in the republican set up alone people can become real masters of their own destiny. When the republic was declared, it ushered in a new era or people’s era in Nepal’s political history. Although we have democratic republic, our journey to total democracy is not complete. We are in the process of completing this task, which can be accomplished only when a new constitution written by the people’s representatives is promulgated. It is against this backdrop, all political parties, their leaders and all Nepalese people need to contribute seriously for completing the constitution writing and the peace process at the earliest. This should be the spirit of the commemorating the Republic Day 2012.

India's intention becomes clear


Yuba Nath Lamsal
Once again India’s ill intention towards Nepal has been exposed more clearly than ever before. Although India’s interference in our national politics and internal affairs has been a recurring phenomenon, which has not only hurt patriotic sentiment of the people of Nepal but also infuriated them. The Indian design and interference has come in a more open and brazen manner this time with a senior diplomat stationed in Indian Consulate office in Birgunj, about 200 kilometer south of Kathmandu bordering India’s Bihar state. SD Mehta, who is working in the political division of the Consulate office, openly told the leaders of some Madhes-based Nepali parties to start agitation against the federal model agreed upon among the major political parties including the Madeshi Front and press for a single Madhes state in the entire Terai.
What can be more shameless interference than this? Mehta’s remarks aimed at inciting violence and agitation in Terai with the objective of creating chaos, anarchy and instability in Nepal. The issue concerning federal model and the number of federal provinces is strictly an internal matter of Nepal to be decided by the Nepali parties and the Nepali people. Foreigners have no right to poke nose and meddle in this affair. Secondly, diplomats are required to strictly abide by international rules of diplomacy. But Mehta not only crossed the diplomatic boundary but also got involved in the act of inciting violence and disturbing communal harmony which is punishable by the laws of Nepal. 
Mehta’s remarks are, thus, totally objectionable and are also against the international norms of diplomacy, for which he must be immediately expelled from the country. Although the government of Nepal has lodged its complaint against what the Indian diplomat said it is not sufficient. The government of Nepal should have declared Mehta as persona non-grata and send him packing. Failure to do this is a weakness on the part of the government. Also the government of Nepal should have sought apology from the government of India for interfering in our internal affairs and violating international laws and norms.
Indian government has tried to cover up this and said that Mehta did not mean what the media have reported. In a press statement, Indian embassy said that Mehta’s remarks were misinterpreted and distorted.  These efforts of Indian government to cover up the misdemeanor of its staff imply that these are the view of the Indian government and Mehta spoke as per the instruction of the South Bloc. If it was not the view of the Indian Government, New Delhi should have initiated probe and punished the diplomat, who made the objectionable and undiplomatic statement. What would have the Indian government reacted and responded if similar remarks had been made on India by Nepali diplomat in New Delhi. Perhaps, the Indian government would have expelled him or her within 24 hours.
Nepal also should have taken up this issue both at the official as well as higher political level. However, Nepal failed to take up this issue strongly. Instead it lodged protest in a mild way as though this was a minor mistake. Failure to take action against SD Mehta is a weakness of the Nepal government.
This is a brazen attack on Nepal’s sovereignty and independence and also a direct interference in Nepal’s internal affairs, which must be condemned in the strongest words by all. Although some political parties have raised their concerns over this issue and sought clarification from New Delhi, their protests was also mere perfunctory. This has become more mysterious and the conspicuous by the utter silence of some parties on this issue.
Patriotic Nepalese people are always skeptical about the role of New Delhi in Nepal and its meddling in Nepal’s politics. The role New Delhi has been playing in Nepal and interfered in Nepal’s internal affairs right after the Sugauli treaty has been objectionable. Nepalese people are patriotic and they always resisted Indian interference and pressure. This is how Nepal preserved its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity both in principle and practice.  New Delhi often created its own agents and got them penetrated into political parties through whom India pursued and tried to implement its policies and programmes. This has become more visible in recent years. It is perceived and felt that India has penetrated into political parties, institutions and other sectors. As a result, Indian influence and penetration in Nepal so heavy that New Delhi has started interfering in each and every decision of the government.
The recent remarks of the Indian diplomat should also be linked with the genesis of the Madhes movement and their demand for a separate Madhes state. While Mdhesi people seek one single Madhes state in the entire Terai region, they want to split the rest of the country into about one dozen small provinces on the basis of ethnic identity. This makes it clear that the single Madhes state  that is being raised by some Madhes-based parties is not our agenda but is being raised at the behest of foreigners. This can be well substantiated by the remarks of S D Mehta and attempt of Indian government to cover up it instead of probing and taking against him. This is a design to tear apart Nepal into small provinces and also to incite tension and confrontation among these states, which would weaken Nepal’s strength.
One more thing must be noted here that the creation of Madhes-based parties, Madhes movement and one Madhes agenda is directly linked with India\'s long-term strategic design in Nepal. Until a few years ago, there was perfectly communal harmony in our country. But the communal seed was sown from Madhes during the Madhes movement. The Madhes-based parties were created after India’s Consulate office was established in Birgunj.
India had been pressing for permission to establish the Consulate office in Birgunj for a long time. Nepal knew the real intention of New Delhi and resisted it for years. But it was permitted under India’s pressure and perhaps with some under-table lucrative deal during the period of the government headed by Surya Bahadur Thapa in 1997.  Ever since the Indian Consulate office was established in Birgunj, political problem started in mid-Terai and other adjacent districts. It was during the period of five or six years, several Madhesi groups—some armed and some without arms— were created through which New Delhi tried to pursue its policy and interests in Nepal. The newly created Madhesi parties were aimed at weakening other mainstream parties, which had not totally capitulated to the Indian interests, although there has been strong and heavy penetration of India into these mainstream parties as well. Its consequence was visible in the Rautahat carnage in which several Maoist cadres, supporters and sympathizers were brutally killed. It did not end there and the design continues even today.
There are three main objectives of the creation of Madhes parties. The first one is to weaken the mainstream parties. Terai is traditionally a vote bank of the Nepali Congress. Although Nepali Congress is a pro-Indian party, it does not totally capitulate to India. Similar case may be with the CPN-UML. UML, too, has both pro-Indian section and patriotic force in it. But India does not fully trust the UML.  The relationship between the Maoists and New Delhi are also not smooth but have undergone many ups and down. It was definitely India’s support that helped broker a peace deal between the Maoists and Nepal’s seven parliamentary parties. India did so in the hope that the Maoists, which had been fighting a decade-long insurgency on the plank of patriotism, would come into New Delhi’s fold and would also support in settling Maoist insurgency within India as well. However, things did not go in accordance with India’s design and plan. The Maoists did not cave in to India’s pressure on several issues and raised the banner of patriotism when they went to power after emerging the largest force in the Constituent Assembly. Although the relations between the Maoists and India are in better place, there is still deficit of trust between them. Thus, India thought it necessary to create its own puppet forces so that New Delhi could always manipulate in Nepal’s politics. The Madhesi parties came in to serve this interest.
Now Madhesi parties are in government as well as on the streets. They have controlled over the government as well they are agitating on the streets. This is a design to control both the government and the street. This happened soon after SD Mehta urged the Madhesi leaders to launch violent agitation to press for a single Madhes state. This clearly tells who is controlling our parties especially the Madhes-based parties.
What SD Mehta spoke is as per the India’s long-term design in Nepal. The design is to initially bring Nepal under its security umbrella.  The second-phase plan is to take control of Nepal’s political power through their agents and puppets and the third one is to ultimately annex Nepal into the Indian Union. The first strategy is called the Fiji process as it is being successfully executed in the small Pacific island nation. In Fiji people of Indian origin are in quite a good number. Indians went to Fiji in search of work and in course of time they settled their and obtained citizenship of Fiji. Now they are being instigated to take over political power for which New Delhi has provided material and moral support. What India has been exercising in Nepal at present is exactly the same as it has done in Fiji. The second strategy is Bhutanization, which seeks to take control of Nepal’s security and foreign policy and treat Nepal as its suzerain state.  And third strategy is called Sikkimization, which includes the design to annex Nepal into Indian union in a similar fashion New Delhi did in 1975. All these designs are at work simultaneously.
But these designs are not likely to succeed as Nepalese people are patriotic and get united when its sovereignty and territorial integrity comes under real threat. But one thing all of us must understand is that whatever S D Mehta said was not his personal view and he did it in conscious manner  under clear instruction and long-term plan of India. At this crucial moment all political parties and patriotic people must be united and condemn India’s ill-intention in the strongest manner.

Friday, May 25, 2012

India factor in Nepal politics
Yuba Nath Lamsal
It is said that politics is the game of possibilities. All possible alternatives are sought in politics, and sometime politicians even make adventures to find something out of the impossible. An attempt to seek something from the impossible is called a political misadventure and risky gamble, which, in most cases, is avoided because it is often anti-current and against the prevailing sentiment of the mass. But such misadventures and risky steps may be necessary at certain critical periods. Most politicians and leaders do not normally choose to take such a risky step for they do not want to lose their vote bank and endanger their political career. But some take such risky steps by even putting their political career at stake. They do it for the overall interest of the country and the people. Test of leaders In normal circumstances, everything goes in a normal way, in which politicians float in accordance with the wave of the times and popular sentiment. This is the general nature of politicians and political parties. At normal times and in normal circumstances, politicians are never tested and tried. The real test of politicians comes only at the time of a crisis. Most politicians often try to take personal and partisan advantage out of a crisis. But statesmen never do so at the expense of broader national interest. Statesmen rise above their partisan interest and put the country and the national interest above the party and politics. That is the reason why statesmen are revered whereas politicians are often criticised and at times hated. This is the primary difference between politicians and statesmen. Nepal is currently in its worst political crisis and deadlock. The country is caught in a cobweb of political complexities and uncertainty. Given the present situation, no immediate and tangible solution seems to be in sight. Nobody knows what course our politics will take. Even political pundits and analysts are unable to predict what exactly will happen. Everyday, newer developments take place that make things more uncertain and confused. This situation has arisen because the country produced a bunch of leaders and politicians but not a statesman. Now the parties and leaders are busy in the blame game. They are passing the buck of responsibility and blame onto others for the present sorry state of Nepal. As a matter of fact, all parties, big or small, are responsible for the present situation. But their share varies on the basis of the size and strength of the party. The bigger the party, the bigger its share in the country’s political crisis. But no party is prepared to accept the blame. We have parties of different hues, ideology, political orientation and background. We have rightist parties, centrist parties and leftist parties. There are feudal forces, landlords and bourgeoisies. We have parties and people that advocate capitalism, comprador capitalism and bureaucratic capitalism. Communists and socialists are also in abundance. We have progressive, nationalist, rationalist and patriotic forces. We have regionalist forces, too. And we have both racists and rationalists as well. In such a small country, we have all kinds of parties and political beliefs, and they are practicing and functioning without any kind of restriction and hindrance. There is great political diversity and pluralism for which we Nepalese must be proud of. Despite the diversity and political differences, all groups, belonging to different political hues and faiths, are living together, co-existing, cooperating and collaborating. But some efforts are being made from certain quarters to disrupt this age-old social and cultural harmony. The issue concerning the ethnic, lingual and cultural rights and freedom is, no doubt, genuine. We have already accepted Nepal as a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-cultural country, which the interim constitution has fully guaranteed. Constitutionally, all languages and cultures being spoken and practiced by all the ethnic communities are to be treated and developed equally. But some sinister attempts are being made from certain quarters to politicise the ethnic, cultural and lingual issues and divide the society. There is no shade of doubt that the people hitherto oppressed, excluded, secluded and exploited must get opportunities in the new set up, for which a special constitutional guarantee must be made. We have accepted federalism which has already been incorporated in the interim constitution. All parties, except a couple of fringe ones, are committed to the federal set up. Despite the national commitment, there are differences on the federal model and the number of federal provinces. Fierce debate is going on in the country on the issue concerning the federal model. The debate is mainly whether the country is to be federated on identity basis or viability. Those who are pressing for identity-based federal provinces have focused mainly on ethnicity as the sole basis of creating the federal provinces. The others are pushing for viability as the basis for the federal states. They are of the view that ethnicity is not the sole identity of the people, the real identity is geography, national heritage, resources and culture. This perceptional difference has created a gridlock in Nepal’s political and constitution making process. This issue must be settled at the earliest on the basis of consensus among at least the four major political forces. The parties are, of course, to be blamed for the current political deadlock. But the top leadership of all parties is particularly responsible for the failure to find an amicable solution to the problem and navigate the country to a safer and more peaceful and prosperous condition. The main problem behind the present political stalemate is the deficit of trust among the parties. We have accepted the multi-party political system. Accepting multi-party democracy means accepting the existence and role of the different political parties and interest groups. We should, therefore, also accept the existence of political groups with different ideologies, and their role and activities. Based on their programmes, policies and performance, parties are established among the people. But each and every party or group claims to be the genuine and sole representative of the people and designates the other as the enemy of the people. Just look at the analysis of the political parties about the other forces. The largest political force - UCPN-Maoist - has designated the Nepali Congress as a rightist and reactionary party that works in the interest of feudals, landlords and the capitalist class and grossly ignores the interests and rights of the working class people, including workers and peasants. In the eyes of the Maoists, the CPN-UML is a revisionist and rightist party whereas the Madhesi parties are a sectarian force. In the same manner, the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML dub the Maoists as an ultra communist and authoritarian party that has no faith in democracy but wants to establish an one-party communist regime in Nepal. Thus, the parties have perceptional differences on each and every issue, and they suspect one another in every political move. As a result, a handful of senior leaders of the major four political forces are trying to settle issues grossly ignoring the popularly elected forum of the Constituent Assembly. Some of the leaders, who are involved in settling the constitutional issues outside the Constituent Assembly, are the ones who were rejected by the people during the election. Since they were rejected by the people for the constitution-making process, what moral, political and legal authority do they have to discuss in the dark room on the constitutional issues? It seems the leadership of the major political parties has no faith in the legitimate procedures but is trying to make the Constituent Assembly their rubber stamp to endorse their decision made outside. This practice is not only undemocratic but also a great insult to the people who elected their representatives to write the new constitution. Here lies the fundamental problem. Legitimate body The issue of the new constitution must be resolved through debate and discussion among the members of the Constituent Assembly. If consensus is to be sought on constitutional issues, it must be done in the Constituent Assembly. There should not be any attempt to make decisions on constitutional issues outside the Constituent Assembly. All issues now must be openly discussed in the Constituent Assembly which is competent enough to find an amicable solution and come up with a new constitution.
Constituent Assembly becoming rubber stamps of leaders


Yuba Nath Lamsal
Once again India’s ill intention towards Nepal has been exposed more clearly than ever before. Although India’s interference in our national politics and internal affairs has been a recurring phenomenon, which has not only hurt patriotic sentiment of the people of Nepal but also infuriated them. The Indian design and interference has come in a more open and brazen manner this time with a senior diplomat stationed in Indian Consulate office in Birgunj, about 200 kilometer south of Kathmandu bordering India’s Bihar state. SD Mehta, who is working in the political division of the Consulate office, openly told the leaders of some Madhes-based Nepali parties to start agitation against the federal model agreed upon among the major political parties including the Madeshi Front and press for a single Madhes state in the entire Terai.
What can be more shameless interference than this? Mehta’s remarks aimed at inciting violence and agitation in Terai with the objective of creating chaos, anarchy and instability in Nepal. The issue concerning federal model and the number of federal provinces is strictly an internal matter of Nepal to be decided by the Nepali parties and the Nepali people. Foreigners have no right to poke nose and meddle in this affair. Secondly, diplomats are required to strictly abide by international rules of diplomacy. But Mehta not only crossed the diplomatic boundary but also got involved in the act of inciting violence and disturbing communal harmony which is punishable by the laws of Nepal. 
Mehta’s remarks are, thus, totally objectionable and are also against the international norms of diplomacy, for which he must be immediately expelled from the country. Although the government of Nepal has lodged its complaint against what the Indian diplomat said it is not sufficient. The government of Nepal should have declared Mehta as persona non-grata and send him packing. Failure to do this is a weakness on the part of the government. Also the government of Nepal should have sought apology from the government of India for interfering in our internal affairs and violating international laws and norms.
Indian government has tried to cover up this and said that Mehta did not mean what the media have reported. In a press statement, Indian embassy said that Mehta’s remarks were misinterpreted and distorted.  These efforts of Indian government to cover up the misdemeanor of its staff imply that these are the view of the Indian government and Mehta spoke as per the instruction of the South Bloc. If it was not the view of the Indian Government, New Delhi should have initiated probe and punished the diplomat, who made the objectionable and undiplomatic statement. What would have the Indian government reacted and responded if similar remarks had been made on India by Nepali diplomat in New Delhi. Perhaps, the Indian government would have expelled him or her within 24 hours.
Nepal also should have taken up this issue both at the official as well as higher political level. However, Nepal failed to take up this issue strongly. Instead it lodged protest in a mild way as though this was a minor mistake. Failure to take action against SD Mehta is a weakness of the Nepal government.
This is a brazen attack on Nepal’s sovereignty and independence and also a direct interference in Nepal’s internal affairs, which must be condemned in the strongest words by all. Although some political parties have raised their concerns over this issue and sought clarification from New Delhi, their protests was also mere perfunctory. This has become more mysterious and the conspicuous by the utter silence of some parties on this issue.
Patriotic Nepalese people are always skeptical about the role of New Delhi in Nepal and its meddling in Nepal’s politics. The role New Delhi has been playing in Nepal and interfered in Nepal’s internal affairs right after the Sugauli treaty has been objectionable. Nepalese people are patriotic and they always resisted Indian interference and pressure. This is how Nepal preserved its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity both in principle and practice.  New Delhi often created its own agents and got them penetrated into political parties through whom India pursued and tried to implement its policies and programmes. This has become more visible in recent years. It is perceived and felt that India has penetrated into political parties, institutions and other sectors. As a result, Indian influence and penetration in Nepal so heavy that New Delhi has started interfering in each and every decision of the government.
The recent remarks of the Indian diplomat should also be linked with the genesis of the Madhes movement and their demand for a separate Madhes state. While Mdhesi people seek one single Madhes state in the entire Terai region, they want to split the rest of the country into about one dozen small provinces on the basis of ethnic identity. This makes it clear that the single Madhes state  that is being raised by some Madhes-based parties is not our agenda but is being raised at the behest of foreigners. This can be well substantiated by the remarks of S D Mehta and attempt of Indian government to cover up it instead of probing and taking against him. This is a design to tear apart Nepal into small provinces and also to incite tension and confrontation among these states, which would weaken Nepal’s strength.
One more thing must be noted here that the creation of Madhes-based parties, Madhes movement and one Madhes agenda is directly linked with India\'s long-term strategic design in Nepal. Until a few years ago, there was perfectly communal harmony in our country. But the communal seed was sown from Madhes during the Madhes movement. The Madhes-based parties were created after India’s Consulate office was established in Birgunj.
India had been pressing for permission to establish the Consulate office in Birgunj for a long time. Nepal knew the real intention of New Delhi and resisted it for years. But it was permitted under India’s pressure and perhaps with some under-table lucrative deal during the period of the government headed by Surya Bahadur Thapa in 1997.  Ever since the Indian Consulate office was established in Birgunj, political problem started in mid-Terai and other adjacent districts. It was during the period of five or six years, several Madhesi groups—some armed and some without arms— were created through which New Delhi tried to pursue its policy and interests in Nepal. The newly created Madhesi parties were aimed at weakening other mainstream parties, which had not totally capitulated to the Indian interests, although there has been strong and heavy penetration of India into these mainstream parties as well. Its consequence was visible in the Rautahat carnage in which several Maoist cadres, supporters and sympathizers were brutally killed. It did not end there and the design continues even today.
There are three main objectives of the creation of Madhes parties. The first one is to weaken the mainstream parties. Terai is traditionally a vote bank of the Nepali Congress. Although Nepali Congress is a pro-Indian party, it does not totally capitulate to India. Similar case may be with the CPN-UML. UML, too, has both pro-Indian section and patriotic force in it. But India does not fully trust the UML.  The relationship between the Maoists and New Delhi are also not smooth but have undergone many ups and down. It was definitely India’s support that helped broker a peace deal between the Maoists and Nepal’s seven parliamentary parties. India did so in the hope that the Maoists, which had been fighting a decade-long insurgency on the plank of patriotism, would come into New Delhi’s fold and would also support in settling Maoist insurgency within India as well. However, things did not go in accordance with India’s design and plan. The Maoists did not cave in to India’s pressure on several issues and raised the banner of patriotism when they went to power after emerging the largest force in the Constituent Assembly. Although the relations between the Maoists and India are in better place, there is still deficit of trust between them. Thus, India thought it necessary to create its own puppet forces so that New Delhi could always manipulate in Nepal’s politics. The Madhesi parties came in to serve this interest.
Now Madhesi parties are in government as well as on the streets. They have controlled over the government as well they are agitating on the streets. This is a design to control both the government and the street. This happened soon after SD Mehta urged the Madhesi leaders to launch violent agitation to press for a single Madhes state. This clearly tells who is controlling our parties especially the Madhes-based parties.
What SD Mehta spoke is as per the India’s long-term design in Nepal. The design is to initially bring Nepal under its security umbrella.  The second-phase plan is to take control of Nepal’s political power through their agents and puppets and the third one is to ultimately annex Nepal into the Indian Union. The first strategy is called the Fiji process as it is being successfully executed in the small Pacific island nation. In Fiji people of Indian origin are in quite a good number. Indians went to Fiji in search of work and in course of time they settled their and obtained citizenship of Fiji. Now they are being instigated to take over political power for which New Delhi has provided material and moral support. What India has been exercising in Nepal at present is exactly the same as it has done in Fiji. The second strategy is Bhutanization, which seeks to take control of Nepal’s security and foreign policy and treat Nepal as its suzerain state.  And third strategy is called Sikkimization, which includes the design to annex Nepal into Indian union in a similar fashion New Delhi did in 1975. All these designs are at work simultaneously.
But these designs are not likely to succeed as Nepalese people are patriotic and get united when its sovereignty and territorial integrity comes under real threat. But one thing all of us must understand is that whatever S D Mehta said was not his personal view and he did it in conscious manner  under clear instruction and long-term plan of India. At this crucial moment all political parties and patriotic people must be united and condemn India’s ill-intention in the strongest manner.