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A spectacle worth seeing

By Maila Baje
MB-Nepal Politics-BlogIf you are still struggling to recover from the sheer suddenness of the leftist alliance forged over Dasain, the spectacle across the political spectrum since should help to cheer you up.
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has advised the Nepali Congress to return to the doctrine of B.P. Koirala, instead of hyping the threat posed by the united reds. (Does that include B.P.’s Two Necks in a Noose theory, too, Comrade?)
Media personality Komal Oli, who ditched the right-wing Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) to join the Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML), ended up filing as an independent candidate in a Dang constituency.
Although Oli withdrew her nomination in favor of the official leftist alliance, it was only after weighing her chances with Khum Bahadur Khadka of the Nepali Congress. Khadka, we are told, opposes the official Nepali Congress candidate. And the official UML candidate – representing the leftist alliance – is a former RPP man. (If Oli was reluctant to take on together the establishments of the two principal political formations, can you really blame her?)
In Chitwan, Devi Gyawali, the UML candidate for mayor who succumbed to Dahal’s daughter, Renu, in Bharatpur’s mayoral election, after having created a near-constitutional crisis over torn ballots, has decided to support Dahal’s campaign in the district. The RPP (Democratic)’s Bikram Pandey announced with much fanfare that he would challenge the Maoist chairman. But Pandey has since lost his party’s district president, who defected to the Maoist Centre.
The RPP-Nepal is still in the Nepali Congress-led alliance except in Jhapa-3 where Rajendra Lingden has garnered the support of the leftist front. In the end, Krishna Prasad Sitaula had to be given the Nepali Congress ticket there because he felt the easier proportional-representation route to parliament was a putdown. And speaking of the PR list, Ganga Chaudhary Satgauwa is on the lists of both the UML and Naya Shakti.
Nepali Congress leader Govinda Raj Joshi probably does not have enough time to make much of a dent after the Election Commission annulled his candidacy as an independent. But he will surely try to sabotage party vice-chairman Ram Chandra Poudel, the official Nepali Congress candidate. That race merits watching, especially considering that Joshi’s heft often helped Poudel win elections in the past.
Too many things are happening at the same time on the Madhesi front. But if there is one question you can ask, it is this: did the country have to undergo such a massive regionalization of national politics to regroup districts the panchas had already organized into five subregions into paltry seven?
Granted, the provincial and local structures are yet to prove their worth and the pitfalls identified therein might turn out to be no more than minor inconveniences. But did we have to see the divisions in that part of the country in all their rawness for an extra two subregions? Maybe we did. Without the Madhesi and janjati movements, after all, federalism might still have been an aspirational attribute in our midst.
If all this could serve to clarify Nepal’s newness even a shade or two more, the spectacle will certainly have been worth seeing.

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