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Two Thirds!!!

editNepali Communists had questionable credentials by time of the 1980 referendum (Maaley, Masaaley and Mandaleys are all the same according to Girija Koirala) ranged as they were from the right (Keshar Jung Raimajhi) to extreme Naxalites. By time of the people’s movement for the restoration of multi Party democracy they emerged as partners to the Nepali Congress while King Birendra grappled with the Indian blockade as the Rashtriya Panchayat squabbled in a triangular tussle among the Marichman, Lokendra Chand and Surya Bahadur Thapa factions. The Congress role at point of the movement could not mask the Left’s emerging strength which altered the movement for democratic reforms to outright replacement of the panchayat with a multi party system. Radha Krishna Mainali’s memoir chronicles the communist role in the change in the Nineties. Madan Bhandary emerged brilliantly from the unification of the left which for the next decade saw it as the largest opposition, as minority government and as partners to the Congress. Bhandary’s mysterious road accident may have removed a nationalist luminary from its apex but Manmohan Adhikary’s prime ministerial role did give the communists some nationalist luster and allowed its radicalism to recede. The fringe left, removed from the mainstream through Girija Koirala’s midterm polls, emerged as the radical communists through armed insurrection led by the Maoists in that decade. It was Girija Koirala (having failed to suppress the violent movement violently) who ultimately brought them aboard parliament through the Delhi accord and legitimized the radicalism after the second ‘Janaandolan’. The focus on the radical left partnering the conservative Congress threw the moderate CPN/UML in the shadows until the second elections to the constituent assembly sent the Maoists to a dwindling minority. The UML gained heavily at all levels of the first general elections under the new constitution and the Maoists effectively dragged itself to number two relegating the Congress to third position. The promise of a united communist party may yet be away from uniting the other fringes but the potency of the UML-Maoist combine can no longer be dismissed. It has, among other things, also added to government the Tarai parties effectively delivering Prime Minister K.P. Oli the much coveted two thirds votes in the legislature.
The presence of Nepali communism in the body politic is no longer. As the Congress was most adept at saying, the Monarchy’s creation. Indeed, contrarily, since its very amalgamation, it contributed to the demise of the Nepali monarchy and constitutionalism by summarily scrapping the 1990 constitution and imposing the current system with skilful manipulation of votes that has already shifted the onus for political leadership and change from the elected institutions to a monopoly of organized leaders that used both the  constituent assembly and the currently elected parliament to rubber stamp its decisions from the constitution to its implementation. The Nepali presidency and the legislature plus government and almost all local level governments are communists and other branches of government have been effectively compromised in favor of the communists. And now, even the tarai parties who were at loggerheads until recently with the UML have been brought in to share government, effectively giving the communists its much vaunted two third majority. Questions regarding the need for the two thirds thus become key. What amendments are targeted in an amendment prone constitution to serve the communists who have been saying that parliament is dog’s meat peddled as mutton. Is it just to accommodate their previous demands for directly elected prime minister or president or to satiate the tarai demands for constitutional adjustment? Or is there more in this game of constitutional perversions, the Left having already been accepted as part of the charade which has been the result of extra-national manipulations that mask as democracy in the country?

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