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Spice of Life

By P. Kharel

Dry Smile
Feeding on situational jokes and rustic parables, Prime Minister K.P. Oli returns from his visit to China which can be summed up thus: He went; he met; and he returns without any subtance. Oli knew the visit’s fate, even if his minions might have been in the dark. The trip marks a formality set in motion by the ground reality of compulsion in the neighbourhood.
However, a battalion of ambassadorial hopefuls, along with other “progressive intellectuals” were heard fluttering around to anyone close to the Oli faction to hail the significance of the prime minister’s Beijing visit. Given their past practices, members of this lot, typically, are unlikely to show such enthusaism in giving full marks to their political deity when faced with Indian Embassy officials at the capital’s cocktail circuit. Sycophancy runs riot.
But the Maoist faction’s intellectuals affiliated with Nepal Communist Party (NCP) have not been making much comment on the trip. They do not want Oli to hog much limelight lest their own leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal be sidelined. Nor do they want to be seen as less than “positive”. After all, Oli shares the chair as party boss with Dahal!

United in division!
Unification notwithstanding, the CPN (UML) and Maoist Center factions in Nepal Communist Party (NCP) are yet to embrace each other with the warmth and rapport that a consolidated organization would expect. Maoists are hesitant to call on UML leaders for suggestions or queries with any enthusaism just as UML cadres are yet adjust themselves to the fact that the former Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal is now NCP’s co-president sharing chair with K.P. Oli.
Clearly, technical unification does not automatically generate the meeting of minds. How long this will last is anyone’s guess. Tongues are already wagging that the shaky start could create more problems. In other words, inherent faction-fighting will last long. In any case, this will not be anything new to the Nepalese political landscape. Nepali Congress suffers from it; so do the various stripes of RPP Madhes-based groups like RJP and Federal Socialist Forum Nepal. And party members are subjected to the caprices of individual leaders.

Residential evil
“It’s a bad day,” was scribbled on the wall of the government building that former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav of Uttar Pradesh in India earlier had refused to vacate until the supreme court ordered him vacate or face eviction. Expensive items belonging to the state government were reported missing as the forlorn members of Yadav whose arrogance got busted in last year’s state assembly polls by the Bharatiya Janata Party that installed Yogi Aditya Nath as the chief minister.
Leaving a state-owned residence is a difficult proposition for those who excessively love power and never think of the day they might have to take leave of it. In Nepal, too, such excessive show of displeasure and anger is recorded since the Panchayat days through the democratic years to the present “loktantrik” period.
Repeaters among ministers get to book early the building of their choice, before they take their oath of office. Experience in this at least is underscored while others are left running from pillar to post to rent a place within the budget offered by the state. A few are fortunate to have their own residence with adequate facilities to be satisfied with what the government offers for “frunishing and renovation” expenses.
Seven years as the chief resident at Shital Niwas, Ram Baran Yadav used to give the impression of returning to his family home in Janakpur. He no longer does; instead, he complains of inadequate rental expenses and belated release of the financial allocation he is privileged to as a retired president. His Samdhini Bidya Devi Bhandari will have to face a similar situation unless she reconciles to her Koteshwar residence. But then she has five years to think, plan and move. She has observed her own mother’s fate, though.

Unwanted hug
“Unwanted hug” can mean anything from a gesture to embarrassment, harassment and such other sensitivities. Some gender specialists used to plant light kisses, or pecks, on some INGO bosses from abroad. They never found any Nepali worth such a peck, though. But then that can happen and did happen—at least not in public.
When US President Bill Clinton’s sex affairs in the White House with Democratic Party novice and volunteer Monica Lewinsky splashed all over the new media, his lawyer wife Hillary chose to defend and side with him. Some people attributed her stand to her political ambitions; others were in praise of her magnanimity. In Nepal, poetry competion was organized in praise of the American First Lady. Eventually, she obtained the Democartic Party ticket even if she lost to Donald Trump in the last lap to the White House in November 2016.

Without comment
Writer Khagendra Sangraula: “By the time we arrive at Prime Minister [KP] Oli, there is an unpleasant feeling that that a cap-wearing monarch has dawned.”

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