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Spice of Life

By P. Kharel

Failed team
Convener of a government appointed team Som Prasad Pandey on December 27 indirectly admitted failure to bring the dozens of underground groups who refuse to join the national political mainstream and threaten to resort to militant tactics. The panel comes with an amusing conclusion that all but NetraBikram Chand ‘Biplab’s group is driven by ideology and with acknowledgeable presence. It rated others as fringe groups. Did the government have to form the probe panel, if its verdict were to be such dismissive? After all, security agencies could have furnished reports at extensive length to the government. In any case, Biplab rebuffed the government’s call for talks. And Pandey confessed that Biplab communists took the opportunity to only “using us”, though it has not elaborated how the underground communists “used” the government-appointed panel.
Now what have the security agencies to say, considering that army officials have been more than hinting of concerns over law and order situation? Hardly had the Pandey panel closed its files than the youth wing of Mohan Baidya’s Nepal Communist Party (Revolutionary Maoist) barged into the office of trooped to the Nepal Airlines’ headquarters and smeared the face of its general manager SugatRatnaKansakar in what was said to be in connection with the corruption charges involving Rs 4 billion bribes in the purchase of the national flag carrier’s latest wide-body aircraft. Around the same time, police arrested a worker of the Biplab group, reportedly on charges of having “extorted” Rs 10 million, mostly from traders.
The former Maoists, who wielded guns and bombs during their decade-long war against the State and are now “united” under the NCP banner, must be recalling their own tactics and abuses that resulted in the deaths of 17,000 persons lost their lives.

Shashank’s candid admission
In an interview to Nagarik broadcast team the other day, Nepali Congress General-Secretary ShashankKoirala confessed to having spent Rs 80,000 in his first election campaign in his constituency. In the second elections, the expenditure rose to Rs 20 million and the 2017 general elections saw the expenditures swell to Rs 50 million!
Aside from where and how did Nepal’s first elected Prime Minister BP Koirala’s son acquire such staggering amounts, it raises the issue of spending in excess of what ceiling prescribed by the election code? Election Commission, are you listening? And Chief Election Commissioner AyodheeParasadYadav expects to be “rewarded” by the Maoist faction in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) for, according to his self-assessment orally filed to Pushpa Kamal Dahal, a “work well done” in terms of holding the local, provincial and general elections, “despite daunting challenges”.
That there were pressing charges of misappropriation of state funds at the Election Commission is another issue that is accorded no priority. If and when investigations are made, Yadav’s team should not be singled out. All its predecessors, too, should come under thre scanner.

Mao abandoned?
Nepal Communist Party, with mandatory initials within brackets, according to long-time communist ChitraBahadur KC, is no communist party. NCP’s twin chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal put his foot in the mouth in ridiculing pro-monarchists when he compared them to those hankering after the reinstallation of the czar in the now-defunct Soviet Union. The last Russian Czar and his entire family, including women and children, were massacred on the orders of Lenin who has supporters within Nepal’s NCP as well.
Apparently, alluding to the former king dancing at private dinner party, Dahal said “dancing” wouldn’t fulfil any desire for reinstalling monarchy. A UML youth leader in NCP was overheard saying, “Daha, too, did not acquire anything of import when he danced with Nepali screen heroine RekhaThapa, his one-time confessed favourite.”
In any case, this should not surprise most people, considering that NCP overstretches itself so strenuously to retain the “Communist” tag as if it were a question of ideological life and death. But the same party leaders are reported to have dropped the word “Communist” from their political document submitted to their Central Committee meeting in December.

Parched promise
In the last week of December, Minister BinaBudathoki, who is responsible for also drinking water supply, dropped the practice of publicly scheduling when exactly would the long-awaited Melamchi water might finally find its pipe-way to the capital city which has been awaiting it for more than 25 years. Budathoki said so in the last week of December in a U-turn from the time Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s father-in-law earlier said at the time of being inducted into the cabinet headed by the other twin chair Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli last year.
Picking the 29-year-old baton of Melamchi promise, handed down from government and after government of various political hues, Budathoki promised the much-sought-after piped water by October, coinciding with the country’s most celebrated festival. With the passage of time, it became loud and clear that the promise, as has been the case with numerous other pledges, would not be kept. And it did not.
Her prematurely planned stunt to claim “success”, only to be caught on the wrong foot, was a miscalculation that it embarrassed her heavily. She now seems to make any specific announcement in this front without ascertaining Melamchi’s effective progress rate for the piped water to flow from taps in the capital.

Without comment
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice and, currently, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Anup Raj Sharma, quoted in Annapurna Post: “If the army is for the State, why did it stand as a bystander during the armed conflict?”

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