Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Years News and Nothings

A new flag to go with our new Constitution

We do this from time to time. Blogdai likes to mop up stray thoughts that don't seem to fit into a proper column anywhere. Lots of debate fuel, nonetheless. -=BD

----150 days and counting until the Constituent Assembly Elections officially do not occur.

----Thanks Girija for covering your ass at our expense. Giving a weak, token objection to the new constitution's provision for absolute PM power and then passing the damn thing through anyway tells us a lot. It tells us you know its wrong but you'd rather have the power.

----Gotta love Bangladesh president Iajuddin Ahmed. In a very Nepal-like gesture, he suspends elections indefinitely yet decided to stay in power. Now he has finally been removed, but, nonetheless, there seems to be an uncanny aversion to democratic elections in all of India's satellite states (oops!) these days. No wonder, free elections lead to independent thought and governance--can't have that now, can we India?

----Anyone wonder just what power this alleged Constituent Assembly will have now? It has never been mentioned, in light of this new interim constitution, just exactly how much power the CA can wield. Will they provide an actual check and balance mechanism? Since they are not party members, they will have no lawmaking authority whatsoever according to Girija's new constitution. Hmmm....

----Home minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula seems idealy positioned to take over after Girija croaks. He's nasty. He hasn't a clue about democratic ideals, and he blends well with Maoist absolutisms. So, Sujata will make a brief run, but blogdai thinks Sitaula will be the new man-- provided the Maoists don't just cancel the whole process and install their own government.

----It's been eerily quiet here at blogdai on the screaming-little-boy-idealist front. Haven't heard a peep from them in months. It must be tough waking up from your little Jana Andolan bender only to get yourselves arrested by protesting in front of Girija's house.

----Come to think of it, where are those loud-mouthed "restore press freedom" canaries now that the Maoists have threatened to silence the press if they go against the party line? I guess it's ok for the Maoists to beat the crap out of you when you try to enter their meeting; at least it's not mean old King G., right? No surprise, since Kantipur is loyal to Girija, that the press is silent on such issues.

----Oh thank the heavens for girija's wisdom. He says that the only way to solve the Mahdesi problem is through dialogue. Funny, all the Mahdesi are doing is following Girija's brand of jana andolan "dialogue" by taking to the streets. You create the culture of riots, babu, be prepared to govern with them as well.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Gllimmer of Hope....Dashed

Blogdai almost chewed on the predictions made last year. Almost.

Prachanda sporting his new "People's crown" for use in the near future

We read today that Prachanda is dissolving all his "People's" army units and administrative centers in the villages and cooperating with full force to "Make the Constituent Assembly elections a success.."

Blogdai was heartened, encouraged and ready to eat crow at this pronouncement. Could Prachanda really have thrown in the towel? Was my long-standing suspicion that Prachanda was playing tough-guy only so that Girija would take him seriously as a political force confirmed? If so, I was ready to slam Girija, yet again, for his marginalizing of any political force that was not in his inner, corrupt circle of greed. Lives were lost, I would have written, because of Girija's obstinance and its resultant Maoist violence. It could have all been solved by just acknowledging a fledgling Maoist movement years ago and inviting them to the parliamentary pig-trough.

Couple Prachanda's announcement with the actual, official recognition of the CPM-Maoist party as part of the new constitution; and the fact that Ian Martin might just have stumbled into doing something useful by documenting the names of each Maoist. (Forget arms cantonments--they are a ridiculous shell-game) and things were starting to look pretty good in the eyes of cynical ol' blogdai.

BUT.... hang on, there. As I eagerly read through the article I found that "The Fierce One" is only re-configuring the same old Maoist party line he's always spouted. When asked if his new concession means that he'll be joining the government and acting like a good boy, Prachanda replies--in what could only be described as a frighteningly comical contradiction--with:

"We want to reach the ultimate aim of communist system based on Marxism, Leninism and Maoism," he told BBC Nepali service, adding that the democratic republic system and people's democratic system will lead to that final aim. "

He hasn't budged. When will we learn that he never will. Characterizing democracy as a precursor to a Communist government is pure madness.

Prachanda is playing us all like a cheap Thamel saranghi. Now that his party's name appears in the interim "constitution," he can work to take over the government from the inside. He's still got his guns if he needs them. Locked-up means nothing if Ian gives you the key!

And oh, yes, the forward-thinking Prachanda cannot contain his joy at his future prospects. He states that "in case of his party coming to power, he would not live in any 'palace' ".


Monday, January 15, 2007

"Interim" Anarchy

Time for a little reality after the major Western media outlets like Bloomberg and the Washington Post trumpet the Maoists giving up arms and joining the parliament. What a sad joke this is. The lazy Western media has never once waivered from their "we don't care what happens in Nepal, as long as they call it democracy" stance. Blogdai is sick of it. So, I've reprinted a very fine analysis of Nepal's interim constitution from one of the managing editors of "The Spotlight," Keshab Poudel. Look for blogdai's blue comments in places where I just can't keep my mouth shut. -=BD

Dictatorship of Eight Parties?

The interim constitution is definite to pave the way for the dictatorship of eight parties denying the basic rights of citizens to share power

By Keshab Poudel

Despite the glaring lacunae in the draft of interim constitution, the leaders of eight political parties have agreed to promulgate it on January 15 undermining the concerns expressed by lawyers, judges and other members of civil society and ethnic groups.

A summit meeting of top leaders of eight political parties on January 8, 2007 at prime minister’s residence in Baluwatar unanimously fixed the date for announcement of new constitution.

According to the agreement, the draft will be presented in the House of Representatives on January 15 and it will be promulgated after brief discussion. The same day interim parliament will be formed and it will endorse the interim constitution. (right, no consultations, no checks and balances; how autocratic King Girija)

“After the promulgation of this interim constitution, I as a citizen of this country cannot be a member of parliament, if I don’t belong to the SPA+Maoists alliance party. As I cannot be the member of parliament, I cannot be in government too. They have gracefully provided me an opportunity to cast my vote for the elections of the members of Constituent Assembly,” said a political analyst. (which will never happen, and if it does it will be kept separate and away from the reins of power--an ineffective and token body)

Seven parties plus Maoist have changed the popular word democracy to Loktantra and by that they say they are going to build a new Nepal . As morning shows the day, on the auspices of eight party alliance, one can easily guess how the elections for the Constituent Assembly would be held and what would be the results coming out of it.

Objectionable Parts

There are many objectionable things in it. Most unprincipled and unwise article is related to the eligibility of a citizen to share power. A person who does not belong to any of the eight parties will have no right to be the member of parliament as well as in the government.

“Most objectionable part in the present draft is that people have been deprived to be the members of parliament as well as to be in the government if they don’t belong to any of the eight party alliance constituents,” said the analyst. “The previous constitution of 1990 had made the common people sovereign with power as well as dignity too. The present draft has created two categories of citizens - one who belong to eight parties alliance are to make laws to govern and rest of the population are supposed to put them into power by casting their votes and abiding by their laws and pay taxes.”

Former prime minister Surya Bahadur Thapa, who was popularly elected for several times in parliament, now will not have a seat in the parliament in case eight parties find his role is ‘against Loktantric Andolan.’ “Compared to that, the present constitution of 1990 gives opportunity to every Nepali to be the member of parliament as well as run the government without any discretion of the political faith and alliance,” said the analyst. (sounds a bit like old Soviet Russia. Thanks Prachanda! It's clear Girija has sold the Nepali soul to the communist ideal)

Similarly, Pashupati Sumsher Rana’s RPP, too, will have similar fate though they have nationwide party organizations and had opposed the Royal take over. Thapa and Rana will have to prove their faith and commitment in front of eight party leaders who under the constitution can decide qualification and disqualification of their membership. On the ground of holding different views, several other such members who had not committed any crime or offence would also be denied entry to the new parliament. (so much for opposing views as a counterbalance to runaway power. No checks and balances here. Facism anyone?)

“In this new version of democracy and in the map of new Nepal , persons will be deprived from their due positions mainly because of their views and not due to any omission or commission,” said the analyst. “At par with the one idea state, a blue print has been laid down which would prevail over the future shape of constitution after the restricted and guided process of Constituent Assembly.”

According to analysts, in this new Nepal, leader of one-man party Narayan Man Bijujkchhe Rohit, who has always been criticizing his alliance parties alleging that they are being instrumental to diminish Nepal’s position to Sikkim and Bhutan, will be in power. But not the party with national presence like Surya Bahadur Thapa’s Jansakti and Pashupati Sumsher Rana’s RPP.

Eight Parties’ Monopoly

The article 38 of the interim statute states that prime minister will be chosen under the political understanding of eight political parties. The article explicitly says eight parties will include Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, Nepali Congress (Democratic), United People’s Front, Nepal Sadvabana Party (Anandidevi), Nepal Workers and Peasant Party, United Left Front and CPN-Maoist. (meet Nepal's new Politbureau)

Monopolizing power further, the article 45 says there will be 330 members in the interim parliament including 209 members of previous parliament, 73 nominated by Nepal Communist Party - Maoists and 48 other nominated under various bases. (They've created an insurmountable majority. You can't challenge it unless you are in one of the parties and all the party members are in the majority. This is a clear and classic rubber-stamp puppet autocracy. A complete sham)

Under the article 45 (2), leaders of eight parties can bar any member by terming them to have been affiliated with the group of anti People’s Movement. These clauses restrict other political parties’ to take part in the political process.

Under the party registration, the eight parties secured privileges putting certain conditions including the requirement of 10,000 signatures of voters to register new political parties. Finally, they have to express their faith in the letter and spirit of the constitution, which is again defined by eight parties.

In the eight party alliance, majority of them have no stake of their ideology because they don’t hold a faith in multiparty plural democracy but how the two splinters of Nepali Congress as democratic parties are going to explain to the people as well as build up their image in the history by surrendering to a totalitarian model of governance remains to be seen.

Anger Over Judges

Even before the agreement of the leaders of eight parties, on January 7, Supreme Court judged had made certain unanimous suggestions demanding to make the judiciary more independent. However, demanding the independence of judiciary seems to be a crime in the eyes of eight party alliance.

Though the suggestion for independent judiciary is not for the judges and courts, it is for the protection of rights of citizens, but parties condemned this professional move as a political ploy.

“Judges cannot make decision on the issue of amendment of constitution. Their decision is politically motivated,” said CPN-UML leader Jhalnath Khanal, who even disclosed a week ago that many clauses were added in the draft without their consent. In recent reactions, political parties are looking at the interim constitution as a political document.

“The constitution is not only a political document or peace agreement of eight political parties but it is a principle law of the land of 25 million Nepali people,” said advocate Kumar Regmi.

The judges have not only expressed their disagreement over the draft, they have also proposed practical and reasonable alternatives. For instance, they have proposed that judges should be appointed by judicial council till the position of head of the state is clear, the oath of office should be administered by that constitutional body instead of the prime minister and executive head, the judicial council should have more members from the judges and so on.

“There must be check and balance among executive, judiciary and legislature organs of the state. Democracy cannot function properly if one of these organs is made more powerful. We have to follow this. I think prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala has rightly objected against concentrating power on prime minister,” said Nepali Congress leader Govinda Raj Joshi. (It was lip service from ol' Babu. He never intended to change a thing. How hard did he fight for these "checks and balances?" I rest my case. )

Against the Dissenting Opinion

The remarks and reactions of communist and liberal democratic leaders are clear as they are against citizen’s right to dissent - opening a new way for absolutism of eight parties in Nepal .

“Judges are not made to write the constitution and they are not the persons who can say what kind of constitutional system the country requires. It is for the politicians to decide,” said Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula. “The constitution will promulgate as per wishes of eight parties not as per wishes of judges,” thundered Sitaula who even overrode prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s views on certain reservations on constitution. (Scary. Saying that only the corrupt and inept politicians are qualified to write a supposedly democratic document like a constitution, spell disaster for Nepal. India couldn't be happier.)

After observing reactions from various quarters, judges of Supreme Court have been forced to speak their conscience regarding the independence of judiciary and higher values of constitutionalism after serious deliberations among them. “At a time when the leaders of government have been threatening and issuing warnings to all including the judges for their safety of tenure, the judges of supreme court have risked their jobs and security to uphold the ideals which Nepal ’s judiciary has been building up brick by brick since the great change of 1951,” said the political analyst.

When reactions of members of liberal democratic parties like home minister Sitauala is such, one does not have to say anything about the opinion of followers of dictatorship of proletariat like CPN-Maoist and CPN-UML leaders.

“Judiciary still has the hangover of feudalist Ranas. Our demand of reappointment of judges has been justified following the decision of Supreme Court,” said CPN-Maoist leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai commenting on the decision of Supreme Court. “Such judges must be removed who oppose the document prepared by eight parties.” (A fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the judiciary from a complete moron. Judiciaries interperet constitutionality. They enforce adherence to the established constitution and protect citizens from wayward autocratic politicians re-writing or ignoring constitutional provisions.)

Other lawyers argue that the independent judiciary is prerequisite for democracy. “Independent judiciary is one of the pre-requisites of any democratic system of the world. We want to see independent and competent judiciary not a committed judiciary,” said advocate Kumar Regmi. “Judges have not demanded that they want increase of salary or their individual facilities but they want to incorporate the fundamental of the independent judiciary in the interim constitution.”

Orwellian Description

“An Orwellian description has appropriately been adopted here declaring all are equals but some are more than equals. Ruling class of eight party alliance has emerged under a leadership of octogenarian democrat Girija Prasad Koirala who had ignored all values and ideals popularized by his own august brother, B.P. Koirala,” said a political analyst.

Although Nepali Congress is claming as a party of B.P. Koirala, they have sacrificed all his ideals for personal gains. “B.P. Koirala is a brand name for the respectable image in the people. But his ideas are difficult to be followed with the same idealism and integrity. Since the demise of B.P. Koirala, all the time Nepali Congress leaders are assuming their followers and common people that they fully adhere to his ideas but people fail to see that in practice,” said the analyst. “The present alliance of Nepali Congress was unholy and therefore unethical. It is a great tragedy of a great legacy that they are going to declare a constitution which creates two categories of citizens one who can be in power due to their political alliances and another who cannot be.”

Monday, January 08, 2007

Two Years of Blogdai

Quiz: Ambassador Moriarty is....
1. Displaying the number of people in his office who do not ignore him.
2. Rating, on a scale of 1 to 10, his concern for Nepal.

Well, we made it. We've been teasing, infuriating, commenting and pontificating on all things political and Nepali for two full years now. It's been a challenge.

A few blogdai facts on this our anniversary:

1. We've received around 172,000 hits of which, in this past year, roughly 30% are newbies.

2. We've had browsers and commentary from Maoists, anarchists, political gurus, famous journalists, the Royal Palace, the U.S. State Department, various intelligence agencies and the diplomatic community.

3. We've been quoted in the media as being "insightful," "well-written," "leftist," "rightist," "populist," "royalist," "..probably the best blog about Nepal," and "..a complete farce."

4. blogdai has been nominated as person of the year at; considered a positive force for 2006 by; had multiple-copycat blogs spring up as well as more than a few "anti-blogdai" sites; and have seen one of our targets of vitriol tragically pass away.

I've sent out a few anniversary announcements. The tributes (but mostly scorn) are pouring in. Here's a few from some of our favorites:

Why is the discussion that goes on over the net so important? Any stratgeic process today has three dimensions: conceputal, geographic, and virtual. Thus armed politics, as presently being played out in Nepal -- there certainly is no peace! -- takes place in different spaces. First, there is the world of categories -- violence versus nonviolence, the mass line versus the united front, and so on. Second, there is geographic space, such as comparing what is happening in the Kathmandu Valley versus the situation in Nepalgunj. Finally, the dominance of the media means that everything that goesw on tangibly also occurs in virtual space. Creating the impression that a state is not worth fighting for, to use the Nepal case, is the sort of campaign the internet has proved adept at facilitating. Even as we speak, the Maoists have fellow travellers acting on their behalf in the U.S., taking advantage of our political freedoms to push their agenda over the net. Only through continuing the campaign of which Blogdai has been such an important part -- illuminating truth and reality (the first a concept, the second a virtual as much as an actual category) -- can Nepalis desiring a decent future hope to triumph over the forces of chaos and terror.

-Dr. Thomas A. Marks

Always a relevant comment from Dr. Marks.

It is indeed my pleasure to see Blogdai celebrating the second anniversary of his successful presence in Nepali blogging world. I have always quietly admired Blogdai's blog for his ideas on various posts. [The only thing I hate about Blogdai is the terribly long front page of the site which makes it almost impossible for me to see his page from my home connection.] I might not agree with some of his posts but I appreciate his way of putting forward the opinion. Important thing is that all kinds of opinions are necessary for a democracy to be vibrant. There are always differences in perspectives but we are in the same side: the blog side. Blogging is a true form of democracy via which you can voice your opinion. We saw the importance of blogs when democracy was suspended in Nepal. This is what a BBC web site column wrote about the role of blogs in Nepal: "And with Google News, which doesn't generally carry weblogs, including reports from United We Blog!, the stakes are a lot higher. In places like Nepal and Iran , the big questions about weblogs are questions about the future of a free press." ( )
Blogging as a medium of expression is becoming popular in Nepali internet users, especially among Nepali journalists, in the past two years. When I started blogging in Wagle Street Journal ( [or latter in United We Blog (] nearly two and half years ago, I could see no blogs about Nepal or from Nepal. If I am not mistaken there were no Nepalis blogging at that time. When I wanted to talk about blogs with my friends in newspaper, they would give strange look to my face as if they were silently telling 'what the hell are you talking about?' The situation has changed. Now I see many young people in Kathmandu and other Nepali students using blogging as a medium of expression. The localized words like Blogdai were so popular that we saw words like Blogbahini, Bloghabadur and Blogmandu in Nepali blogosphere. Nepali blogs are talking about bloggers daily lives, politics, society and what not. Voices are necessary in democracy. They are more important in a transitional situation like in today's Nepal. With blogs, we have got the freedom to express ourselves and we should never forget to use that freedom responsibly. Happy birthday, Blogdai! Keep talking, keep blogging!!

-Dinesh Wagle (United We Blog)

So if any of you screaming little revolutionary boys wants to know about freedom of speech and democracy, consider this last comment. Dinesh dai and I are often, no, religiously on the opposite end of the political spectrum yet we both see the need and importance of expressing good ideas and frommenting discussion. Democracy? You better believe it. It is an honor to have the thoughts of my more-than-my-match adversary presented here. Oh, hell, yes, I'll even let him plug his other sites as well, ha!

Congratulations on your important milestone! While everyone seems to be going gong-ho about the realpolitiks in Nepal, you preserve the virtue of doubt which has become so scarce these days in our country. You remind everyone that there is an important other side in our national consciousness. The mindlessly agitated folks could have learned from you how to use reason with passion, and not just passion without reason. Many happy returns!

-DharmAdhikari (

Dharma's is the single most informative clearing house for world news regarding Nepal. His commentary is unsurpassed. If you are not reading it daily like blogdai, you are not getting the whole story on Nepal. He is the best at what he does: no one else even comes close.

So, thanks to all our regulars and anon's, keep up the good thoughts and ideas. We will have some surprises this year so hang in there and keep posting. We only have one rule here at blogdai:

It's not who you are, it's what you say.


The Big Ride

Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokhrel wonders why he has to tell the government to do its job.

We're being taken for a big ride here in Nepal.

Any government that pretends toward democracy will hold elections to prove their committment to the concept.

We have just the opposite occuring in Nepal and we're too ignorant to recognize it.

Rather than do whatever it takes to make sure the voice and will of the Nepali people can be expressed through balloting, our leaders are doing whatever it takes to sabotage the process.

As early as last November and as recently as December 24, K.P. Oli has sounded the alarm that it's the Maoist's fault if Constituent Assembly elections are not held. Rather than chiding the Maoists for their continued brutality or seeking some official parliamentary position on the Maoists behaviour, Oli immediately claims the elections are in jeopardy. What democrcatic courage!

Perhaps the most concrete example of Koirala and his boys having no intention of electing anyone for any reason comes from Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokhrel. Poor Pokhrel dai. He has to plead with his government to send representatives to the districts so that accurate voter roles can be established. Pokhrel needs 26,000 election representatives for each voting district as soon as possible. Koirala has appointed only 12 so far. Blogdai wagers that even these commissioners are patronage favorites of ol' Babu and have no intention of lifting a finger to help along any elections. Plus, a little document known as the "Election Code of Conduct" has yet to be put forth: a document that is necessary to the proper set-up, conduct and tallying of election results. So, essentially, the logistics of holding a fair elections have not even been considered; the rules are not in place and there's no government representatives supervising the process--and this is 6 months from the scheduled CA election!

Even Koirala has jumped on the bandwagon. January 1, he too held the Maoists responsible for any cancelled elections. Seems the old man has a lot on his plate these days. Maoists won't even allow police stations in the VDC's and Babu continues to enrage Prachanda with his refusal to rethink his very imperial ambassadorial appointments.

All of this would suit the Maoists just fine. They'd prefer to have the villages under their control. No need giving people hope through some silly elections, right?

Prachanda will do all he can to thwart the elections. It'll be easy since he's on the same page as Koirala in this regard.

These people never intended to hold elections. They never will. The weight of increased world scrutiny is the only motiviating force behind these fake election promises anyway. Parliament, by their eagerness to pull the plug on elections, is doing nothing more than looking for a face-saving way out of their day of electorial reckoning.

Go ahead, blame the Maoists, great leader Girija. Quit early. Don't fight for the one thing that would actually demonstrate a sense of national unity and governmental responsibility. Use the threat of cancelling your sham elections in the same fashion that you used the word democracy and the way you used the Nepali people through your phony Jana Andolan: as nothing more than tools to keep you in power.

So sit back, Nepal, and enjoy the ride; there's a lot more to come.