The Big Double Dynamic
The dust has settled on our election now. The votes are all, or mostly, counted and it looks like we can draw some conclusions beyond the obvious fact that the Maoists won a lot of seats. We can look at the dynamics of a successful grass-roots campaign, versus the inertia of the status quo as an opposing dynamic of its own. Both lead to a Maoist victory and both required each other’s presence to insure a Maoist victory.
The Maoist Dynamic
We’ve had a group that has coerced, preyed-upon, influenced and generally been seen on a day to day basis by villagers in all corners of Nepal during the last 10 years leading up to this recent election. Essentially, when one relates this 10 year siege to the state of mind of the average Nepali voter going to the polls for the first time, they have essentially survived, what rightly can be termed as the “Campaign from Hell.” Call it whatever you like, the Maoists were out in the villages for the last 10 years campaigning for eventual votes simply by their brutal presence. So, if we couple that with a populace that has no idea that voting is supposed to be a sacred, individual and private act; but instead lives in fear that a Maoist might be able to discern the voting choices of each individual, it is not hard to see how Prachanda and his goons triumphed. Even simpler, how would the Maoists retaliate towards villagers in the instance where an opposing candidate won, and wouldn’t such retaliation be on the mind of each voter as they entered the polling place? Simpler still, how does anyone win an election without a platform or set of initiatives? Go ask a Maoist. They seem to have figured it out: it seems to have a lot to do with satationing armed cadres at voting centers and beating up opposing candidates.
The Non-Dynamic Dynamic
Ego, hubris and just plain ineptitude categorized the second enabling dynamic in the Maoist’s victory. When, during the last decade, has Girija Koirala and his greedy congress given any serious attention, much less aid and governmental hope to rural citzens in Nepal? No, the government has focused, rather lazily, on maintaining its weak concensus among those in the Kathmandu valley. As evidenced by the polling numbers, the few UML and NC victories tallied came in districts either relatively close to Kathmandu or those whose “favorite son” politician came from the region. It is this ignorance of the needs of an entire country of voters that turned the populace away from Girija and the like. Would a rural voter, who may genuinely like, say, a UML candidate in his district risk voting for that candidate when there has probably been not one whimper of government attention—and more importantly—protection or even an adequate government presence to back up that vote? The Maoists have been out in the districts and the voter knows Maoists cadres can reward or make one pay for their choices on a daily basis.
A simple grasp of democracy would have told these government fools that one vote in Rukum carries the same weight as one vote in Kathmandu.
Compound this with the fact that Girija has avoided elections over the last decade, leaving voters confounded and open to manipulation due to their inexperience, and you have a government-created recipe for inaccurate voting and fraud. Crying after the deed is done about voter fraud and Maoist manipulation Mr. NC politician? Well, go cry in the mirror because you helped create this scenario through your ten years of arrogantly dismissing the electoral process.
Where does that leave us?
Maoists can’t govern. They don’t have a plan for governing. They only have an ideolgy—and a failed one at that. Prachanda is looking way past the actual significance of his victory and has his eyes on the prize of running the entire government as its Prime Minister. He and all Maoists still, unbashedly, proclaim Nepal will eventually become a Communist state. They’ll paint their shiny new car a nice Communist red and clean it every day. They’ll keep polishing this red finish and ignore the fact that the wheels are falling off. Excuse me, Mr. “Fierce One,” but can you describe your plan for national infrastructure repair and expansion over the next few years? You get my point.
This may just work in Nepal’s favor. Sometimes it takes a rat to remove a rat. Prachanda has done what no sane and rational political thinker has been able to do: Eliminate Girija’s grip on power and remove most of the festering, corrupt political minions from government. Ideally the Maoists are an interim step towards a healthy Nepal. They’ve done the dirty work. Next, when it becomes clear that the Maoists have no clear plan for governing, the will trip themselves up and be out of power. Blogdai gives them two years, at most, before they either dissolve or are forcefully removed . But, untortunately for now, we are stuck with them.
Liken it to a screaming child on a holiday road trip that cries so loudly for Mommy and Daddy to let it drive the car that they eventually give in. Naturally, having no skill, the child drives the car over a cliff and the entire world sees that this child has no business being anywhere near and automobile. Same thing will happen if Prachanda gets behind the wheel at Singha Durbar. With a child driving, foreign aid will be drastically curtailed (even now the Asian Development Bank is delaying their $60 million aid package until this new government proves itself), and big governments will seek to change the situation. Even India is nervous. Unless he builds a concensus and allows for dissenting, non-communist, ideas and planning Prachanda’s government will collapse in short order.
Add that to the fact that the Young Communist League thugs are becoming bolder with this victory, infuriating villagers to the breaking point, and you have all the ingredients for a popular revolution.
Only this time it will be a REAL Jana Andolan.