The Nepalese Prime Minister, UCPN-M chairman Prachanda, resigned on 4 May as a result of Nepal’s President Ram Baran Yadav overturning his decision to sack the Nepalese army chief, Rookmangud Katawal, without the consent of his coalition partners. Katawal was in fact guilty of refusing to obey instructions from the elected civilian government, as well as refusing to implement key parts of the 2006 peace accords including the integration of the People’s Liberation Army into the Nepalese army. In the light of this fundamental insubordination, it was a sign of utmost bad faith on the part of the UCPN-M’s coalition partners not to endorse Katawal’s dismissal. The CPN-UML, despite the hand of friendship and reconciliation extended to it by the UCPN-M, has chosen yet again to betray the Nepalese people and its professed communist ideals alike.
On the proposal of Koirala (president of the Nepali Congress, an avowedly bourgeois party), Madhav Kumar Nepal from the CPN-UML has been appointed prime minister, an appointment that required the support of the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum parliamentary representative, Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, who was given the post of deputy prime minister. However the MPRF have now expelled Gachhadar from the party for going against party policy, which was to support the UCPN-M, as a result of which MK Nepal’s position looks precarious to say the least.
The elections held in Nepal in April last year in which the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) led by Cde Prachanda achieved the highest number of votes, proved the support of the people of Nepal for the reforms being promoted by the CPN(M), now the UCPN-M following its merger with another progressive political party. However, since this programme involves redistribution of wealth and power for the benefit of the poor sections of society, it is naturally opposed by Nepal’s traditional élite as well as their bourgeois allies, who have long been strongly influential in Nepal’s traditional parliamentary parties. The fact that this influence remains strong is evidenced by the fact that most of the parliamentary parties sided not with Prachanda and the UCPN-M, who most definitely had justice on their side over the question of the sacking of Katawal, but with the opposition, showing remarkable derision for the will of the people as expressed in Nepal’s democratic elections.
Undoubtedly the old Nepalese élite are being supported and encouraged by their old patron, India, which has always regarded Nepal as a part of its backyard, and which would like to see the Maoists crushed, if only because of the example they are setting to the oppressed masses of India of what is to be gained through people’s war. To this end, it is thought that India may even be conspiring to restore the Nepalese monarchy. Although the UCPN-M government was prepared to stretch out the hand of friendship to India, India has not been prepared to grasp it – unlike China, which also seeks influence in Nepal as a means of protecting itself against imperialist encirclement.
China’s methods for gaining such influence are radically different from India’s method of alliance with the reactionary Nepalese ruling élite. Instead it has worked on bringing real benefits to Nepal by building roads and entering into trade agreements on terms that are favourable to Nepal. According to Dr. Abanti Bhattacharya, Associate Professor at the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Delhi, (no friend of China), the Chinese built a “road link between Lhasa and Khasa, a border town located some 80 kilometres north of Kathmandu. China has also accepted Nepal’s proposal in April 2009 to open up two more custom points in addition to the existing five. China is also building a 65 km second road link, the Syafrubesi-Rasuwagadi road, which is the shortest route from Tibet to Kathmandu. As part of promoting Nepal’s hydro-power projects, in 2008, China’s Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, He Yafei, pledged to provide Nepal a loan of $125 million for Upper Trishuli 3 ‘A’ and $62 million for Upper Trishuli 3 ‘B’. The plants would start operating from 2012”. (See ‘China’s inroads into Nepal: India’s concerns, IDSA Strategic Comments, 2009).
However, Nepal’s traditional élite is committed to its patrons not only in India but also in the US, these countries being respectively the second and first largest providers of Foreign Direct Investment to Nepal. As a matter of practice it is principally the UCPN-M that is interested in furthering links with China to take advantage of the generous terms offered, since the UCPN-M has not the slightest commitment to predators from the US and India.
Although Prachanda has left the Nepalese government, enabling the latter to continue to give lessons to the Nepalese masses as to its treacherous and undemocratic nature, the UCPN-M is continuing to work in the drafting of Nepal’s new constitution. As the people learn from the rich experience of the struggle who it is who are prepared to betray the struggle, notwithstanding their claims to be communists and/or patriots, the UCPN-M will be launching, as announced by Chairman Prachanda on 22 June, “People’s Movement-III, forging ties with ‘nationalist, patriotic and democratic forces’”. He promised that this largely urban-based movement would completely sweep away “reactionaries, opportunists and traitors” from the country to establish civilian supremacy. We wish this movement every success.