The change in Dr. Baburam Bhattarai was metamorphic. The midnight roars of the all powerful prime minister, while declaring the election for a new Constituent Assembly (CA), had long vanished. He looked mellowed out, became down-to-earth and, thus, amenable after being reduced to his real size of a caretaker. Like a gambler, he took the bait after being instigated and misled. The dice played with turned out to be not his Hip, hip, hooray!
In desperation, he looked around. As usual, the only lingering hope was national consensus. But this time it had to be divorced from the unceasingly deceitful rhetoric of national consensus that devoured the national sensibility for the greed laden politics of looting the nation. For Baburam, it was a compulsion not a choice. The Political legitimacy had eroded alarmingly. He, together with his friends and comrades, had eaten it up. The legal tenability of his government, if any, was minimal. Thus, he reconciled to his fate while his partners in the government bore the resemblance of a river in spate in looting the nation. This was the scenario prior to his Brazil visit.
At this point, a note on CA is necessary with a historical perspective. The end of World War II liberated many African and Asian countries. Thus became India a country in 1947 from the conglomerate of British Colony. Nepal, one of the oldest countries in South Asia never was a colony but under the British sway. Now came the turn of Nepal to be free from the Rana oligarchy. The revolution thus started for a democratic Nepal could not reach its logical end when India saw the Tibetan crisis looming large.
Indian Prime Minister Pandit Nehru engineered the Delhi Compromise to forge a consensus of opposite forces. It was concluded on February 7, 1951 for a coalition government, comprising Ranas and revolutionaries, constituent assembly and a republic. He thus obtained the 1950’s treaty, the unpublished letters till 1960 forming a part of it, from outgoing Mohan Shumsher and rewarded him to be made as Nepal’s first democratic prime minister against whose oligarchic regime the entire democratic revolution was waged. Nepal’s only one communist party then opposed it, casting the impression that communists were nationalist in raising the national issues.
Now came the mention of CA. King Tribhuvan, three days after his arrival from Delhi, changed Mohan Shumsher’s role on February 18, 1951 from the last prime minister of the 104 year old Rana oligarchy to Nepal’s first democratic Prime minister. In the same proclamation, he me made it clear that a constituent assembly would be constituted by the Nepalese people for the constitution and through that constitution Nepal would be declared a republic. But he never held the election, not even periodic. Instead, he ran the government through an abridged makeshift constitution called The Interim Government Act 1951.
Likewise, King Mahendra dilly-dallied but was forced to promulgate it a week before the periodic election on February 12, 1959 when the communist and congress got together to press for it. The question of Constituent Assembly for declaring Nepal as republic just got dissolved after King Mahendra took power through soft military coup in December 20, 1960. The circumstantial evidence suggests that Mahendra had a tacit support from India. Except for a brief statement from its foreign ministry spokesman, nothing was heard.
Pakistan supported the king’s move enthusiastically. India reconciled to active monarchy and democracy more when it was locked in a month long war with China in 1962 and with Pakistan in 1965 and the international situation was unfavorable. As the phase of hibernation waned and King Birendra and Rajiv Gandhi were in charge of Nepal and India, Indian twin pillar theory of constitutional monarchy and democracy surfaced. The active monarchy ended through Jana Andolan I in 1990.
Finally on November 22, 2005, India got the selected Maoist leaders harbored in India and the leaders of the seven party alliances together in Delhi to forge the 12-point agreement. The objective was to finish the unfinished act of 1951 making Nepal a republic. Jan Andolan II catapulted the Maoist in the front seat of government. The whole scene when viewed in a sequence resembles Delhi Compromise except that Gyanendra Shah is still being kept as a spare wheel.
The election to the Constituent Assembly on May 22, 2008 made the Maoist the single largest party beyond anybody’s expectations. The constituent assembly thus formed also exercised the power of legislature-parliament. Once the Maoist became the decisive force inside the constitution boundary, political consensus, a provision stipulated in the interim constitution as the basis of governance and constitution drafting, became the first casualty. From the very first day, after the declaration of already decided republic, the purpose of Constituent Assembly was over for all practical purposes. Thus, the second casualty was the constitution drafting itself because nobody cared for constitution expect for rhetoric of exaltation. The CA was thus primarily turned into legislature-parliament for forming and toppling the government. No wonder parties were broken and front was formed to have four governments in four years.
An opportunity in a country’s history was lost. Those responsible took CA as just the parliament formed periodically for governance. That CA is primarily for delivering the constitution within two years was almost forgotten for four years and after spending colossal amount of money. it’s additional function of legislature-parliament only as a stopgap arrangement was used, misused and abused. Now the result is for all of us to see. Even the interim constitution is like a dead piece of document. Baburamji’s load of filth was the last load in the camel’s back.
Everybody knows how Baburamji became the Prime Minister. It is so when comrade Vaidya’s anger against Prachanda in the intra party dynamics was capitalized with the help of external blessings. He let the CA die after being led to believe that no other can now claim the government. He created the precarious situation, thus.
In the midst of such turmoil, Baburamji left for Brazil to attend the Rio+20 conference of environment protection in an invitation that was extended to our President. Countries that produce highest level of greenhouse gases threatening this planet do not bother much and leave mostly for the third world countries to discuss this issue of climate change. So it is indeed “Rio’s Unsustainable Nonsense” as put aptly by Professor Jagdish Bhagwati, a trade theorist of international repute.
Baburamji’s concern was government change more than the climate change. He pinned his hope of continuity on his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. Thus he heeded none. His party asked him not to go but he did not give a hood. Likewise, to those who came to street to stop him, he had 1500 police to chase them. The black flags were waved at him were nothing as he moved like a bullet in his one point agenda. His half an hour meeting with the Indian Prime Minister was his Nirvana. Interestingly, this is another Baburam’s metamorphosis. The mellowed Baburam became impossibly haughty.
Back home Baburamji is projecting himself as the most righteous person and challenges anyone who demands his resignation to pave way for a national government. The only national government that can be formed is by all other joining his government, he claims. He sees no other alternative. Those who talk of change of government are the vanquished lot, he thunders. He is the winner and has even forgotten that his is a caretaker government. He is taking decisions that even the full fledged prime minister need to consult other parties. His party is broken and so is Bijaya Gachhedar’s. But his aggression knows no bound. Does aggression bring legitimacy to rule? Or do external blessings bring an aggression to rule? Baburam’s metamorphosis bears the answer. Let Baburam and alike realize that the true strength of a politician is the indigenous strength like the internal resistance or strength of human body.