Meaning of slap on Khanal’s face

On Thursday, a 52-year-old Nepali slapped Jhalanath Khanal, the chairman of the third largest party of Nepal which is also the ruling party, in a public program in Itahari, some 500-km from Kathmandu. Khanal went there to welcome around 1,000 new party members and Devi Prasad Regmi, who used to be a UML cadre, lined up with other to reach one of the most likely candidate for next prime ministership, and slapped him right no his face so hard that Khanal’s glasses fell down.

“Politicians ruined the country, it’s better to go mad than be dead,” Regmi said in the police custody.

Although Khanal happened to be the receiver of the slap, it was a slap in the faces of all those political leaders who have a say in their party’s decisions. The unruly event, despite being condemnable, is something that reflects the frustrations of many more Nepalis.

Devi Prasad Regmi, 52. Photos courtesy
Regmi used to be a UML cadre; he voted for Maoist during the Constituent Assembly (CA) election for he thought ‘Maoists could give something to the country’ and was forced to slap Khanal ‘in anger’ for he could not ‘tolerate the leaders ruining the country’.

How many more Nepalis have been angered, even more than Regmi? How many more Nepalis want to slap leaders in their faces for their false promises? At least a few more, it’s just that they don’t have the courage. I am saying this after reading comments on news in many news sites, reactions in social media and blogs.

Time has not ran out yet! There are still a time that the leaders could save people from getting frustrated and angry – and if the leaders continue to search for consensus with inconclusive meetings and rigid stances, I am sorry to say, but many, many Nepalis will have an untold consensual agreement to follow Regmi’s path.

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Thank you, UNMIN

Flag lowering ceremony of UNMIN. UN Photo by Chandra Shekhar Karki

At January 15 midnight, United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) concludes its four-year long stay as monitor of the Maoists combatants and arms. Although, it’s exit didn’t coincide with the conclusion of peace process – the official end of the Maoist’s People’s Liberation Army that fought hard and violent for more than 10 years, UNMIN’s role in bringing the peace process to this spot is laudable.

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Paras Shah: Crown Prince to Prison?

Former crown prince of Nepal Paras Shah was ‘taken under control’ by police on charges of firing with an illegal bullet at a resort inside a national park late night and threatening a Bangladeshi of life. No matter what will the court decide, the series of incidents has a greater impact in Nepal’s political scenario as it symbolically indicates the ‘real’ end of the monarchic power and is also a step towards the no-tolerance towards criminal activities under political hood.

I believe that it was wrong for Paras Shah, 38, to threaten anyone with a pistol and fire a round in air regardless of the degree of provocation injected by the person on the other side. It was a crime for a commoner (Paras Shah declared himself similar to a commoner) to carry an unlicensed weapon, to carry weapon inside a national park and to threaten someone of life firing on air.

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Nepal parliament’s embarrassment

Friday night continues to be pivotal in Nepal.

November 19, 2010 will go into history books as a shameful day for Nepal’s parliament and will continue to embarrass the nation for years to come. The representatives of the people involved in such a scuffle that ended with manhandling of ministers and ‘abduction of the budget speech’ by the Maoist lawmakers.

Into the records, Maoist lawmakers disrupted the House session and resorted to vandalism and manhandling soon after Speaker Subas Nembang permitted Finance Minister Surendra Pandey to table the budget. They manhandled Pandey and snatched the briefcase containing the budget booklet. Other Maoist lawmakers also manhandled some ministers and lawmakers belonging to the ruling party.

Budget is a dire need of the country for rescues it from plunging into the financial crisis. The people were told (by the leaders) that the main three political parties including the Maoist agreed for the budget through a constitutional amendment and use of special rights by the President. Maoist then backtracked and said allowing President to use the special rights might set a wrong precedent – and government was adamant to go with the budget presentation resulting in the ugly scene.

Shame on Maoists

After watching the incident live on television, there is nothing else to say to the Maoist. Through protest at parliament is allowed, their behavior was immature, beyond tolerance and unacceptable. Time and again, Maoist proved themselves to be immature in politics and their thinking/action had remained that of the rebels – not that of the democratic political party.

The UCPN (Maoist) should apologize with people for the incident.

Shame on Government

The government knew something is coming for the Maoists have said they won’t allow the budget presentation. Despite that they went ahead inviting Maoist for confrontation. They should have tried for a middle-path with understanding from the Maoist.

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Nepali Politics, the Secret Meeting & Media

Just before Tihar – the festival of lights – it looked like the long-standing political deadlock of Nepal is finally being dismantled as the top leaders of three main political parties agreed to go for a meeting at a resort. The meeting was dubbed the ‘secret meeting’ for it was not accessible to media and assistants to the leaders. Not many knew the venue before it began.

Nepali politics is standstill – for no new Prime Minister has been elected (despite 16 rounds of election in the parliament) to replace the caretaker government that is facing crisis in lack of annual budget. And, there is the whole issues relating to peace process and constitution writing stalled (or progressing very slow) due to lack of understanding (read power-sharing agreement) between top parties.

In such scenario, the secret meeting – attended by 15 top leaders where the leaders agreed to spend uninterrupted days was surely a positive move and the nation hoped a good news as a Tihar gift. But there was none and at least for now the meeting was a failure. The joint statement that the parties managed to come up with after the end of two-day meeting was nothing new – just reiteration of what they were saying in new words undersigned jointly.

They said they seriously reviewed/discussed the implementation of agreements (as if they were doing in as a joke earlier or they were not doing this). They also said they realized the need to work on consensus (good but we all thought they realized this much earlier). They then reiterated commitment for peace, democracy et all (were they not committed earlier?). The only new thing that I saw in the statement is ‘November 10’ meeting – which I didn’t know earlier and they haven’t said earlier.

And, the media were kept out of the meeting. I do support the idea that most of the times it’s worthless to give access to media during the meeting for a photo or a video or a quote. And, it becomes even worse when there are so many television stations which need news every hour. There was no access and it was expected that TVs will be make a little cry over it.

But then I do also believe that mass media are a bridge between politicians and citizens and they have every right to seek information; and its duty of the politicians especially at the time when they hold a meeting of national interest to inform the media (thus the citizens) something about the meeting. They did a good thing organizing a press conference after the end of the meeting but I still believe they should also have issued at least a preliminary release at the end of Day 1 (even if there were nothing substantial information, even quotes like we were talking would have worked).

Media wants information desperately – but it doesn’t mean that they want for their profit alone. Media functions in such a way that it becomes a medium of democratic practice and tool to fulfill citizens’ right to information.

Let’s hope that the leaders meeting on November 10 will be fruitful – and media are duly informed about the outcome (or progress).

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