Mr. Clean is Nepal Prime Minister
N. P. Upadhyaya
Kathmandu: All that glitters is not gold. Temporary illusion could be there.
The manner new Nepal Prime Minister Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai is being eulogized for his "clean" image that he is in possession as of today, analysts here wish to declare him as Mr. Clean and will continue to take him with that nomenclature as long as he remains to what the analysts have coined for him.
Too much praise, which is incessantly pouring in may rebound, Dr. Bhattarai should understand if he is a full-grown political celebrity. He must refrain from such unwarranted admiration.
In addition, the Madhesi Front with whose "calculatedly prearranged" support he has become the country's 35 Prime Minister should well comprehend that his Premiership would be always challenged by some disgruntled leaders of the 'Front' who have been told to join his cabinet for extracting some political gains that ultimately be neither in his own interest nor in the larger benefit of his own nation.
Dr. Bhattarai would soon begin to exasperate sooner than later.
Mr. Clean-the new Nepal PM should understand that the European lobby with a bit of US element have been made to enter his cabinet for extracting a variety of legal/ illegal and seen and unseen extraterritorial political gains.
The Indian lobby, the moderate bunch seated inside Delhi's South Block as is being given to understand, which has definitely elevated Dr. Bhattarai to this new post would try to use and over use new Nepal Prime Minister to "institutionalize" in Nepal the Indian permanent interests that are aplenty.
The Indian moderates won over the hardliners who conclude that the Maoists can't be "trusted". Yet the Delhi reasonable offered a "last chance" to the Maoists. Delhi's shift in looking at the Maoists is visible. But for how long?
Chances are fair that Mr. Clean could be used as a political tool by the Indian establishment or else why the Indian media and the regime across the border went out of the way in praising this modest Nepali political persona from remote Khoplang village who though has spent half of his total age right being in the Indian Union-either in the name of pursuing higher studies and also while remaining engaged in the so called People's War-which flourished under Indian care. No longer a secret.
String must have been attached though as of now it remains in an invisible form. Analysts presume that it would be made visible with a big bang.
That Nepal PM's arms will be mercilessly twisted by the Indian ruling elites has already come to the fore which gets reflected in the quick message of congratulations sent to Dr. Bhattarai by his Indian counterpart, Dr. Man Mohan Singh, (who is himself a proxy and is nicknamed as Junior Sonia) who says in his laudatory message, (sic), "Our relations are special and characterized by intense people to people interaction and an open border".
Dr. Singh apparently wants to remind the Jawaharlal Nehru University, JNU, graduate that India has 'special relations' with Nepal and thus he should act accordingly.
To recall, the general population in Nepal abhorrently rebuke this Indian claim that Nepal and India have "special" relations. The word "special" is taken as an insult in Nepal by the general public save a few interested quarters. As regards the open border, the Nepalese population will take a sigh of relief the open border is fenced and a visa regime comes into effect.
Pressure is being built in New Delhi to tame Dr. Bhattarai.
Moreover, analysts in Kathmandu would be more than interested in knowing as to how the JNU scholar, now the Nepal PM, would expedite those good old days 40 points demands which he had himself forwarded to the then Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba for its realization.
# (Submitted to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on 4 February, 1996 by Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai on behalf of the United People's Front Nepal).
To recall, out of those 40 point Maoist demands, the first nine ones were directly related with doing away with the several unequal treaties, understanding and agreements and many more that the Indian regime, as the Maoists had claimed then, had imposed on Nepal unilaterally at different intervals of history. # (The nine point follows at the end of this story for the record).
The daddy of them all was the demand for the abrupt abrogation of the most notorious 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship with India.
Neither peace nor cordial friendship, the treaty could bring.
Now the question is that whether the Maoists, more so the new Nepal PM Dr. Bhattarai who had himself demanded the scrapping of this treaty with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba as back as early 1996 will take the much needed and required "political initiatives" for freeing his own country from the clutches of the Indian regime from his own reading? It would be these nine point demands whose positive materialization in Nepal's favor will at best determine the political shrewdness of Mr. Clean. Or he will stand exposed.
Analysts here have some tips for Dr. Bhattarai. He can seek the good offices of his good old days 12 point Indian friends, Professor Sukh Dev Muni, Shyam Saran and Sitaram Yechury in pressing the Indian regime for addressing the genuine Nepali grievances more so of the Nepal Maoists itself, to be more precise.
(It were these Indian luminaries who jointly had drafted the 12 point Delhi agreement, it was talked then).
They may drop in Nepal any moment to see their Nepal friend assuming the post of Nepal Prime Minister. High excitement must have been there.
Perhaps the new Nepal Prime Minister can talk straight, if he collects the needed courage, with his Indian counterpart about the Nepali ailments because the way Dr. Man Mohan Singh has sent Bhattarai the congratulatory message in haste ( undiplomatic one) does remind the Nepalese population that both Dr. Singh and Dr. Bhattarai were "brothers" who unfortunately got lost in India's KUMBHA fair-Mela. If so, then Dr. Singh may listen to his brothers' genuine plea.
Nevertheless, the fear among the Nepali academic circle is also that what if Nepal Prime Minister gets carried away by his New Delhi's old friends? Will Bhattarai be able to withstand the excessive pressure that may approach from these quarters to keep China at a comfortable distance? Moreover, apprehensions are also that Prime Minister Bhattarai who enjoys a "distanced and cool" relations with the middle Kingdom will continue with his current posture against Beijing as he possess today or he is just pretending it to be so in order to keep the Indian mentors in a good mood without exhibiting his internal political plans for China which could be not to annoy the Chinese regime at the cost of his old friends in New Delhi.
Tight rope walking it would be for Mr. Clean indeed.
In fact, Bhattarai can't ignore the Chinese friendship which is already in an advanced stage. To go along with China is his compulsion. He must tread the path adopting an equi-distant or even equi-proximity theory in the conduct of Nepal's relations with both India and China. He can't simply brush it aside under his personal whims. Even if he dares to do so under alien pressure, which is sure to approach him sooner than later, then he will have to face his own party's grumblings for a variety of political reasons. The wrath from the national population will follow instantly.
Having said all these, Bhattarai will have to go on a political course that will be more guided by the Madhesi Front preferences as it is puzzling to the lay men on how to take the formation of this cabinet?
Whether it is a Maoist's led government or a government of the Madhesi Front who exhibited their sagacity in picking up the Prime Minister from the Maoists camp?
The fifty-fifty presence of the Madhesi parties may any time pull the legs of Bhattarai if he ignored the Madhesi demands. How this Front and why this set has supported him is any body's guess which perhaps Bhattarai knows better.
The Front practices unstable politics. Chair is what matters for the men engaged in the front. This has been the experience gained so far.
Apart from these, wisdom would demand that Bhattarai seduces the "traditional parliamentary forces" to enter into his team. Bhattarai should also keep in mind that the "excluded" parliamentary parties equally remain in the good book of the 12 point regime which elevated him to power this time around.
The NC and the UML, now in opposition, can crate problems for his government. Schemes are being devised on how to corner new Nepal PM and his party whom they brought from the 12 point capital.
An internal party squabble, that is in existence still, may flare up any time if he fails to satisfy the men belonging to various lobbies. Moreover, Chairman Prachanda may not have digested Bhattarai's elevation to this post which he aspired for himself. Clearly, Prachanda will use Dr. Bhattarai's good offices to mend his disturbed relations with the South Block mandarins. Chairman Dahal may exploit from Bhattarai's introvert nature.
In all, Dr. Bhattarai has not so many things to boast, Nepalese intellectuals understand it better as to how the RAW men had sneaked in Nepal and had lobbied for Bhattarai's elevation.
The RAW men, Alok Joshi included, were here mid August, 2011.
Later Ambassador Prasad stamped this new equation upon his arrival in Nepal.
Whether the RAW team this time met the Nepal ex-King or not remains yet a mystery. To recall, the RAW men had enjoyed a lavish dinner at former King's private residence, Nirmal Nivas, on May 28, 2011, late evening.
Yet, Mr. Clean's modesty and honesty must be recognized. He deserves deep appreciation for his workaholic nature.
But to keep his image clean, he must begin cleaning his own house first as it is in the rumor in Kathmandu's informed citizenry that his wife, Madame Hisila Yami-Bhattarai while serving the Civil Aviation ministry in the recent past had amassed astronomical amount of wealth.
Why not to clear this allegation and assure the people that those were just allegations made by some vested interests to malign his family members?
Analysts now wish all the best to Nepal new Prime Minister, Mr. Clean, hoping that the national past glory and pride will be revived during his upcoming not so good-not so bad Prime Ministerial tenure.
# First Nine Points demand related to Nepali nationalism follows:
1) Regarding the 1950 Treaty between India and Nepal, all unequal stipulations and agreements should be removed.
2) HMG should admit that the anti-nationalist Tanakpur agreement was wrong, and the Mahakali Treaty, incorporating same, should be nullified.
3) The entire Nepal-Indian border should be controlled and systematized. Cars with Indian number plates, which are plying the roads of Nepal, should not be allowed.
4) Gorkha recruiting centers should be closed and decent jobs should be arranged for the recruits.
5) In several areas of Nepal, where foreign technicians are given precedence over Nepali technicians for certain local jobs, a system of work permits should be instituted for the foreigners.
6) The monopoly of foreign capital in Nepal's industry, trade and economic sector should be stopped.
7) Sufficient income should be generated from customs duties for the country's; economic development.
8) The cultural pollution of imperialists and expansionists should be stopped. Hindi video, cinema, and all kinds of such news papers and magazines should be completely stopped. Inside Nepal, import and distribution of vulgar Hindi films, video cassettes and magazines should be stopped.
9) Regarding NGOs and INGOs: Bribing by imperialists and expansionists in the name of NGOs and INGOs should be stopped.