November 3, 2010


[ The former five time prime minister of Nepal, Mr. Surya Bahadur Thapa hosted a dinner party at his residence in Kathmandu recently in which he is reported to have invited the ousted king Gyanendra Shah also. The ex-king Shah did not attend the party. It would have been a mistake had the king attended. The  ex-king  does not want  to show off  that he wants to return back. He rather says he would like to work for the people and the country. By not attending the party, the ex-king should have made a sound judgement as he has been portrayed by some ‘longing for a come back’ but it would simply not mean that the New Delhi South Block, of lately however,  does not have any interest in the king. Today in India, the Maoist insurgency is growing leaps and bounds. It is widely rumoured in Kathmandu that India now regrets for having groomed the Maoists to oust the king. Mr. Thapa was also ousted from the post of Prime Minister in 1983 by vote of no confidence in the National Panchyat – then parliament  of Nepal. Mr. Thapa used to tell people, 'Bhumigat Giroha' an underground outfit ousted him from the job. The suspicion among the political elites was that the outfit was run by some of the royal family members that would have included the ex-king  Gyanendra and his slain younger brother Dhirendra Shah also. Mr. Thapa's statements were quoted on many leading national newspapers. There was a malicious attempt to assassinate one of the editors, Padam Thakurathi, who widely covered Mr. Thapa's views. Mr. Thakurathi  got shot on his head and lost one of his eyes. An attempt was made to assassinate Mr. Thapa while he was  traveling through Jhallari, West Nepal. He was saved by the local people. This incident is known as Jhallari-Kanda. This veteran politician who has a royalist blend in him mingled with  support from New Delhi also.  Today, two reports from The Telegraph Weekly from Kathmandu.]

Mr. Ram Chandra Poudel, leader of Nepali Congress Parliamentary delegation might have exhibited some flexibility towards the formation of a Unified Maoists' Party led government at the press meet he had called during the day but the outcome of the hastily arranged dinner meeting between some friends of former King Gyanendra Shah and the Nepali Congress leaders at the personal residence of Surya Bahadur Thapa hints that something entirely new and different recipe is being cooked up in Nepali Politics.

The outcome of the meeting, as is being reported, is nothing more than that the Unified Maoists' Party should not be allowed to lead the government under any circumstances.

King Gyanendra was also invited at the dinner but he refused to participate stating that Thapa's residence was not appropriate for him. Perhaps he did not want to see those who cheated him. However, the former King had sent some of his close friends including Mr. Prabhakar Shumser Rana, it has been reported. Mr. Rana is Gyanendra's childhood friend.

More than dozen and a half Nepali Congress leaders were present at the dinner which included Mr. Arjun Nar Singh K.C. and his son-in-law Gagan Thapa. Mr. K. C is long time associate of Thapa. Those who also attended the Thapa dinner were top leaders like Sher Bahadur Deuba, Ram Chandra Poudel, Khum Bahadur Khadka, D. Minendra Rijal, Dr. Narayan Khadka. Dr. Prakash Saran Mahat, Govinda Raj Joshi, and Sujata Koirala.

Though President Sushil Koirala, leaders Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Dr. Shekhar Koirala were among the invitees at Thapa residence but remained absent.

All three of them were having "quiet" dinner at the personal residence of Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli senior leader Nepal Communist Party-United Marxist Leninists, in Bhaktapur.

Thapa from the very beginning has been championing the case of forming a broader democratic alliance. This dinner could have been a part of the same. Thapa is very close to the Indian establishment but also carries with him the Royal bend.

Thapa, reports claim, is visiting New Delhi in the third week of November which will be followed by Delhi visit of Sher Bahadur Deuba. And finally, the sidelined King will also land in Delhi to attend a marriage ceremony of one of his close relatives.

All roads now lead to Delhi.

The trend has reversed. Thapa's dinner diplomacy must not be taken in a light manner.  Thapa is a different stuff.
But who paid the dinner bill? The question remains.



Sushil Koirala
TGQ1: You Mr. Koirala had been assuring your party cadres since the time of the NC Presidential election that you will take needed initiatives in uniting the party. How you will accomplish this stupendous task? Your comments please.

Sushil Koirala:  Yes! We have had no unity in the party till yesterday. There lacked sentimental attachment to the party as such. The freshly concluded General Convention of the Party has sent a very positive signal for having unity among the party workers, activists and the leaders as well. I had no intention to form a panel as such at time of the election. However, when Sher Bahadur Deuba and Bhim Bahadur Tamang took this initiative, me too under the suggestions of some of my intimate ones had to go their way. But such panel formation job was not at all good which is what I feel yet. Now that the results have come to the open and made public thus we must not talk of power sharing schemes. The power sharing episode has come to an end after the conclusion of the party's general convention. This is what I think.

TGQ2: But will the things ahead go your preferred way? Will you be able to unite all? As is being given to understand that you talked, ahead  of the elections, that bagged percentage too would be taken into account? What would you say now? Your enlightening comments please.

Sushil Koirala: You the media people please do not create fissures among the party leaders. The election and its results that ensued have already send unity signals across the party rank and file. It is not the right time to claim that someone bagged this much percentage in the elections and the other pocketed this much.  The percentage talks must come to an end. No talks on power sharing schemes now.

In response of your tagged question, let me say you that no one should talk on those lines. It is not a healthy talk. Yes! I too read such news in the media. But nobody talks on those lines these days. The convention has awarded me with some mandate and I will thus exercise the mandate given to me by the party and in addition, I will also bring into practice some executive authorities bestowed upon the Party President. I will handle those responsibilities in a responsible manner. I will not go in for power sharing model. Not at any cost.

TGQ3: So will you entertain Sher Bahadur Deuba's panel as well? So many NC acclaimed leaders too got defeated in the elections. How will you accommodate them? Your remarks please.

Sushil Koirala: I will not look into this or that. I will also negate the notion of this or that panel. The notion of panel has come to an end now. Only thing remains now is how to steer and manage the party.

Well, we have been talking on those lines with our friends in the party. Two diverging views have come to my notice. The first has it that those who have been defeated must not be nominated at any cost but the second theory is that since the defeated ones too were important for the party and thus they should be accommodated in the party.

It is not that those who have been defeated should be brought or elevated to the central committee. There are other equally important responsibilities which could be awarded to the defeated ones.

TGQ4: Now Deuba has become jobless. How would you bring him in the party's apparatus? Some opine that Deuba must be awarded with some major responsibilities. Have you ever talked with Deuba after the elections? Also tell us as to what were your foremost party priorities?

Sushil Koirala: Though Deuba stands defeated but yet his position in the party's Central Committee, as a member,  remains intact. We have the tradition to elevate the ranks of those who have been defeated in the party's presidential elections. He can't claim that he has no responsibility or is being not awarded with any responsibility. I too got a setback last year. Should then this mean that I have had no responsibility in the party's affairs? Responsibility for oneself should be created. As regards the priorities of the party, well, to take effective initiatives towards giving logical end to the ongoing peace process and also for the new constitution draft.

The second priority would be to develop and institutionalize a sort of "system" in the party. The party now is in a weakened state only because we failed to practice the notion of democratic socialism and its established culture. I will look into this lacuna in a serious manner.

Well, I met Deuba when I was in the hospital. He had come to see me. But we did not talk over the party's future affairs.
I have been assured by Deubaji that he will extend his support to me which has encouraged me in a substantial manner.  I will talk to him. Ask for constructive suggestions. Each and every issue would be decided democratically.  But no one should create problems for the party by raising petty issues.

TGQ5: Is it that the Nepali Congress will not withdraw its candidacy from the Nepal Prime Ministerial race come what may? What has been the root cause for not having consensus among the parties? Your comments please.

Sushil Koirala: The Nepali Congress fought not for power instead for carrying the peace process to its logical end and also for the draft of the new constitution for the country. Well, if consensus is there for these two issues, we will not mind even if there is a Maoist government in Nepal. Unless there is consensus over these two issues, the NC will not withdraw its candidacy.  Even there is no premise to conclude or say believe that there would be "consensus" after our party candidate withdraws from the Nepal PM election race. The Maoists have yet to assure us on firm grounds.

NC thinks that its candidacy withdrawal will tantamount to a disaster until the Maoists Para military structure and the party's army is not dissolved once and for all and in addition the Maoists have yet to free the captured civilian properties. The PLA and other military structures of the Maoists are yet to be sorted out. Unless, a process is initiated to sort out these pressing issues, the NC will not withdraw its candidacy.  Candidacy withdrawal would men to push the country into a dark tunnel.