[Returning to the mainstream of this narrative, readers are reminded that once more an exodus of politicos from Kathmandu to New Delhi has commenced - this time involving NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and 'Hindu state revivalist' Khum Bahadur Khadka - even as speculative stories appear in the vernacular media suggesting that a 'topple the K.P.Oli-led coalition' is being encouraged by the power brokers in New Delhi, before the Oli government presents the annual budget.]
By M. R. Josse
In fact, although the commonsensical instruction from that unprecedented downturn in Indo-Nepal relations would have been to initiate a genuine hands-off policy vis-à-vis Nepal, the shadowy operators of that behind-the-scenes mechanism controlling India's policy-making apparatus obviously seem to believe that it is now a propitious time to have another go at offering Nepal a fresh tutorial not merely in domestic politics but, simultaneously, with respect to how it must bend her knee to India, the wanna-be Great or Leading Power on the world stage.
But, before advancing any further, a few words on my above coinage, referring to
foreign office and intelligence/security establishment, are warranted.
Basically, it is a spin-off from the term 'military-industrial complex' that
was made famous by American President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his 1961 farewell
address when he warned "in the councils of government, we must guard
against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought,
by the military-industrial complex" which Ike claimed constituted a most
puissant vested interest group influencing vital policy decisions.
Returning to the mainstream of this narrative, readers are reminded that once more an exodus of politicos from Kathmandu to New Delhi has commenced - this time involving NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and 'Hindu state revivalist' Khum Bahadur Khadka - even as speculative stories appear in the vernacular media suggesting that a 'topple the K.P.Oli-led coalition' is being encouraged by the power brokers in New Delhi, before the Oli government presents the annual budget.
The timing, it is being claimed, is connected to
desire to ensure that the necessary financial allotments for implementation of
the various innovations set in motion during Oli's Beijing
visit, including those relating to road and rail connectivity between Nepal
and China, fall
Whether such reportedly contemplated moves/wishes are wise or foolhardy is something that only time can determine. For now, however, what can be firmly asserted is the logic of former Indian diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar's commonsensical observation in Asia Times, thus: "Importantly, India needs to understand that respect and influence cannot be extracted but need to be earned, and the sort of crude pressure tactics that New Delhi instinctively resorted to recently against Nepal can prove to be counter-productive."
Against the above backdrop, it can hardly be considered a coincidence that, once again, an attempt is being made to launch a popular movement against the people-written constitution with a re-booted campaign by a 24-party alliance, including those representing the hills, although a majority of parties are obscure if not unknown.
Incidentally, I find it telling that a Time magazine story on Nepal timed a year after the April-May 2015 quakes, should not only be written ostensibly by an Indian ('Nikhil Kumar') but that he quotes only two public commentators - both Madeshis - to bolster his case! Most absorbing is that they are not identified as such, thereby concealing their natural bias.
I couldn't but wonder whether the Time magazine story, embellished with evocative photographs contributed by James Nachtwey, was the firing of an international media salvo supporting the Madeshi cause, much as the one, years earlier, against Nepal's monarchy and the Hindu state.
On the other end of the spectrum, what has muddied the political waters is a plurality of news reports about public demands that the monarchy be reinstated as, according to their votaries, things were much better in Nepal under the monarchy than there are today. Adding a piquant and confusing note to the above is that Biraj Bista, a
minister in the ruling coalition, even led a demonstration at the former
Narayanhitti royal palace entrance demanding the monarchy's restoration,
although Bista took his oath of office under the present republican
constitution! A rum business, what?
Penning this before the
York primaries, the vision of bruising battles in the
Democratic and Republican camps looms. Clinton
and Trump, both New Yorkers, are likely to do well, if not spectacularly.
Some caveats must be entered. While it is going to be an uphill battle for Sanders, none can brush aside the possibility of an upset, especially after the mammoth crowds he has drawn to his rallies in
New York City. Were
that to happen, a contested Democratic convention would be a distinct
On the Republican side, Trump has been raging against the party's 'rigged system' of apportioning delegates even as Cruz, operating under the existing system, has quietly and efficiently harvested delegates from states where state conventions decide matters, like in Wyoming. Republican national committee chair Reince Priebus has retorted that the relevant party rules were in place since long and hence all campaigns need to comply with them.
It remains to be seen whether Trump will obtain more than 50 percent
votes; otherwise he cannot claim all 95 delegates. If he fails to obtain a
majority at the Cleveland
convention on first ballot, it is likely the winner will - eventually - be Cruz
whose campaign is focusing on after-the-first-ballot convention floor
If that were to happen, would Trump lead a nationalist third party movement? As for
it remains to be seen whether the mocked swarms of independents and young
voters who have flocked to Sanders would vote Democratic. Unless that happens,
in November she could lose to the Republican nominee, whether Trump or
Cruz is now concentrating on picking up delegates at a contested convention who would be free, after the first ballot, to vote for him - even those who are bound to vote for Trump in the first round.