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Dr enters political theater, perforce


Staff Writer, KATHMANDU: Dr Shashank Koirala has finally taken the call to step into the political theater incumbent on him and steer the Congress party away from the risks thrown up by rigmarole of politics.

Going back by decades, Congress started as a party which subsequently considered national reconciliation as key to political stability and something that fortified the nation against external intervention and power play.

However years of ideological confusion which can be taken as part of pragmatic approach taking over political process had set in aberration that culminated with the nation turning into a republic in 2008. To this extent, G P Koirala had damaged the party.

Someone who has come forth as a candidate for the position of party general secretary, Dr Koirala has Ram Chandra Paudel as comrade-in-arm and one who is in the ring to take on challengers for the post of part president. Paudel embodies sterling qualities of K P Bhattarai, who insisted on sticking to the party ideology that upheld constitutional monarchy.

Ram Chandra Paudel, Shashank Koirala, Ram Sharan Mahat & Prakashman SinghThis incidentally was the reason why K P parted ways with Girija Prasad Koirala in his final years, with the latter changing course. It is also true that many party workers had turned irritant at K P but what we can now say with the benefit of hindsight is the ire was misplaced.

The stone that started rolling in the form of Maoist insurgency went on to gather momentum to abolish monarchy which was one of the pillars of national reconciliation. What followed next in tarai is yet to be resolved with fire of disintegration waiting to be smothered.

It is better late than never perhaps holds good in politics also. The one who has come up with this message is none other than Dr Koirala, who has literally waked up the party delegates and general people alike that perhaps Nepal got everything wrong when going for the republican order.

Meanwhile the way the Congress party is going to the general convention this time around demonstrates the level of threat to Nepal as a nation, with nothing to bind the nation against enhanced level of external maneuvering and worse.

To the uninitiated, being a true blue nationalist like B P is to come to right mix of policy and politics vis-a-vis both China and India.

And anyone who is anyone can tell the severity of the need to have one in place and practice now than as always has been the need for it. And element of steadfastness is crucial and center to B P and his thought.

Congress has always been a party which did not witness stampede to capture the party and more so in the run up to the convention. One could attribute the current stampede to sudden death of its incumbent president Sushil Koirala. But what has overtaken the party now had come to the fore well before his death.

Sher Bahadur Deuba, who had long been saying Congress must come out of the Koirala family for reasons one could interpret in very many ways, now has Krishna Prasad Sitaula as a tacit partner in his pursuit.

Sitaula, who rose in party rank something that was phenomenal, cannot be expecting to win the party election. He has just pitched in to try and whittle some votes away from party establishment faction and thus serve a purpose to help Deuba.

How a lowly party worker whose rise was miraculous and later went on to serve as liaison officer of sort when brokering peace which had deep Indian involvement only points out his mission is still incomplete. Sitaula can go miles and Deuba who has another well known character in Arjun Narsingh KC in his team, could not have found Sitaula fighting common rival by mere accident. The puzzle is piecing together and hence the threat.

The announcement that he is contesting for the party president has no basis unless of course one is to assume that Sitaula is over-ambitious. This exposes a design to have Congress establishment eliminated, if they can, for understandable reasons.

Sitaula was “closer” to G P and by dint of that worked as emissary during “critical” phase of talks involving Maoist leadership , India, and government headed by G P. How could someone who was insider when G P was still around part ways with the family after him?

Looked at in this light and going by general opinion about G P, he too was a suspect when it came to uphold nationalism partly under greed in his later years to fulfill his dream to wear the crown as the first president of the republic or partly because of some deeper mystery. Or had he too sold himself away?

History will judge him. But one thing is for sure: Dr Koirala was discouraged or very nearly heckled whenever he expressed desire to become active in politics as long as G P was around. Impression was someone somewhere did not want B P scion to step into politics at all. G P encouraged Sujata instead and powers that be saw no threat in her.

But here he is although belatedly and with the original message that Nepal perhaps needs to reset its politics to national reconciliation mode something his illustrious father suggested to ward off games, power play and worse in Nepal.

One can say that instances of Dr Koirala stepping into political theater now and BP returning to Nepal in 1976 talking of national reconciliation have parallel in common albeit thrown apart by decades.

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