J B PUN MAGAR
To understand the current nationwide mischief of the Maoists, you have to rewind to the Shaktikhor Tapes of 2008. In it, Pushpa Kamal Dahal taught his comrades to lie. He is caught on candid camera telling his commanders: “You have to keep repeating what is not true, and keep quiet about your real intentions.”
Ever since the Maoists resigned from government last year, they have been saying, “We have to get back into government one way or another.” It isn’t hard to see that this slogan is a decoy. The Maoists are employing the Prachanda Doctrine of “repeating what is not true”.
The Maoists have learnt two lessons from the elections and their time in government. First, keep the other parties out of the districts with fear tactics that translate into votes at election time. Second, the Maoists always said
“we are in government, but not in power”
, and next time they will not be satisfied until they have a two-thirds majority. The entire Maoist strategy today revolves around these two mantras, and the goal is an absolute majority in a future legislature.
Being a coalition partner cramped Dahal’s style. He couldn’t implement any of his revolutionary slogans, and to save himself from internal party pressure he had to go through with the sacking of the army chief in May 2009. He knew the Indians wouldn’t like it, Girija Koirala had been consistently warning him not to do it, the president had given ample indications it would backfire. But he pushed it through and paid for the blunder. Everything that has happened since is an attempt to turn the clock back.
After coming to power, the Maoists didn’t just drift from their revolutionary goals, they also went soft. Several of the party’s coveted ethnic wings split off, calling the leadership ‘Bahunist’. The party was even on the verge of splitting. In fact, the Maoist central committee has since concluded that being out of power has actually strengthened the party.
The party’s agitations for ‘civilian supremacy’, the anti-Indian campaign, and the escalating protests against a ‘puppet government’ must be seen as part of the party’s election campaign for the next polls, not an exercise to return to power right now. The idea is to ride the anti-Indian wave, and the results of the Himalmedia poll last week show why this may work:
76 per cent of the respondents (even more in the Tarai) think Nepal’s nationality is threatened.
The same poll draws the interesting conclusion that most people blame the Maoists for the present disarray, but also want them to fix it. This indicates an erosion of trust in the other parties that the Maoists also want to capitalise on. They want to keep the cadre engaged nationwide in agitation, struggle and training and have mobilised their ethnic units. They have brought thousands of jobless youth into a stick-and-khukuri force that can stand-in for the YCL if it is disbanded and be useful in future elections.
The Maoists have hogged the headlines and kept rival parties distracted with bruising controversies so that they are restricted to reacting with bland statements. They have always regarded the mainstream media as the next big enemy because of its opposition to violence and totalitarianism. This is why they have decided to cut diamond with diamond by setting up their own print, TV and radio stations.
The Maoists know they have to weaken the strong forces arrayed against them: India, president and the government. They are going after them one by one. The government and India are determined not to allow this to happen.
It is difficult to say whether the Maoists will be successful in their aim of legal state capture, but there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is what they are after.