India Ruined The Dreams of Democracy in Nepal

. 5/4/09

As Nepal's first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda announced his resignation in a televised address to the nation after an escalating quarrel with allies and President Ram Baran Yadav, a senior minister in the outgoing cabinet blamed India for the debacle, saying New Delhi's bureaucrats had committed an "enormous blunder".

"India supported the army and the president in their unconstitutional acts against democratic forces," Maoist finance minister Baburam Bhattarai said. "It was an enormous blunder. It is going to cost India all the goodwill it earned by supporting the pro-democracy movement during King Gyanendra's regime".

The Maoist leader, who had earlier said he had learnt the ABC of Marxism in New Delhi's prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, where he was a doctorate student in the 80s, blamed the "bureaucrats" in New Delhi for the fall of the Maoist government.

"The politicians are busy with the elections and the decisions are being taken by blundering bureaucrats," he said. "The Indian people and parties should take note of this and India should review its bureaucracy policy."

While announcing his resignation, Prachanda had accused the opposition, some of his own allies and "foreign powers", meaning India, of conspiring against his eight-month government and encouraging the president to work outside his constitutional role by abetting the army.

Bhattarai said his party would now begin a struggle on the streets and from the floor of interim parliament to amend the President's unconstitutional move to reinstate the army chief Gen Rookmangud Katawal, who was sacked by his party Sunday.

However, he said that the new struggle would be a peaceful one.

"Both Katawal and Ram Baran Yadav must be sacked since they acted against the constitution," he said. "Till that is done, we will continue our struggle."

Bhattarai also said that his party would start impeachment proceedings against the president.

If the Maoists' former allies, the communists, move to form a new government supported by the opposition Nepali Congress, Bhattarai said his party would consider supporting or joining it if it takes steps against the president.

In 2006, India had brought the Maoists, who were then an underground party, and the mainstream Nepali parties together who unitedly began a pro-democracy movement that ended King Gyanendra's army-backed regime.

But since the Maoists won the election last year and came to power — against New Delhi's expectations, relations between the two soured.

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