Nepali Times

Interviewing Rabindra Mishra

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
..................................................................................................................

timthumb

From the Nepali Press

After stepping down as the head of BBC Nepali, Rabindra Mishra is forming a new political party www.setopati.com, 28 February

Setopati: Can you tell us about the perks of your job at BBC Nepali Service?

Rabindra Mishra: I drew a monthly salary of Rs 700,000. The office gave me a car, health insurance for me and four members of my family and paid my telephone bill. A journalist cannot expect more than this in Nepal. But from tomorrow, I will not be earning a paisa.

Then how will you survive?  

I have savings. And I will be collecting rent from my two houses. I also have to pay back some loans. I will be devoting least 15-16 hours a day to politics, and will work honestly.

Do you have what it takes to transform politics?

It is a huge challenge to put our politics back on track. But many countries which were in a worse situation than ours are now developed and stable. I am confident that we can turn around things in Nepal too. My biggest asset is the support of honest and like-minded Nepalis. Our primary team is diverse in terms of ethnicity, age and profession. We hope more people will join us as we move forward.

When did you first think about joining politics?

I returned from the UK to spend part of my time in philanthropy. But this was like trying to fill the Rani Pokhari with a bucket of water. We built 40 libraries, but over 32,000 schools in Nepal do not have libraries. So I thought the only way is to join politics.

Why a new party?

I was afraid politicians in existing parties would turn me into one of them. Just look at the appointments of the new police chief and ambassadors.

What is your party’s take on the democracy movements of 1990 and 2006?

We always blame our constitution and political system for our problems. We are always fighting to change them. Our constitution was written in a democratic way, and we can develop Nepal within its framework.

There are doubts about whether elections will be held in May.

We can solve it in Parliament. We must address genuine grievances of the Madhesi people, but some of their demands are not genuine, and will benefit only a few Madhesi leaders. The political leadership can decide whether to go for federalism, but the form of federalism has to be decided by experts.

The Madhesi parties were left out of the constitution making process, isn’t that a problem? 

A constitution is a work in progress, it has to be improved constantly. Some problems are due to a lack of trust. Whether we separate Madhes from hills or keep them together while creating provinces does not make a difference.

Shouldn’t you have tried to clean up journalism before trying to clean up politics?

The problems that plague journalism are an offshoot of our corrupt politics. If you clean up politics, you can clean up everything, including journalism.

Will your party contest local elections?

The time to register political parties at the Election Commission has already passed, so we cannot  contest local elections. We will see if we can field some independent candidates. But our target is national elections.

 


Dahal talks to Madhes

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
..................................................................................................................
birganj 1

Umesh Sah Kanu (left) listens to PM Dahal’s televised address to the nation at his own sweet shop in Birganj on Monday evening. Photo: Jiyalal Sah

A week after the government announced the date of local elections, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Tuesday went directly to the people of the plains and asked them to participate in polls despite opposition from Madhesi leaders.

“This election is an opportunity for people in Madhes to express their grievances through ballot paper,” Dahal said. “I am confident that the people in the Madhes will take part in this historic process.”

Dahal used his address televised live to extol his own accomplishments, taking credit for ending load-shedding and speeding infrastructure projects like the Kathmandu-Tarai fast track road.

But he spent most of his 15-minute address trying to persuade the Madhesi parties and people to accept the Constitution and participate in elections.

“No other community needed this constitution more than the Madhesi people, and I can understand their grievances as I was elected from the Madhes,” he said.

Dahal said he was himself not fully satisfied with the content of the constitution but compromised on it because the forces that wanted to undermine the gains of the 2006 Democracy Movement were conspiring against it. He said these forces are still trying to undermine federalism, secularism and principles of inclusion by foiling the constitution and eventually dividing the country.

“I have a question to Madhesi people: will you want these forces to succeed in undermining our achievements and dividing the country?” he asked rhetorically.

Hours before his address, Dahal had held a meeting with Madhesi parties at Baluwatar, and tried to convince them to agree to local polls by postponing the constitution amendment bill. He said it was going to be difficult to secure a two-thirds majority to pass the bill, and the ruling coalition was ready to move it forward only if the Madhesi parties agreed to accept the outcome of the vote in Parliament on the amendment.

The Tarai-centirc parties are still against participating in local elections without amending the constitution first. However, they have kept the door open by saying they will negotiate with the ruling coalition. Dahal is now trying to appease Madhesi parties by creating more local government bodies in Province 2.

In Birganj, Umesh Sah Kanu turned on the tv in his tea shop on Tuesday evening as Dahal began his speech, and said the prime minister should agree on the amendment before announcing elections.

But he said it would not be wise for Madhesi parties call for more street protests. “Madhesi parties must press for the amendment. But if they do not succeed, they must do it by themselves by gaining more power from elections,” he said, sipping milk tea from a little plastic cup.

Jiyalal Sah in Birganj


Envoy-designates recalled

Monday, February 27th, 2017
..................................................................................................................

annapurana post

From the Nepali Press

Govinda Pariyar in Annapurna Post, 27 February

The government has removed the names of Asha Lama and Sharmila Parajuli from the list of newly appointed ambassadors following the revelation of their dubious credentials.

Last week, the government had appointed Lama and Parajuli as ambassadors to the UAE and Oman respectively. While Lama was recommended by the Nepali Congress (NC), Parajuli was a candidate of Madhesi Jan Adhikar Forum (Democratic).

Lama and Parajuli own labour recruitment agencies, and face multiple charges of swindling Nepali migrant workers. They have also been found guilty in several cases, and many swindled migrant workers are waiting for compensation from their companies.

Amidst controversy over the appointments of Lama and Parajui, the government has sent the list of new ambassador nominees to the Parliamentary Hearing Committee (PHC). And the list does not include the names of the two controversial women.

Sources said NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba had asked Foreign Affairs Minister Prakash Saran Mahat last week to not send the names of Lama and Parajuli to the PHC.

“A newspaper had profiled Asha Lama just two months ago, praising her for rescuing stranded Nepali women from the Gulf,” an NC leader said. “But after her appointment, there were a string of revelations about her dubious past which made us rethink our decision.”

Read original article in Nepali here.

Read also:

Dubious dealers

 

 

 


“People want local polls”

Sunday, February 26th, 2017
..................................................................................................................

RMP

MP Radheshyam Adhikari in an interview with Himal Khabarpatrika, 26 February-4 March. 

HK: Now that local elections look certain, what does it mean?

Radheshyam Adhikari: We are late to hold local elections since  24 January 2018 is the last day of the current parliament, and we must hold all three elections before that. Only then will we begin heading in the right direction to implement the Constitution.

Why are local elections so important?   

We need to know we are now electing new local units, not old local bodies that drew their limited power from a law, and not the Constitution itself. But new local units have been defined in the Constitution itself, and will have much more power. Through these local units, local people can decide what would be best for them in health, education and social sectors. People can pay their land tax, and make passports at these local units. The government units will also function as quasi-judicial bodies, and resolve disputes at the local level.

Will new local units be able to enjoy all their rights enshrined in the Constitution?

They may not be able to enjoy all their rights in their first five-year tenure. But they will be enjoying more rights after every period election.

The Constitution has a provision to dissolve provincial governments, but not local units. Why?

Even provincial governments cannot be dissolved easily. The centre can dissolve only those provincial governments that attempt to secede from the country. But there is no room for secessionist activities in local units. Hence, there is no constitutional provision to dissolve local units.

Do you see threats to local elections?

People are desperate to cast their votes in local elections, so there is no threat.

Some people say this election will not be different than the one held by King Gyanendra.

All major parties with nationwide networks are for local elections. So other parties cannot stay out of this process. They will certainly take part in elections. There is no doubt about it.


Double dealers

Friday, February 24th, 2017
..................................................................................................................
Aasha-lama-and-Sarmila-parajuli-768x460

Asha Lama (left) and Sharmila Parajuli Budhathoki

From the Nepali Press

Rabindra Ghimire in www.onlinekhabar.com , 23 February

If Nepali migrant workers face any problems while working overseas, they cannot go anywhere for help but their embassies. But two of these embassies in the Gulf will soon be headed by women who own recruitment companies and face charges of swindling Nepali workers, and have been found guilty in several cases.

This week, the government appointed Asha Lama and Sharmila Parajuli Dhakal as ambassadors to the UAE and Oman respectively. Once the Parliamentary Hearing Committee approves their appointments, they will be representing Nepal in the Gulf countries that rely on cheap Nepali labour for construction, manufacturing and other jobs.

job-track-768x459Asha Lama runs Job Track Recruiting Pvt Ltd, a Kathmandu-based recruitment agency that sends Nepali migrant workers to West Asian countries, including the UAE.

Krishna Prasad Adhikari is one of the many migrant workers cheated by Lama’s agency. Adhikari was sent to the UAE, but he did not get the promised job and salary and returned home empty-handed three years ago. He filed a case against Lama’s agency at the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE). After an investigation, the DoFE made her agency pay Rs 440,000 to Adhikari.

FloridAs many as 23 migrant workers have filed complaints against Lama’s company, but only four of them have received compensation. Others continue to wait for justice, and their hopes are fading as the person against whom they filed cases is now poised to become an envoy to the country where they were cheated.

Sharmila Parajuli Dhakal runs Florid Human Resources, which also faces dozens of complaints at the DoFE. Six migrant workers cheated by her company have received compensation, others continue to wait for justice.

Read the original story in Nepali


The year of elections

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
..................................................................................................................
election

Pic: Bikram Rai

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, after waffling for months, has finally decided to bite the bullet on elections. He stretched it for as long as he could because once local elections are held in May, he has to vacate the prime ministership to Sher Bahadur Deuba of the NC.

Madhesi parties are not on board yet, and have threatened to disrupt elections in Province 2. But Dahal is in no mood to back off now, he too needs elections to boldter his party’s numbers in Parliament.

2017 may turn out to be The Year of Elections. After two decades, there will finally be elections for 34,203 representatives in 719 local councils and municipalities.

Following a Supreme Court ruling that Parliament’s term cannot be extended beyond 21 January 2018, the government ran out of excuses to postpone polls. After local elections on 14 May, there have to be polls for provincial councils and federal parliament by the end of 2017.

Dahal faces hurdles all the way. He has to get Parliament to debate the Second Amendment to appease the Tarai-based parties who are still balking. He has succeeded in defanging the transitional justice commissions but faces criticism from the international community.

UML Chair K P Oli has finally allowed Parliament to discuss the amendment bill from Thursday as a compromise for elections to go ahead. But Chief Whip Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal told Nepali Times: “We will do everything to foil this amendment.”

The UML had obstructed the House for two months, but has concluded that the ruling parties will fail to secure a two-thirds majority and is therefore ready to put the amendments to a vote.

Dahal’s previous strategy was to win the vote by giving ministerial berths to Kamal Thapa’s RPP, Bijaya Gachhadar’s MJF (D) and other fringe parties. But these parties backed off because they knew Dahal’s days were numbered.

Outgoing Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae visited the Election Commission on Thursday, and reportedly told officials India was ready to support elections if they are held. The UML is now asking Madhesi parties to accept the verdict of the vote on the amendment, but they are not in a mood to.

Mahendra Raya Yadav of Tarai Madhes Sadbhavna Party told us: “The amendment bill has to be passed. If it fails, the constitution will fail.”

Om Astha Rai

 


Gridlock again

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017
..................................................................................................................

After the main opposition UML decided to obstruct parliament proceedings, the House was put off without discussing the second amendment to the constitution bill on Wednesday.

Two days after the government decided to hold local elections on 14 May, the ruling parties wanted to move forward the amendment bill in an attempt to persuade Madhesi parties to participate in the polls.

But nine opposition partied led by the UML decided to obstruction the House if the amendment bill was discussed. And the Parliament secretariat postponed Parliament until Thursday afternoon.

Asked if the UML will disrupt the House on Thursday as well, the party’s Chief Whip Gokul Gharti told Nepali Times: “I cannot tell it now, but I can tell is we are against this amendment, and will do everything to foil it.”

UML’s decision might force Madhesi parties to harden their stance. They have already decided to boycott elections nationwide, and disrupt polls in the Tarai. Asked about the success of local elections without Madhesi parties, Gharti said: “Elections and constitution amendment are two different issues, let us not mix them.”

Madhesi parties had supported the Pushpa Kamal Dahal government in the hope that the Maosit-NC ruling coalition would amend the Constitution. But the UML wanted elections, not the amendment.

Stuck between the UML and Madhesi parties at a time when the Election Commission was running out of time, the government announced the poll date, and then tried to appease Madhesi parties by moving forward the amendment bill.

But UML’s new decision has widened its rift with Madhesi parties, which called a strike on Wednesday in the Tarai against the poll announcement. Madhesi cadres pelted stones at the house of UML leader Raghubir Mahaseth in Janakpur, resulting in a clash between them and UML activists. Two were injured in the clash.


 

himalkhabar.com            

NEPALI TIMES IS A PUBLICATION OF HIMALMEDIA PRIVATE LIMITED | ABOUT US | ADVERTISE | SUBSCRIPTION | TERMS OF USE | CONTACT