Kathmandu Politics in Retrospection

Published on Aug 30 2010 // Opinion
By RN Pokhrel

It might perhaps appear too early to say as to if the exiled movement led by RK Dorji will yield fruitful results but if his recent activities are selfless-driven, it might drive our long struggle to a good height.

Dorji, President of Druk National Congress (DNC), who was in Nepal after his extradition case was rejected by Delhi High Court, has been asked to lead the democratic struggle of exiled Bhutanese by Bhutan People’s Party (BPP), Bhutan National Democratic Party (BNDP) and Bhutanese Movement Steering Committee (BMSC). A coalition-like body has been announced, which will be led by Dorji, especially to carry on the struggle for democracy and human rights in Bhutan. Of course, the type of agreement and declaring merger of different groups and parties is not a new drift in the political movements and Bhutanese establishments are not an exception. Interestingly, the Kathmandu understanding of August 26 has drawn the attention of Bhutanese from across the globe in three folds.

Firstly, the accord fell in lime light when Dorji, the most wanted opposition leader in the Thimphu regime’s list landed in Kathmandu after receiving clean cheat from Delhi High Court.  The motion declared in favor of Dorji by the Supreme Court of India has flashed a ray of hope amid pro democracy leaders. This signal from India can be taken as a change in the position of India, the champion of democracy, towards Bhutanese political struggle.

Secondly, the setting has been forged in such a situation that the solitary concentration of International community has centered in the third country resettlement of the exiled Bhutanese en masse. Majority of the Bhutanese denizens in the refugee camps are half way through in the ongoing resettlement scheme.

Thirdly, strategically a new set up is in the offing. Of course, they haven’t term the agreement as a coalition, yet, the nature of the declaration and the statement chimes the same. Here the note worthy substance is the set up and the members’ affiliation. National Front for Democracy (NFD-Bhutan), Bhutanese Movement Steering Committee (BMSC), Bhutan National Democratic Party (BNDP) and DNC, these abbreviations reads and contain the galaxy of political leaders struggling for the common cause but never been together in any move before this. If this set up is true to what people have expected and demanded since long back, this is laudable move and an honest acceptance of peoples’ appeals by the leaders, albeit late.

The coalition partners BMSC headed by Tek Nath Rizal is known for an advisory committee for any sorts of peaceful movements, and comprise of chairpersons and representatives from different human rights groups and social organizations. NFD-Bhutan, headed by Balaram Poudel consists three political parties viz Bhutan People’s Party, Thinley Penjore-lead Druk National Congress- (Democratic) and Bhutan Gorkha National Liberation Front (BGNLF) headed by D.B. Rana Sampang and BNDP with most of its executive members in abroad headed by Dr. DNS Dhakal. Note worthy aspect of this coalition sounds comprehensive for that reason that there was close coordination between DNC and BNDP and never had accepted coalition with NFD-Bhutan. NFD-Bhutan and BMSC were working in hand to hand. This shows if the leaders work with committed consensus keeping aside their petty differences can do a lot and go ahead.

The above affirmed understanding has sparked some questions, and answers to those questions hold the truthfulness for the greater cause. In this coalition, NFD-Bhutan headed by Balaram Poudel has shown the worthy presence and which was must, yet, the absence of Thinley Penjore-led DNC-Democratic is the question of the people. And nowhere BGNLF is seen quoted in the locale. The prime concern of the people is DNC-Democratic should tell people if this is not in favor of peoples’ well fare and bring forth the alternative roadmap so that every Dick, Tom, Henry and the like would analyze the motive. People are far more educated. They are in no mood to be ‘yes Men’ cadre as were treated by the leaders in the past. If the reason for the absence of DNC-Democratic in the coalition is the presence of Dorji, this is the true indication of lust of power and position for petty interest still being guiding principle in the leaders.

This is, for sure, the time to forget the past and think collectively for the situation in the hand. If there exist other reasons, people deserve the right to information from DNC-Democratic in this regard. At equal length, this is the time where considerable number of Bhutanese people in the refugee camps are awaiting repatriation to their homestead with honor and dignity, people are being ignored by the agencies in the field of health. As a result, innocent people sacrificed their lives for no fault in their place. Hundreds of non-registered genuine Bhutanese are seen begging for alms in front of the refugee huts to solve their hand and mouth war all around the clock. The degree of frustration in the mind of people has crossed the limit. The cases of suicide are thus being reported at different times from the camps. Involvement of youths in unruly activities can never be a good news; youths lack morale education and engagement.  Hence, the joint effort from all responsible organizations is must to address and resolve the basic humanitarian problems faced by the people in the camp at the earliest. People in the camps have felt the need of representative approach so as to address their plight and the August 26 agreement has shown rare hope.

Another content of the chapter in the agreement is the office set-up of the coalition. At the present context, the issue of setting up their office in Kathmandu does not sound fruitful. Nepal is in the turmoil of unstable political move. In the past, ample approaches were made from different offices stationed in Kathmandu and could not bring any outcome. For this, New Delhi based coordinating office would add more meaning towards any future programs and Kathmandu can bear sub-office. The coalition should have two fold working strategy one based on human rights and the other for political affairs. The first move of the coalition should be to address the problem of the people in the camp as the primary deal and future strategy should be on political achievements.

Now the matter is strategy and approach and then unity with vision and mission. United Bhutanese voice from across the globe for peace and justice in Bhutan has no alternative, thus, the leaders should coin a special roadmap to lead the movement to a successful height.

(Pokhrel, who blogs at http://runapok.wordpress.com, can be reached at: rnpokhrel.1990@gmail.com)