To have or not to have PM Bhattarai opted for ‘to have’ , by PROF. BIRENDRA P. MISHRA

The 22-point joint communiqué issued after completion of PM Baburam Bhattarai’s 4-day visit (October20 to 24, 2011) to India gave a detailed picture of his visit. Although, he himself termed it a good-will visit, in reality, it was much more in the changed political scenario, since the CPN-Maoist leader Bhattarai is heading the government after the fall of its previous government in May 2009. In November, 2005, the CPN-Maoist, which was at war with the establishment, joined hands with the seven-Party alliance which too was in confrontation with the authoritarian regime to establish a democratic set-up through peaceful means. Subsequently, the peace process was started, and the CA election was conducted, but regretfully, the peace process is held up for want of consensus, and so is the case with the drafting of the constitution.

Before Dr. Bhattarai, embarked upon the India visit, he sought the advice from politicians including his own party men, but in return got his wings clipped, with their advice not to sign any agreement. However, he decided to act on his own like a strong PM ignoring the advices. Like President Barrack Obama’s latest political mantra of “We can’t wait”, Bhattarai did act boldly as per his conscience, ”I can’t wait any more”, and made up his mind not to repent in the future for not availing of the opportunity available to him. He was well aware of the opposition he would face, on return from India, from various quarters including his own fellow comrades. He had faced them with respect to surrendering their double security covers, and handing over the containers’ keys to the Special Committee to push the peace process ahead.

Although he had shown his shrewdness in appointing his party chairman PK Dahal as the head for the greater development of Lumbini, and to deal with the multi-million dollar project aided by a Chinese NGO, while endorsing the signing of the proposed BIPPA by the cabinet, yet Dahal’s final stand—which counts much now—can hardly be predicted.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Peace and CA were the brainchildren of Dr. Bhattarai. They were born at Chunwang conclave of the party, of course, legitimately six years ago. He has to nurture them single-mindedly to the best of his capabilities. Dr. Bhattarai, who was the finance minister two and half years back, knows the economy of the country, which is deteriorating instead of showing any signs of improving in the past five years.

During the first month of the present financial year, the number of youths going for jobs abroad has shot up to the highest number of 45,165 in a month. The economy is surviving on the remittances received from those migrant Nepali workers.

Unfortunately, the Tribhuvan International Airport is also receiving a couple of coffins every day from abroad. Politicians seem insensitive. Perhaps, they do not have the first hand knowledge of the hard life of the worker as they do not have their own relatives working in such inhuman conditions. As a nation, we are definitely at a very crucial juncture seeking emancipation from the present hardships, but our leaders are engaged in their petty politicking.

It seems to be the height of cynicism to see that we can afford to live as an undeveloped nation than to compensate the foreign investors for the losses caused to them by the party workers, to gain politically. A faction of the CPN-Maoist still sticks to the traditional Marxist approach necessitating poverty for its political survival, and also to have proletariat support for the people’s revolt for they know that establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat is impossible in riches and prosperity. We have to choose between two options-either to remain economically backward, or march ahead to develop our economy; either to depend on remittances or generate our own economy; either to have load shedding for nineteen hours or more, or have enough power to feed our industries; either to get foreign direct investments or let our industries become crippled for want of investment, and either to create jobs in the country or to send the youths for employment else where. Dr. Bhattarai has definitely opted for the former alternatives. He has indeed tried to open the vistas of opportunities by signing the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA). He seems to have led the horse to the water, but he cannot make it drink. If we do not seek any foreign investment and continue hindering the preparatory works taken up by the Indian companies, we are not really inflicting any loss to India, but to ourselves. We are purchasing millions of IC to meet our every day requirements with the foreign exchange that could have been spent for specific works. Our balance of payment has tilted in favour of India.

The lower yield of food crops in the Tarai in recent years have also contributed significantly to the scarcity of the IC as cultivators used to export paddy and rice freely to India, and earn IC. What else could have been a better choice than to create an atmosphere to welcome investments from India? from The himalayan times

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