September-October 1999


Election of Nepal : A Vulgar Joke !

— Gaurav


National and international media, including the BBC, constantly raised doubts about whether the parliamentary general election in Nepal will be held or not, right upto the election day (i.e., May 3, ’99) due to the threat posed by Maoist people’s war. But the media dramatically changed its voice and started propagating that the election was held successfully and a high percentage of voters participated in it. The government-controlled election commission prepared a set of misleading data that the votes cast in the election was more than 60%. Instead of going in detail about the whole story of the election only the main trend and some of the typical incidents have been stated here, which will help the readers understand the real picture of the "election" recently held in Nepal.

It is well-known that people’s war is going on in Nepal, since the last three and half years, under the leadership of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [CPN(Maoist)], achieving tremendous successes. In the course of its unprecedented development the Maoist people’s war has been able to establish guerilla zones in various parts of the country and is advancing in the path of establishing base areas. Germs of new people’s power are growing and the exploited masses are enabling themselves to exercise their new power. The rotten old power of the hated reactionaries in the countryside is becoming helpless against the growing new energetic power of the revolutionary masses. Thus, the new power and old power are confronting each other, especially in the countryside. Till now more than 300 local people’s committees and 15 area committees have been elected by the people, which are the real people’s power of the masses, looking after all confronting problems including their security from the government’s armed forces, health care, development and construction works, people’s court, cooperatives etc.

Virtually, two types of elections were going on: one to elect their real representatives to run and lead the new people’s power; and the other, to cast the "vote" to the same hated enemies who have killed a large number of revolutionaries and innocent masses of the people by using armed commando forces who have exploited, raped and looted the people. The CPN (Maoist) appealed to the masses to vote for the first and boycott the second; the government poured in its armed forces to disrupt the first and push through the second one. Thus, for the first time in the history of Nepal, two fundamentally and qualitatively different powers contend with each other and people have to vote to either of the two powers, in some parts of the countryside.

The CPN (Maoist) challenged the reactionary government not to cheat and mislead the people through the same drama of ‘election’ and boycotted the parliamentary election, appealing to the masses not to vote, using various forms such as leaflets, posters, literature, articles, wall writings, public meetings, rallies, torch-light demonstrations, armed action, sabotages, etc, etc. The government which has badly failed to disrupt the continuous growth of people’s war, despite its ‘encirclement and suppression campaigns’, followed by series of armed operations, planned to exercise its total armed strength against the Maoist people’s war on the pretext of elections. The Prime minister and other leaders of the ruling parties propagated that the parliamentary election was a ‘referendum for and against democracy’, ‘a revolution just like that of 1950’ etc. They claimed that it was a ‘fight to finish war’ with the Maoists.

Thus, with the pretext of "elections", the government was in fact making military preparation to confront the Maoist guerilla war. It was revealed in this total plan. They classified the districts in three categories — super sensitive, sensitive and normal, basing on the intensity of the class struggle. They declared two-phase election plan, for the first time in the electoral history of Nepal, publicly admitting and accepting it as ‘due to security reasons posed by Maoists.’ Also for the first time, they deployed the royal army to ‘hold the election.’ Thus they concentrated their total armed forces including the royal army, as a military preparation to fight the war of direct confrontation with the Maoist people’s armed forces. The government media propagated provocative news that ‘the election was the litmus test of the strength of Maoists.’ The Prime minister repeatedly assured its class that Maoist guerilla war will come to an end right after the "election." All these expressions revealed their concealed plan of bringing Maoists into direct confrontation and crushing the people’s war by taking advantage of their military superiority. In this way the government was prepared to execute its military plan on the plea of ensuring ‘free and fair elections.’ The leadership of the CPN (Maoist) assessed the whole situation and total plan of the enemy. Inspite of the people’s war advancing with unprecedented successes, it is in the stage of strategic defensive. According to the laws of people’s war, it would be fatal to come into direct confrontation with the government army right now. Therefore direct confrontation with the army in the polling booths and polling stations was averted. But all the other forms of struggle to boycott elections was vigorously carried out. Raids of police posts, capturing and seizing of arms and ammunitions, ambushing the mobile troops, sabotages, etc., were successfully executed in a big way in the course of the ‘boycott of election’ campaign. On the day of election, ambushing the election team and police party, exploding bombs and volley of firings were carried out near the polling stations. In some places polling booths were attacked and ballot boxes were captured.

There are a couple of incidents which one can hardly find or notice in the course of election in any country of the world. There was an ‘all party meeting’ of the parliamentary parties in Rolpa district which is one of the strong-holds of Maoists. The district administrator and police officers asked the candidates to organise joint public meetings in a few places and to ask the people to vote, from the same dais, because the authorities were unable to provide separate security for them. All the parties accepted this proposal and organised one or two such meetings. It was very interesting to see the drama of the election campaign in which the candidates of all the parties asked the people to cast their votes in their (candidate’s) favour, from the same dais. Is it not really a mockery of "elections" ! There was another interesting event. The district authorities warned the candidates that they were unable to provide security for them, and to prevent Maoists from killing the candidates, they must have to stay at the houses provided by the authorities in the district headquarters. All the candidates accepted the order of the authorities. All of them were stationed at the government houses in the district headquarters (the would be elected representative of the people !!) But one ‘independent’ candidate sneaked out one night to a nearby village ! The next day armed troops searched many nearby villages and captured the ‘candidate’ and warned him not to repeat that crime again !!

In some districts, commando forces entered the village in big numbers and threatened the villagers that if they did not cast their "votes" their entire families will be assassinated. They entered some villages and dragged some people to the polling booths at gun-point. In some villages the commando forces terrorised the people that if they did not go to the polling booths for voting, the total village will be burnt and turned to ashes. Inspite of all the terror perpetrated by the government’s armed forces people did not go to vote. In Thawang polling station no body went for voting. It was already 6 p. m., but the ballot box was lying completely vacant. The polling officer informed the situation to the district headquarter. Authorities sent four persons to the polling station through the helicopter to cast their votes; they were the most hated class enemies who had fled to the district headquarters, after the initiation of the people’s war. There were many booths where only 4, 5, 7, 11, 15, 20 votes were cast.

Some troops carrying ballot boxes were ambushed on the way to the district headquarters. Some other security personnel absolutely refused to carry the ballot boxes through the hill tracks. Then the ballot boxes were picked up by helicopter.

One question can be raised: despite the situation as explained above, why was the percentage of voting so high ? One of the major reasons behind this was that there was unanimity among all the parliamentary parties to show higher percentage of voting with the sole aim of misleading and confusing the Nepalese masses and people of the world, that the existing parliamentary system is still enjoying the support of the masses. The other reason is that the ruling party, Nepali Congress, and the main opposition party, UNM, freely exercised their strength and power in rigging and booth capturing. According to the results of the vote counting, the percentage of vote cast was upto 92.5%. Can we find such a high percentage of voting even in the most developed imperialist countries? Can it be regarded as a fair and free election, and the percentage of voting be considered as the real people’s vote ? Only the ruling class and their stooges can propagate like this. According to the results as announced by the election commission, voting in Kathmandu was 85%. The reason behind this was the issuing of identity cards to only a small section of the voters. Only a few percentage of the voters were able to get that card. That is the reason why a candidate having received only 13,000 (thirteen thousand) votes was declared elected from the most populous city of Nepal. Some of the facts as mentioned above help reveal the so-called high percentage of voting in the last parliamentary elections of Nepal.

Thus in the latest parliamentary election in Nepal, which was held on the 3rd and 7th of last May, people’s dislike and hatred against this system was manifested clearly. The so-called ‘absolute majority’ obtained by the Nepali Congress will not help them ‘stabilise’ their hated rule. The struggle that developed after the new one party government assumed power, clearly indicates that they are absolutely unable to resolve the problems confronting the Nepalese people and the nation. It is becoming more clear that the Nepalese masses can take their destiny into their own hands and the success of people’s war is inevitable.




Home  |  Current Issue  |  Archives  |  Revolutionary Publications  |  Links  |  Subscription