N. P. Upadhyaya, Kathmandu: Could a link be authentically established between two events that raised eyebrows in Nepal and beyond some ten days ago?
The first one is the mysterious but planned release of the declared secessionist turned a political hero Dr. CK Raut followed by the red carpet welcome accorded to him by Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli.
This happened at the time of the signing of the agreement.
And, secondly the former King Gyanendra Shah’s somewhat surprising halt for two days of his already settled trip to Janakpur.
Janakpur is the fertile base where Raut performs his acts?
Can a connection be established?
King Gyanendra perhaps wanted to allow Raut’s followers to rejoice his release. He then preferred to return to Kathmandu to take care of his ailing mother-the Queen Mother Ratna.
After Gyanendra returned to Janakpur, Raut kept a complete silence.
What a lovely reciprocal gesture?
Is it that Raut made a benevolent gesture to the monarch who had honored him with a Medal for his Academic Excellence as back as in 2005?
Dr. Raut is an acclaimed scientist having worked in the US a decade back.
Notably, both Raut and Shah were greeted by a jubilant crowd. It seemed people were the same but the political connotations and the style differed suiting to the two different occasion(s).
But will Raut accept the change in the nomenclature of Madhesh as Terai as pronounced by the former monarch? Perhaps not.
Gyanendra’s notion doesn’t fit into his project for which he has invested a lot of time and energy in the past and hopefully continue to do so in the future.
A wild guess only.
The Lahan National Convention of the new party formed by Raut ended with the announcement of its formation, the name Janamat (meaning Referendum) and shall approach the Election Commission soon for its registration to make it a legal political entity.
Look his stress on the word Jan Abhimat and now the name of his party as Jan Mat-whose literal translation is very close to the word Referendum to what he prefers to interpret his agreement with the State. His jubilant followers too apparently have taken the agreement as per Dr. Raut’s explanations.
A mystery thus remains intact: Has the State knelt down or is it the otherwise? The State explains that it has brought the declared secessionist to the mainstream politics. But is the other side comfortable with the State’s clarifications?
This has meaning definitely. And what is the meaning then? Dr. Raut at best has kept it a secret as of now.
Dr. Dwarika Nath Dhungel opines that CK has duped PM Oli by keeping his status at par with the State while signing the agreement in Kathmandu.
Dhungel made this claim while talking to a TV interview recently.
He emphatically says that Dr. Raut has kept his “Free Madhesh card” under the sleeves even if he has signed an agreement abandoning his former divisive acts or pronouncements that he used to make in the past.
“The agreement in between Raut and the State resembled with how two sovereign countries enter into an agreement”, continued Dhungel.
Dr. Dhungel is a former bureaucrat.
PM Oli should have avoided his presence from such a program which could have at best been accomplished by a district officer on behalf of the State with almost the rebel leader Raut, opined Dr. Dhungel.
Today, Raut has the stature of, like it or not, the Prime Minister by default.
In what could be taken as the fiercest of it all, Advocate Swagat Nepal -a social activist talking to a local TV interview-Khas Sambad, March 15, 2019, said that PM Oli and the home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa be immediately arrested by competent authorities (?) for having signed an agreement with a declared secessionist Dr. CK Raut and in doing so Oli and Ram Bahadur have assisted the secessionists designs of Raut.
Social activist Nepal, who hails from PM Oli’s home town in Jhapa district accuses the Prime Minister to have become already the spokesperson of Raut.
PM Oli has so far not refuted this blunt accusation.
On March 13, 2019, Mr. Nepal and his group have already burnt the copies of the agreement which had been signed by Dr. Raut and the Government as a mark of protest.
“PM Oli has joined by implication the group which wants to split Nepal into pieces”, adds Mr. Nepal.
Mr. Nepal also takes the Supreme Court Chief Justice Honorable Cholendra S Rana as to have been assisting PM Oli by managing the somewhat surprising release of Dr. Raut from the detention.
Mr. Nepal appears to have taken up this issue in a very strong manner and while talking to this scribe over phone assures the nation that he will do all he can to bring the entire drama that have been staged by the government machinery and Dr. Raut to the knowledge of the common people sooner than later.
In a similar manner, yet another Nepali lawyer of high repute, Surendra Bhandari, talking in the Mountain TV “Kharo Kura”, says that Dr. Raut has not made the agreement with the state either having proper love and honor for the country or has he expressed his repentance over whatever he did against State in the past.
This advocate in a polite manner linked the Free Madhesh movement with that of the clandestine efforts being taken by some alien forces which would like to split adjoining Tibet and Nepal’s Madhesh also.
Concluding his remarks, Mr. Bhandari told that until and unless Raut expresses his firm commitment stating that he has abandoned the secessionist activities, the people shall have the right to suspect his very changed credentials in what he and his followers claim that Raut has already entered into the mainstream politics and shall take Nepal as an independent and sovereign nation.
Talking to the same Mountain TV, the former Nepal Army Chief Rukmangad Katwal bluntly said it appeared to him that Oli was signing an unequal treaty with Raut.
“As if two sovereign states were entering into an agreement”, so said Katwal of the Raut-Oli agreement.
Katwal elaborating his stance on the said agreement made it clear that the national politics appeared hazy these days.
To come to the point, the just concluded Lahan meet presided over by Dr. Raut has forced the people to take Raut in a positive manner. A strong political force, indeed a democratic one, is needed in what Raut prefers to call Madhesh or Terai.
But what of the UN officials’ secret meet with Raut in Lahan as some media men have reported? Does the State aware of such a meet? And will the reformed Dr. Raut take the pains to prove his innocence? The national population shall admire Dr. Raut if he assures once again the nation that he has no secret links with any International Agencies such as the UN.
Observers agree that Dr. Raut’s movement has seeds of truths. His anger is to some extent valid which warrants immediate attention of the State. Discrimination of the State persists in Madhesh.
Upendra Yadav, Mahanta Thakur, and Rajendra Mahato have for sure a powerful match now in Madhesh politics with the advent of Dr. Raut.
Healthy competition benefits the nation finally.
Talking to Al Jazeera Minister Upendra Yadav told Al Jazeera, March 22, 2019 that “we are watching carefully to note whether or not he (Dr. Raut) will follow the agreement?
However, while Chandra Kant Raut has acquired a mode of silence after his landing in janakpur, the government agencies have kept themselves busy in defending Raut’s changed credentials. So be it.
But what if he has not changed himself yet despite the agreement with PM Oli who has tentatively captured the State, it is rumored in the political circuit?
His silence is thus mysterious.