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01-09-2010, 12:07 AM #1
'3 Idiots' leaves mark on Nepal politics
Bollywood's current top-grossing film '3 Idiots', which has replaced James Cameron's 'Avatar' in Nepal's cinemas, has now made its mark on the country's politics as well.
On Friday, when the three leaders of Nepal's major parties agreed to form a "high-level political mechanism" to end the protracted impasse created by the fall of the Maoist government last year, a popular weekly compared the politicians to the "3 Idiots" - the trio of bumbling students played by Bollywood icon Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi and R. Madhavan.
In a regular column, the Nepali Times weekly reprinted the photograph used in "3 Idiots" promos, showing the three engineering students perched on brightly coloured portable commodes mean for children.
However, "The Ass" column replaced the three students with the photographs of Nepal's top three politicians: current Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, his challenger Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, whose Maoist party has called an indefinite nationwide general strike from Jan 24, and former premier Girija Prasad Koirala whose Nepali Congress (NC) party can make or mar governments in Nepal.
When the Maoists ended their 10-year armed war in 2006, the top three had agreed to form a "high-level political mechanism" to take the peace process forward.
However, with just four months left for the climax of the peace process - the enforcement of a new pro-people's constitution - the parties are at loggerheads creating doubts about the May deadline.
There was a sense of dej and #65533; vu Friday when the Maoists, NC and prime minister's Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) announced they had formed yet another "high-level mechanism" that would be headed by Koirala with Prachanda and Jhalanath Khanal, current chief of the UML, as its members.
The growing public frustration at the protracted wrangling among the three parties to the detriment of national interests was expressed by the weekly.
"Five months after mooting a high-level political mechanism, the three useful idiots of the new republic have come full circle," it said.
The three top leaders, regarded as imperilling the peace process with their bid for power, have become increasingly the target of Nepal's media, dominating the cartoons.
Prachanda especially have been drawing the biggest flak with his recent public statements that exposed the rift in his own party and caused it to modify them hurriedly.
Prachanda recently blamed India for the fall of his government last year and challenged the Indian government to begin talks, saying he was ready to go to New Delhi. His embarrassed party tried to play it down saying it was meant satirically.
Now he has been accusing New Delhi of trying to prop up his deputy, former finance minister Baburam Bhattarai, as the new prime minister of Nepal in a bid to snuff out the Maoist movement.
Five years ago, Prachanda and Bhattarai had a similar tussle, which led to the party demoting Bhattarai and his wife, Hisila Yami. The then royal regime of Gyanendra tried to cash in on the rift, projecting the Maoist party as having split and nearing its end.
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01-09-2010, 12:10 AM #2