3. Audio Tape of Chinese Involvement article below.
NEPAL: PM's Election 6th Round, Audio Tape of Chinese Involvement and UNMIN's Fate. Update No. 232:
By Dr. S.Chandrasekharan. - http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/notes6/note599.html
With the elections to the post of Prime Minister likely to go the earlier way with no result unless some miracle happens, the question many analysts are asking - Is Nepal failing? The answer is no.
A reading of the media both in Nepal and India gives the impression that Nepal is going through a severe political crisis and unless a quick solution is made, Nepal will sink with the current crisis. I see many reaching for the "panic button," though the situation is not as bas as is depicted.
First and foremost: The law and order- it has not improved but has not worsened. The economy is struggling but will remain afloat with huge remittances from the expatriates which in the last count was 28 percent and will be more. The villages which have been languishing in poverty before are not looking up to Kathmandu to solve their problems. They have experienced it before and at the worst many of them will move over to India through the open border to find temporary jobs. And Kathmandu will continue to struggle with 16 to 18 hours of power shutdown in the coming winter.
There is frustration and anger over the continued stalemate over the PM's election. There is no doubt about it. Many seem to believe the propaganda of anti Indian elements that India is responsible for the stalemate. What they really want is that India should openly call for a unity/consensus/majority government led by the Maoists and with Prachanda as the Prime minister.
The three major mainstream parties have been busy in their own way with the Maoists having their central committee meeting, the Nepali Congress busy with the forthcoming General Convention and the UML with their Politburo meeting. They have not met together in the last few days to discuss and come to an agreement on the upcoming PM's election today.
From the Indian point of view, the developments in Nepal should be worrisome and more so when things go wrong India is inevitably blamed. Yet it is best not to send another envoy and the resident ambassador should not be meeting the political heads too often.
The Audio Tape and the Alleged Chinese Involvement:
On the eve of the election to the post of a prime minister for the sixth time, audio taped telephone conversations between K.B.Mahara, a politburo member and a person very close to Prachanda and a Chinese, claiming to have been authorised to talk have surfaced. Mahara in the tape had asked for Rs 500 million to the parliamentarians of other political parties to vote for the Maoist candidate.
The tape has two rounds of telephone conversations. The first tape mentions of the Chinese asking as to the kind of support needed to form the government and Mahara replies that he would need money to buy the parliamentarians. The second tape mentions about Mahara asking for Rs 500 million for the members of other parties and possible places to meet China- Chengdu, Hongkong and Singapore are mentioned.
The full text of the conversations is given as an appendix.
Both the Maoist leadership and the Chinese ambassador have denied the contents of the tape. Mahara is perhaps the closest member to Prachanda and both have gone together abroad to China earlier, Hongkong and Singapore. There were runours then that thye had gone to place their funds for safe keeping in external banks. Mahara is also the chief of the foreign relations department of the CPN (Maoist). One should recall here the earlier video and audio tapes of Prachanda's speech at Chitwan where he boasted of having hoodwinked the UN as also the other political parties!
CC Meeting of the UCPN:
The Central Committee of the UCPN (Maoist) has been meeting since 25th of August to decide on the future course of action if their candidate Prachanda fails to make it even in the 6th round scheduled on 5th of September. The political document presented by Prachanda mentioned that the party will not quit even if the election goes for the tenth round. But subsequently Dahal ( Prachanda) revealed on 1st September that his party will withdraw its candidate if the 6th round does not yield any result. Speaking to a press delegation he said that "party is ready to sacrifice anything to drag the country of the quagmire which is further deepening the political crisis." A tall talk indeed, and he is unlikely to withdraw unless the Nepali Congress also withdraws.
Two other political documents have been presented before the meeting- one by Moahn Vaidya calling the party to prepare for the revolution and Bhattarai calling the party to consolidate what it has achieved so far before going for any change. I will not be surprised that in the event of a power struggle, Bhattarai may be removed as "pro India" for the sin of holding moderate views.
The Nepali Congress has stuck to the demand that the Maoists should implement the three pending issues namely- 1. Management of the Maoist combatants. 2. Return of the seized properties and 3. Dismantle the para military structure of the YCL.
It is doubtful whether the Maoists will ever return the seized properties to the lawful owners and at least not till the elections under the new constitution are over and they will not also dismantle the YCL with its para military structure now stiffened by the presence of a large number of PLA combatants until the next elections.
The other mainstream parties are also to blame as they are unable to force the Maoists even to place the PLA under the Special Committee for supervision, integration and rehabilitation as a first step.
The term of the UNMIN is to expire on the 15th of September and the care taker government of Madhav Nepal has to take a firm decision on its extension. The UNMIN has been extended six times earlier.
Both the Nepali Congress and the UML are not for giving extension to the UNMIN. The Maoists on the other hand want the UNMIN to stay on for a while. Minedra Rija of Nepali Congress has alleged that UNMIN does 'politics" instead of performing its assigned role. The Defence Ministry has said very clearly that the Nepalese Army does not need to be supervised by the UNMIN.
The Army did not attend the joint Monitoring and Coordination committee meeting on the 26th. The official thinking is to seek an extension for a short period, but convert the political mission of the UN into a technical one.
Text of Taped Conversations between Mahara and a Chinese Representative.
Chinese Caller:Mr Mahara, how is the trend in Nepal? The next (round of the prime ministerial) election is coming up and do you think… (what are you) hoping in the result?
Mahara: It (election) is very near, right now. It (the result) is also not clear.
Chinese Caller: Do you think Maoists can get enough seats?
Mahara: No chance. We are trying but it is so difficult.
Chinese Caller: What causing the problem to (get) enough seats?
Mahara: We have already 10-15 (extra) seats but may be (we need) around 50.
Chinese Caller: You need additional 50? And Mr. Mahara what kind of help could help you to get the 50 seats?
Mahara: That is most difficult task, because the south (India) centre - they are guided, control (by) them. So the first thing, it is necessary to neutralise south. Second thing some of money (is) also needed.
Chinese Caller: What (is) the amount you are talking about?
Mahara: It is not clear; It must be discussed with our chairman (Prachanda).
Chinese Caller: Mr. Mahara, I have one of my friends who is thinking about (how) to help but he cannot come to Nepal. So we are wondering if we can set up a meeting somewhere else?
Mahara: Where is his convenience?
Chinese Caller: Do you think Hong Kong is possible for you?
Mahara: With whom does he want to meet?
Chinese Caller: For this matter only you and the chairman (Prachanda). Nobody else.
Mahara: It is very difficult (for our chairman) to move here and there. When he goes to Hong Kong, everybody propagates. Because he was prime minister and he is the candidate of the prime minister(ship) also.
Chinese Caller: So you represent him to meet with my friend?
Mahara: Yes I am ready, everywhere I can go, here and there, but this message must be sent to him — to our Prachanda. If you send the message to Prachanda, then he can give me all authority.
Chinese Caller: Okay this our plan, Mr Mahara. We are thinking about to meet you first to talk about detail how to help Maoists to get the 50 seats.
Mahara: The most important place is if you have (some meeting place in) China. China means in Chengdu. It is the best place nobody (will) know.
Chinese Caller: This is very sensitive and we don't want to have anything to do between (you) and the Government (of China). You know what I mean.
Mahara: Then Singapore is another place. In Hong Kong, there are lots of Nepalis. But Singapore is best.
Chinese Caller: Let me talk to my friend.
Mahara: Hong Kong also may be … this evening I will call you.
Chinese Caller: Can you let me know the possibilities of Hong Kong, next two days?
Mahara: In this phone?
Chinese Caller: Yes, I am waiting for your call by this number.
Mahara: From your source, you must send this message to our chairman.
Chinese Caller: You want me to talk to Mr Chairman?
Mahara: I will call, Okay
Mahara: (At) your suggestion – I have talked with my chairman. One thing is that someone (from Chinese end) is also talking with our chairman. That is correct?
Chinese Caller: I don't know, so far from my side only my friend, me, you and Mr Chairman.
Mahara: But he was not concrete. But I have discussed with my chairman and he says because the election is now only four days left – from outside minimum 50 members (we) need. For 50 members, if we cost them then the minimum (needed is) 10 million Nepalese rupees per person.
Chinese Caller: 10 million per person that is 100 lakh per person?
Mahara: Yes 100 lakh Nepali rupees per person.
Chinese Caller: All right. Actually, the friend that I have mentioned he might be…but I don't want to mention his name over the phone for his own protection. Mr Mahara – You can come with some kind of help; he wants to talk to you first because he needs to know detail due to his ~. If you will be able to pay a visit to Hong Kong?
Mahara: Yes, it is okay, but Hong Kong is – there are so many Nepalis (there).
Chinese caller: For other countries he will need the special visa and that will (attract) people's attention, that he doesn't want. But for Hong Kong he can go there and nobody will know.
Chinese Caller: We are open at any time but for you when will be good time?
Mahara: But it is only four days because we need before four days but - I will try to tomorrow or today?
Chinese Caller: How long you need to stay in Hong Kong? One night?
Mahara: Yes, one night is sufficient.
Chinese Caller: Okay, we can go anytime. So it is up to you.
Mahara: So I call to this 10 or 12 O'clock this afternoon, I can go this evening also. For discussion to me, it is not sensitive. I called an another name and please see my e-mail after 10 minutes.
Chinese Caller: Yes, I am going to meeting, probably I will be able to check my e-mail around 10 am Nepalese time and Mr Mahara if you go to Hong Kong, you just need to tell me the place where I can pick you up.
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