The Twelve-Point Agreement (TPA) between the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) and CPN-Maoist, which was made public on 22 November 2005, marked the beginning of public discourse on the pro-democratic movement of April 2006. Immediate analyses of this event took it for an “unprecedented” venture of the parliamentary parties and the Maoists. The Agreement’s political significance lay in the fact that the signatories, who were in ideological and military warfare only a little ago, had come together to form a pro-democratic alliance to fight the anti-democratic monarch-led government. The Agreement underlined a clear roadmap for the end of Maoist insurgency and the King’s direct rule. It contained Maoist acceptance of multiparty democracy, parties’ acceptance of the need for constituent assembly and the joint commitment for fighting the autocratic monarchy.
With the TPA, the political mainstream seemed to usher into a more specific set of programmes for future albeit the dates and modes of a joint movement remained to be finalized. To the general people, the Agreement fell like a harbinger of hope irrespective of the shallowness or intensity of its wordings. Though it remained silent about the fate of monarchy after the constituent assembly, one could conveniently predict the monarchy’s future position as a major stumbling block through the peace process. Since the Maoists committed to a pluralistic structure, which ensured convergence with the democratic political actors, and since they agreed to permit the mobility of other parties in the community level, there was much to expect at least for an atmosphere of increasing functional coordination for a joint movement even in the grassroots. This signaled the opportunity of relocation to those displaced due to local antagonism, a clause specified in the TPA itself.
The TPA equally initiated a period of confrontation. It formed a two-pronged regiment against the monarch-led government if a mass movement were to ensue. There would be a relatively peaceful combination of the unarmed cadres of the SPA. Then there would be Maoist militants who would apparently present themselves both in peaceful rallies and military operations. Frustrated by the uncertainties in conflict and disillusioned by the king’s policy of militarizing his rule, the conscious general people would side a force that had the potential for resolving the crisis. Siding the anti-government regiment would certainly be a commoner’s preference. Though it would be ironical to collaborate with the Maoists for they embodied fear and uncertainty, and with the parties who could not be trusted for clear visions and clean governance, the people would equally not work for the King who had chosen to bring back the Panchayat stalwarts to consolidate his mission of establishing a dynastic regime, most of whom had either opposed the multiparty practice or remained totally aloof from the country’s mainstream after the fall of Panchayat. Working with the parties would help a faster course for ending the armed conflict. The spirit for collaboration was building up in the parties’ confessions of past mistakes (as underpinned in the TPA) and new pledges to work for inclusive democracy through the election of constituent assembly.
Even in this backdrop, the king was adamant in his stance against liberal democracy, and remained visibly indifferent toward the SPA-Maoist collaboration, while his ministers branded it as the parties’ obvious proclivity for terrorism. The convergence of major political actors rather lent his team a plea to justify his theory of serving an anti-terrorist regime. In his team’s non-compromising eyes the TPA signatories, defiled in bondage with ‘terrorists’ as they were, deserved harsher military charges. The government, more than preparing for a defensive against this two-pronged force, turned more offensive by intensifying arrests and oppression during parties’ street protests. The formation of a bipolar conflict after the TPA marked a period of heightened rhetorical exigencies. Critiques on the TPA and the then political developments represented the exigencies as suggestive of drastic repercussions.
[Excerpts from Doctoral Drafts]