Nepal seeks Paul, the oracle

July 9th, 2010 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, July 9 (IANS) After he finishes predicting the winner of the World Cup, would Paul, the octopus, now revered as Paul, the oracle, like to take up a new assignment?

Nepal, lying in another part of the hemisphere, wants the new star of World Cup 2010 and the biggest attraction of Germany’s Oberhausen town to make forecasts about its dilemma, though some are warning that the complexities of Nepal’s politics could pose a Himalayan difficulty even for the super-octopus, who could foretell Spain’s victory over favourites Germany.

It has now been two years since the nascent republic of Nepal has been stuck in a political quagmire with its political parties unable to come up with a prime ministerial candidate acceptable to all.

Two prime ministers have come and gone in two years and now there are three parties and six politicians in the fray for the third.

As it seems increasingly impossible for the ruling parties - the Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist-and the opposition Maoists to bury the hatchet and announce a consensus candidate, the Nagarik daily Friday suggested that Paul be given the tough job of deciding the 34th prime minister of Nepal.

Cartoonist Rajesh KC, also known as the “Laxman” of Nepal after celebrated Indian cartoonist R.K. Laxman, whose creations are the most vivid commentaries on Indian society and politics, put into picture the thought reigning in Nepalis’ minds as a last resort.

KC’s cartoon showed the six contenders lined up before Paul with their respective party flags. They included Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who despite his party scoffing at religion, has been attending prayers in Hindu temples known for granting wish-fulfilment.

Prachanda’s rivals were his comrade and deputy Baburam Bhattarai, former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba from the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) who was sacked by King Gyanendra twice for incompetence, Deuba’s party rival Ram Chandra Poudel and communist leader Jhalanath Khanal.

“Ready?” asks a man in the cartoon, freeing Paul from his confinement.

“Whosoever’s head he touches will be the prime minister.”

However, the daily’s sister concern, the Republica newspaper has doubts whether even a super-power like Paul would be able to unravel Nepal’s dubious politics, made even darker by double-crosses, conspiracies and floor-crossings.

In the Republica cartoon Friday by Rabin Sayami, even Paul is baffled.

“Nepali politics?” he says. “I can predict only fair games.”

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at

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