Nepal witnessed an extraordinary popular movement in April 2006.The movement aimed at restoring democracy; it was aimed at regaining popular control over govt. from the king.


Nepal a third wave country, had won democracy in 1990.
–King was formally the head of the state but the real power was excerised by the elected representatives.
–The king Birendra, was the one who accepted this transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy, he and his family was massacred in 2001.
–King Gyanendra the new king of Nepal was not prepared to accept democratic rule, on February 2005 he dismissed the Prime minister and dissolved the popularly elected Parliament.

Events during the popular revolt:

1.All the political parties in the parliament formed an alliance–Seven party alliances–SPA and called for four day strike in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
2. The protests turned into indefinite strike in which Maoist and various organisations joined hands.
3. People defied curfews and took to streets.
4. More than lakhs of people gathered almost everyday to demand restoration of democracy, on 21 April they served an ultimatum to the king and the leaders rejected the halfhearted concessions given by the king and struck to their
5. Their main demands were–a) restoration of parliament,
b) Power to an all party govt.
c) New constituent assembly.


On 24th April, the king was forced to concede to all the demands
–Girija Prasad Koirala was chosen as the new PM of the interim govt.
–The SPA & Maoist came to an understanding as to how new Constituent Assembly was to be elected.
–Parliament passed laws taking most of the powers of the king.
It was known as second movement of democracy in Nepal.


–Bolivia is a small and poor country in Latin America. The World Bank pressuried the govt. to give up its control over the municipal water supply.
–The govt. sold off these rights to an MNC. The company immediately increased the prices four times.
–In January 2006 a new alliance of labour, human rights and community leaders organised a successful strike for four days in the city and the govt. agreed to negotiate but nothing happened. Police resorted to brutal repression when the agitation was started again in February.
–Another strike was there in April and govt. imposed martial law.
–But the power people forced the officials of MNC to flee the city and made govt. to concede to all demands of the protesters.
–The contract with MNC was cancelled and water supply was resorted to municipality at old rates.
This was known as Bolivia’s water war.


The two incidents have following similarities
in both cases political conflict led to the popular struggles.
Both the cases involved mass mobilization.
Both instances involved critical role of political organizations.

1.Nepal was struggling to establish democracy while in Bolivia the struggle involved claims on the elected govt.
2.In Bolivia struggle was about one specific policy, while struggle in Nepal was about the foundations of the country’s politics.

1.It evolves through popular struggles. If significant decisions are through consensus than it is an exceptional situation. Democracy usually involves conflicts between those groups who have exercised power and those who aspire for share in the power. This happens when the country is going through transition to democracy, expansion of democracy or deepening of democracy.
2. Democratic conflicts are resolved through mass mobilization. Some times it is possible that the conflicts are resolved by the existing institutions like parliament or judiciary but when there is a deep dispute, very often these institutions get involved in the dispute and the resolution has to come from outside , from people.
3. The conflicts and mobilizations are based on new political organizations, these include—political parties, pressure groups and movement groups.


Q. Which were the major organizations involved in mobilization of the masses in Nepal & Bolivia?
In Nepal:
a) SPA-Seven party alliance of big parties.
b) Nepalese Communist Party—Maoist.
c) All major labour unions and their federations
d) Organizations like organization of indigenous people, teachers, lawyers & human right groups extended their support.
In Bolivia
There was no political party but it was led by,
a) An organization-FEDECOR-it comprised of local professions, engineers &environmentalists.
b) Federation of farmers.
c) Confederation of factory workers union
d) Middle class students and city’ growing population of homeless children.

Q. What role is played by the organizations in any big struggle?
The organizations play their role in two ways—Direct & Indirect
Direct: One way of influencing the decision in democracy is direct participation in competitive politics. This is done by creating parties, contesting elections and forming govts. Citizens participate through voting.
There are many indirect ways in which people can get govt. to listen to their demands or their point of view. This can be done by forming an organization and undertaking activities to promote their interest or their viewpoints. These are called Interest or Pressure groups.
Troll of municipal water supply.


–Pressure groups are organizations that attempt to influence govt. policies
–They do not directly control or share political power.
–these organizations are formed with people with common occupation, interest, aspirations and opinions come together in order to achieve common objective.
These pressure groups are of two types.


Sectional:—seek to promote the interest of a particular section/group of society.
–Trade unions, business associations& professional lawyers doctors, teachers etc.
—-they are sectional because they represent a particular section of a society.—workers, employees, businessmen followers of religion caste etc.
–the principal concern is the betterment & well being of its members & not of the society in general.

Public interest group:- they represent some common or general interest that needs to be defended.
–they are also called promotional group as they promote collective and not selective good.
–the members of the organization may not benefit from the cause that the organization represents. They aim to help groups other than their own members.
–in some cases the members of a public interest group may undertake activity they benefits them as well as others too.
–E.g.-:in Nepal Human rights was such organization, & in Bolivia FEDECOR, In India also we have BAMCEF
BMCEF-(Backward and Minorities Community Employees Federation)is such an organization that campaigns against caste discrimination, it addresses the problem of its members who suffer discrimination and its principle concern is with social justice and social equality for the entire society.

People’s movement word is used to describe many forms of collective action.
–it attempts to influence politics rather than directly take part in the electoral competition.
–these movements have loose organization.
–their decision making is more informal and flexible.
–they depend more on spontaneous mass participation than an interest group.
–Eg.-Narmada Bachao Andolan, Movement of Right to Information,Anti-LiquorMovement, Environmental movement.
There are two types of movement groups:

Specific movements:-they are issue specific movements to achieve single objective
They work in limited frame of time and thus have usually short active life.–
Examples-The Nepalese movement for democracy arose with specific objective of reversing the king’s order that led to suspension of democracy.
In India, Narmada Bachao Andolan is also an example of this.
(This movement started with a specific issue of people displaced by the creation of sardar dam on the river Narmada.Its objective was to stop the dam from being constructed. Gradually it became a wider movement that questioned all such big dams.)
General/Generic movement:-these to achieve a broad goal in the long run.
–these are long term & involve more than one issue.
–there is no single organization that controls or guides such movements.
–Example—The Environmental movement and Women’s movements are such examples.
LOOSE UMBRELLA:-Some times these broad organizations have a loose umbrella. Various movement groups struggling on specific issues are constituent of this loose organization which coordinates the activities of a large number of people’s in our country.
Example-NAPM-National Alliance for People’s Movement is an organization of organizations.

Q. How do organizations and pressure groups influence politics?
They exert influence in variety of ways.
1. They try to public support and sympathy for their goals and activity by carrying out information campaign through organizing meetings, file petitions etc., they also make use of media.
2. They often organize protest activity like strike or disrupting govt. programmes.Workers organizations, employee’s associations etc. resort to these methods to force govt. to take notice of their demand.
3. Business groups often employ professional lobbyist or sponsor expensive advertisements. Some persons from pressure groups may participate in official bodies or committees that offer advice to the govt. These groups exert influence on the political parties without being a party. They have political ideology & political position
on major issues.


It can take different forms, direct and indirect:
–In some instances the pressure groups are either formed or led by the leaders of the political parties or act as the extended arms of political parties. for eg.—trade unions and students organizations in India are either established by or affiliated to one or the other major political parties.–most of the leaders of such pressure groups are usually the activist or leaders of party.
–Sometimes political parties grow out of movements. As had happened
in Assam movement led by students against the foreigners came to an end and it led the formation of ASSOM GANA PARISHAD and the roots of DMK AND AIDMK in Tamil Nadu can also be traced to the social reform movements during the 1930 and 1940’s
–They often take positions that are opposed to each other, yet they are in negotiation with each other.
–they do raise issues which are taken up by the political parties.
–most of the new leadership of political come from interest or movement groups.


It may appear that it is not healthy for the groups that promote interest of one section to have influence in democracy.
–A democracy must look after the interest of all, not just one section. Also, it may seem that these groups wield power with responsibility.
–political parties have to face the people in elections, but these groups are not accountable to the people.
–pressure groups and movements may not get their funds and from people. Some times with small public support but lots of money they can highjack public opinion in their favour.
–they have deepened democracy; put pressure on unhealthy activities in democracy.
–govt. can often come under the pressure of rich & powerful group but these public interest groups and movements perform a useful role of countering this undue influence and reminding govt. of needs and concerns of ordinary citizens.
–even social interest groups play a valuable role.
–All groups function actively, no single group can achieve dominance over society.
–if one group brings pressure on the govt. the other will counter pressure.
–the govt. hears about what people want.
–this brings a rough balance of power and accommodation of conflicting interest.