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Dialogue Of Nepalese Leaders

Issue 05, January 29, 2012

Siddhi B Ranjitkar

“Don’t think that our flexible stand on everything is our weakness; if you do it would be a great mistake.” says Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda. It is the warning sent to the leaders of NC and CPN-UML. Prachanda had a difficulty coping with in his party when his colleagues rather deputies had been against his fast moving compromises on everything concerning the peace process and the constitution writing the NC and CPN-UML had wanted from him. Now, he has come closer with all his deputies and he has felt stronger than used to be. So, he has been roaring again as a lion.

“We want peace and constitution on our own terms; we don’t want to go to the previous constitution that has been scrapped by the people. We fought the 10-year people’s war for making a people’s constitution and for ensuring the people’s rule but our chairman has been compromising with the NC and CPN-UML leaders almost going back to the previous regime. We don’t want to see our chairman going to be another Girija that became Surya Bahadur Thapa in course of time, as at that time nobody could pull him back. So, we have pulled back our chairman and we want to make him the leader of all humanity that has been suffering from the feudal lords. That has been the battle going on in our party. It is not the physical battle but the ideological battle. An ideological battle is fiercer than any physical battle. In a physical battle you destroy bodies but in the ideological battle you kill the whole ideology; that is certainly the catastrophe,” says Deputy Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Mohan Vaidya Kiran.

“If the Maoists want to go back to jungles, they could do so; nobody has stopped them but we are not going to step back from our stand on various issues that are so dear to us. First of all, they should return all the property they had captured from our leaders and members of the party during the 10-year conflict. One of our main conditions for completing the peace process is getting back the property of leaders and members of our party. We don’t care what happens to the country, and whether a new constitution would be written or not; we want back the properties of our leaders. In fact, we have a constitution of 1990 and we don’t need a new one. So, our main aim is to weaken the Maoists and get back our lost majority in the parliament and our rule in the country. Therefore, I am not for compromising on anything that the Maoists want. We will force them to surrender all the weapons and sent all the Maoist combatants home,” says President of Nepali Congress (NC) Sushil Koirala.

“I am only a senior leader of the NC; I don’t have much power even in my party. Sushil has dissolved all the district committees of the party and of sister organizations only to remove my supporters from all the district committees and then recruit cadres for the district committees from among his supporters. I am sidelined in my own party. I have tried to garner support for my district committees and for my group but most of the district level cadres are going with Sushil and for following his line in the party. I could have won the election to the office of prime minister had Ram Chandra Poudel given me the chance to stand for prime minister in the election but crook Poudel ran for the election seventeen times without wining the office of prime minister. It is not only shame on him but also on our party. We lost seven months for electing a new prime minister. Even when Mr. Poudel was a single candidate he was running for the election without gaining the required majority. Thus, Mr. Poudel gave Mr. Madhav Nepal the opportunity of staying on in power for seven more months. Mr. Nepal remained in the office of prime minister for 20 months doing nothing concerning the peace process and the constitution writing. Mr. Nepal grabbed more money during this period than anyone of us did during our time of the office,” says Senior Leader of NC Sher Bahadur Deuba.

“The congress leaders had put Madhav Nepal in the office of prime minister. I was the best-suited person for the office but the congress leaders did not want me in the office of prime minister stating I am sympathetic to the Maoists. I am not; I am only following my ideology. Our Madhav lost the election in two constituencies but he got the office of prime minister because of the NC leaders even though majority of the people were not in favor of it. He grabbed everything possible when he was in the office. He could remain in the office for 20 months. Later on, the NC leaders were tired of Madhav because he started not serving the interest of the NC leaders. These NC guys wanted the office of prime minister but they were three claimants for the office of prime minister. Ram Chandra Poudel is the first claimant following the statute of the NC, Sher Bahadur Deuba as a senior leader and as the heir of Girija, certainly Sushil Koirala as the president of the NC but he was not elected to the parliament. So, they were not serious about electing a new prime minister, and let Poudel be the political joker in the election to a new prime minister but poor Poudel stayed on running for the office of prime minister for 17 times. I knew that without the support of the Maoists, nobody could get elected when NC, CPN-UML and UDMF did not stand together. So, I stood for building a consensus on electing a new prime minister. Finally, I got the chance of getting elected to the office of prime minister with the support of the Maoists. However, they did not support me whole heartedly,” says Chairman of CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal.

“I am the most able person to run the Nepalese administration. I ran the office of Ministry of Finance with an iron hand and brought a large amount of black money to surface, and terrorize the corrupt tax officials and corrupt businesspersons and industrialists. Now, I am the prime minister I can do a lot of things. I will strengthen the coalition of my party UCPN-Maoist and UDMF to remain in power. We can give whatever the Madheshi people and leaders want. They have been asking what we really want to give them. So, most of the Madheshis are with us. As long as our party and the Madheshi parties remain together nobody could remove me from the office. It is natural the opposition leaders demand my resignation and want me to quit the office but they also know that I remain in the office as long as they could not make a coalition of all political parities to have majority votes in the parliament. They have tried the coalition of 16 political parties but they could not garner majority in the parliament. I made a decision on legalizing the actions of the people’s courts and governments we had set up during the people’s war. Our coalition partner UDMF leaders have nothing to lose from this decision so they have been keeping a low key on this matter. None of them has lost the property to our cadres that have seized the property during the people’s war. Most of the properties our cadres seized belonged to leaders of NC and CPN-UML; naturally, they have been fighting against my decision on legalizing the seized property. They have been holding the House session hostage for the ransom of revoking my decision on legalizing the seize of the property but I am not doing anything on this matter because as long as UCPN-Maoist and UDMF are together I remain in the office. I have told them I will not enforce this decision but I don’t care of what they have been doing in the parliament. I know that we also have held the House session hostage without any success. In fact, NC lawmakers had first demonstrated how to hold the House hostage then the CPN-UML did it finally we did it. Now, the NC and CPN-UML together have been doing. It is a political cycle. I would like to show them how we could run the administration. I want to make my administration accountable to the people. Our service delivery should be most efficient. I want to develop the remote and backward areas. I want to implement the large development projects giving them the national importance. Let us see how they will come out,” says Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai.

“Our comrade Jhalanath Khanal had remained in the office of prime minister for six months doing nothing. He has been a shameless comrade since he defeated me in the election to the office of chairman of our party unscrupulously buying five hundred votes. Even though I was the next claimant for the office of prime minister after comrade Madhav had left the office I voted for comrade Jhalanath but I did not support him whole heartedly, as he had been riding on the shoulders of the Maoists. He could not do anything concerning the peace process and the constitution writing, as he did not enjoy the full support of the Maoists. He became the punching bag for the NC and the Madheshi leaders. He had been the weakest prime minister. The Maoists had supported him as long as they did not find any alternative to him. Finally, they made a coalition with the Madheshi front called UDMF and fired Jhalanath from the position of prime minister. Poor Jhalanath had done nothing except for hanging his pictures along with the pictures of other prime ministers at the office of the state secretariat; he could not make even state visits to India and China as a prime minister because Indians did not like him; Chinese did not want him,” says leader of CPN-UML KP Oli.

“I am glad that the NC and CPN-UML leaders have corned our chairman Prachanda even though he has been compromising on one issue after another going against our party decisions, and provoking our leaders to take drastic measures to stop him from going to make any compromise on any issue. Our party had reached the stage of breaking into two but thanks to the NC and CPN-UML leaders we keep it in a single piece one again. Now, we are not going to step back from our stand on the state restructuring, the system of governance and so on. We have lost many things that we have achieved during the people’s war. We have dissolved the people’s courts, people’s government and have even returned some of the properties our cadres had seized from the large landlords that had gained the land illegally and unjustly from the poor in the past. Now, we are not giving these properties to the leaders of NC and CPN-UML no matter what they would do on this matter. They have no support of the people as we do. They have been cheating the people but we really want to see our people emerge out of the poverty. Our Chairman has realized his mistakes and now ready to launch a people’s movement if we could not promulgate a new constitution from this Constituent Assembly. The history says that the people never lost the movement only the unscrupulous and despotic rulers lose,” says leader of UCPN-Maoist CP Gajurel.

“NC and CPN-UML leaders are not for the federalism and for giving power to the people. If we agree on not demanding the federal states then the NC and CPN-UML leaders would immediately agree on completing the constitution writing. They have been delaying the writing of a new constitution because they don’t want to give power to Madheshi people. Recently, Chairman of CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal has said that he is not for making states following the ethnic groups. Similarly, other leaders such as NC President Sushil Koirala and his colleagues have been against forming states favoring the ethnic groups and want to continue the rule of one or two communities. We are not going to give up the achievement made during the Madheshi movement. We have been one of the power centers; so, NC and CPN-UML leaders would not be able to do anything without our support. They could hold the House hostage for the ransom of demanding anything they like but they would not achieve anything, as it does not make any difference to the people and other political parties,” says Karna of the Nepal Sadbhavana Party.

“As long as, we don’t know what status our commanders will get in the Nepal Army, and the status of more than 3,000 PLA members that have opted for joining the Nepal Army but exceed the number agreed on the seven-point agreement, none of the PLA members will leave the cantonments. We want our PLA members get honorable positions in the Nepal Army and those opting for voluntary retirement leave the cantonments leave honorably,” says Former Commander of PLA Janardam Sharma.

“We are not for allowing anyone of the Maoist combatants exceeding 6,500 that we agreed on the seven-point deal to integrate into the Nepal Army. Concerning the various status of Maoist commanders they need to follow the norms and standards of the Nepal Army,” say the NC leaders.

From the dialogue of the political leaders we can see that the country is sailing in the unknown sea. We don’t know where our country would land. Maoists would not go back to jungles as NC President Sushil Koirala wanted them to go. Most probably, NC and CPN-UML leaders are over confident in their ability, so, they are not aware of how they have alienated the people. They have been giving shelter to the criminals in their parties. Criminalization of the politics is not only the most dangerous to their political parties but also to the state. Rather than following the rule of law, they want political chaos anticipating benefiting from such situation. They don’t realize that completing the peace process and the constitution writing are in favor of them; so, they have been lingering over to complete these two nationally important issues.

January 28, 2012

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