Rajaram Shrestha, RPP-Nepal Leader
TGQ1: How have you been evaluating the current political situation obtaining in the country? How have you analyzed Mr. Shrestha? Do you think that the constitution would be given to the countrymen on time? Your comments please.
Mr. Shrestha: To tell you frankly, the country today is in a suffocating state. If one were to tell you exactly then what can one say is that the Nepali population have never had experienced this kind of sorry state in their country in its entire history. The trouble and pains being faced by the countrymen remains in an ever high state. If on the one hand, the price rise is sky-rocketing, law and order situation has taken a new low, and corruption is at an all time high then on the other hand, the aspect of nationalism is waning at a fast speed. Nepali nationalism has been weakened. There is the visible decay in the democratic norms and values whereas the foreign play is increasing each day. Even in such a situation, the major political parties be it in the ruling coalition or in the opposition appear nauseatingly engaged in fulfilling their own petty party-personal interests instead of looking at the people or working in favor of the welfare of the general population. These fighting parties are not seen serious over the peace process and on the draft of a new constitution. Albeit they have been talking only of the peace process and drafting of the constitution while making lectures. They have made these issues an excuse in remaining in power structure for long. They had promised that they will not only change the country but the faces of the people will begin glowing well within two years when they will draft a constitution. Neither they could draft the constitution in the two mandated years nor could they bring any substantial changes in the faces of the countrymen as promised. To add insult to injury, one more year extension was made for the draft of the constitution but yet the parties did not pay due attention in writing the said constitution. They only played the game on how to be in power or at best kept themselves engaged on how to topple the incumbent government. It is because of such trends and traits; the country is in a state of sheer suffocation.
As regards your supplementary question, looking at the prevailing political situation in the country, I don’t see any indication or whatsoever that we will receive a new constitution on time. There are not even primary signals.
TGQ2: Surprising isn’t it that instead of supporting the constitution drafting process, your party is currently waging a movement? Why it is so Mr. Shrestha?
Mr. Shrestha: We are very much clear on it, I mean in our political moves. We too have been demanding that peace prevail in the country and a nnew constitution gets drafted on time. We wish a prosperous Nepal. For all these to take a formal shape, we have in the past been doing in pressurizing the ruling parties and the government through the conduct of various programs. Even we, as a pressure tactic, called for a Valley Closure which was a grand success. We know it very well that if the present ruling parties draft a new constitution then that would not incorporate the RPP-Nepal’s standpoints. It would not be as per our preferences and the ideologies we adhere to. But yet, when the house itself is in a fire then we don’t want to go on a useless debate as to whether to extinguish the fire a tube well or a well should be constructed first. We prefer that first the house be saved by extinguishing the fire. We are honest in our line of thinking. We still believe that one day ultimately we, our party, will be able to incorporate some of our ideologies into the new constitution. This is what we firmly believe. Our honest thinking is that the country is on a slide, the people and the country stand insulted, and that only fighting for power has been in place. This is our major concern. We have waged a movement in order to do away with all the anomalies what has inundated the country of late. Our main slogan is “Fresh mandate for peace and democracy”. It is not a movement in order to impede the constitution drafting process. Be it clear to all.
TGQ3: What is the logic now to voice for embracing a fresh poll? After all what is the guarantee that the fresh poll results too will act as per the people’s wishes? Moreover, the current political leadership is a republican one and you and your party long for the revival of the monarchy. Should this mean that you people must have been pleased looking at the miserable failure of the republicans drafting the new constitution? What you take it Mr. Shrestha?
Mr. Shrestha: Not only the parties have failed to draft the constitution on the mandated time but appear to again fail miserably to draft the new Charter even on the one year extended time frame. In fact, last year May 28, 2010, the CA body tenure had already expired but yet in an illegal, undemocratic and unconstitutional manner the parties extended the tenure of the CA body. So what I think that by extending the CA body time and again the parties at best have been extending the conflict and acts of violence. That is why we demand the country must embrace a fresh mandate through new polls and write the constitution. Why lingering the life of the CA body when it has become quite clear that the current CA body can’t draft the constitution? Such meaningless extension is harming the nation which is what we believe.
Well, as regards your second question, we are not among those who enjoy when one’s own home is on fire. What is of prime interest is that of the country. We stress that we must have a new constitution. We remain committed to that.
TGQ4: This does mean that given the prevalence of this continued confusion, the now sidelined monarchy may stage a comeback? You believe it to be so? What of your party’s demand for the revival of the monarchy, declaring Nepal a Hindu state and your demand for a referendum on several issues, for example, federal order, if the present day parties manage somehow or the other to bring out a new constitution against you will and preferences Mr. Shrestha?
Mr. Shrestha: Well, talking of the Nepali monarchy, rest assured it will have to stage a comeback sooner than later. This is for sure. In order to keep the national independence intact, what is needed most is the democratic order together with the monarchy. The revival of the monarchy is associated with the will of the people. Mind it. After the removal of the monarchy, the nation is proceeding towards disintegration, foreign play has increased and anarchy is at its peak. Till 2006, we have had simply one armed outfit-the Maoists but now we have altogether 109 such militant groups. Nepal nationalism, democratic order and national security all were under severe threat. The last popular movement proved to be a bane instead of boon. The talk of drafting of a new constitution has simply become a ladder for the leaders to step up to the power corridors.
Our demand remains intact for a referendum on issues of monarchy, Hindu state, and for federal order adoption. These issues are not only important but were of far reaching consequences. Without asking the will of the people, these issues were decided in an arbitrary manner under the instructions of the foreign powers which ultimately attacked Nepal’s unique identity that we had. Give it any name, democracy, republican order, or even Loktantra, these systems were imposed without asking people’s inner wishes. The people’s choices and wishes were completely ignored. We unfortunately even observed election defeated candidate becoming Nepal’s Prime Minister. This must not have happened. We must conduct a referendum and seek the people’s mandate or say preferences. The people did not remove the Hindu state and monarchy. It was decided in a wrong way without asking the people’s wishes. It was a prejudiced affair made then. That people prefer the monarchy becomes clear from the fact that wherever the Royal family members land there is the people’s crowd.
We have been demanding these simply to safeguard our national identities. Nepali leaders carry the agenda of the foreign powers. We are of the view that for sorting out Nepal’s issues and problems we should not visit foreign countries. We have been practicing the politics of sacrifice.
TGQ5: How will you proceed now? Well, the RPP has three different factions, talks are there that the RPP-Rana and RJP-Thapa are making efforts for unification. Will the RPP-Nepal under Kamal Thapa too merge? What say you Mr. Shrestha?
Mr. Shrestha: Well, the main demand today is for embracing fresh poll. We will take steps in that regard. It has no alternative. Mind it that there is lurking a danger of an authoritarian rule if the nation fails to draft a constitution by May 28, 2011. What type of rule this would be nobody knows as of now. We must go to fresh polls even to block the way for such an authoritarian rule that is in the making perhaps.
Well, there have been talks of unification. However, the talks eventually end up when it comes to the ideological stance and preferences. We are clear in our stance. We demand a democracy with monarchy. If others accept our line then there could be unification and joint actions. We will not change our declared stance. We will not accept any model for unification outside the ambit of our declared standpoints as I mentioned earlier. That’s all.
Courtesy: The Nepalipatra weekly. Nepali translation by telegraphnepal.com