Surya Bahadur Thapa
Chairman, Rastriya Janshakti Party, NepalTGQ1: You used to talk to the media quite often. However, you appear to have taken a stoic silence of late? Why it is so Mr. Thapa? If the leaders observe silence, as it stands now, how the peace process will come to its logical end?
Thapa: Yes! You are correct. People have been saying like this to me. Look, at the moment, not only the politics, and the parties but also the political men’s image have gone down. Politics is in a downward trend. Not only me, but others too have not been talking of late. Nobody talks of the state of existing real politics. Even the political parties are tentatively in a voiceless state. The entire politics is in a very difficult position since the past one month or so. I think such confusing state will not remain what it is at the moment for long in the coming few days. In my modest opinion, well within two weeks or so, the politics will take certainly a new course and then the political leaders and parties will begin ventilating their minds as usual.
As regards your tagged question, well, the peace process is not only a mere word but the word itself has several dimensions contained therein. The question thus is whether we will be honest towards the implementation of those hidden elements or not? The moment you talk of the peace process, it entails the processes of, for example, integration of Maoists and the question of the return of the seized properties. Whether you are ready to sort out these remaining tasks associated with the peace processes or not? All have their own personal party stands. It is not that the peace process as such is related with other parties. It is definitely a task that is more closely associated with the Maoists. The Maoist party has to extend the demanded cooperation. But I don’t think that the said party is in a cooperative mood. Maoists party Chairman recently talked in a somewhat flimsy manner as regards the completion of the peace process. He had exhibited his energy but in a very submissive manner. To boot, the Maoists party itself remains in a divided state as regards the Militia integration process. It should be the Maoists who must have exhibited its interests in sorting out the stalled peace process. Definitely, other parties have less to do with the peace process as such. There is the absence of an atmosphere wherein one can talk on the peace process topic-wise. When we listen to the talks that emanate from the Maoist party leadership, one can’t believe that this process will get settled in the near future. .
TGQ2: Chairman Prachanda is on record to have said that he expects a major breakthrough soon and that the five point agreement too will come into its implementation at the earliest? Moreover, militia integration is the main part of the peace process. It appears that the Maoists were interested more in settling the integration of the Maoists militias as and when they themselves lead the government on their own. Do you envision so?
Thapa: He may have talked in a highly excxited mood which is a common phenomenon for him though he may have good intentions over what he says or said. Yet, there is no room for believing him at its face value. He keeps on talking as has been our own experience of the past. If one were to analyze his talks that he has made in the recent days and over the years, I don’t believe that his talks will lead to a final solution.
Yes! The Militia integration constitutes a primary task of the peace process. But it is not that easy one as one may think it to be so. Maoists are in sheer trouble at the moment. Well, it has itself created these problems for the party. We can only ease their problems. We can take some initiatives but at the end of the day, it is the Maoists party which has to shoulder the burden. As Chairman of the party, Prachanda must shoulder the heavy political lumber. It would have been be nice if they themselves were in the government and settled the issue than by seducing others for settling the same subject. Yes! The Maoists may have the desire internally to be in power once again and settle this issue once and for all. It can’t be denied. They may have such thinking. Because whenever one is in power, many things, even contentious ones, could be easily sorted out.
TGQ3: Is that possible? Also tell us what you think of the insertion of the word like ‘people’s war’ in the programs and the policies of the government? Your ideas please Mr. Thapa?
Thapa: Well, whether it is possible to do so or even if they try to have their own party government much depends upon the wishes and the preferences of other parties also. It is a matter that is associated with other parties. If the major parties lack ‘seriousness and become myopic’ then the Maoists can form the government on their own. It is not an impossible affair. But normally speaking, I don’t think that this would see light at the end of the tunnel and come into its real existence. Being in power and the thinking that everything they could be sorted out is not that an easy task as may have been in their inner minds.
The use of the word, people’s war, in the program and policies of the government is not an ordinary matter. Not so many people make speeches weighing the words and sentences to what they speak at various platforms. It is very difficult to locate such men in Nepali society. It is not that wise people do not exist in Nepal’s political spectrum. They do exist. The word “people’s war” does have some grave meaning contained therein. It has some ideological perceptions. There is definitely some reasoning for a debate on whether the insertion of the word people’s war should have been done or not. When you insert this word in the government policies and programs then it certainly demands the follow up of the very meaning of the word people’s war. The follow up will certainly demand some sort of recognition from all concerned. The insertion of a particular word, let’s admit, does indicate something.
TGQ4: But Prime Minister Khanal claims that he has no idea or whatsoever as to how the word People’s war got inserted in the programs and policies presented by the government? Don’t you think that the incorporation of this meticulous word has even complicated more the politics? What say you?
Thapa: As prime Minister of the country, PM Khanal remains accountable for this. He can’t escape his responsibilities by forwarding this or that fragile reasons. Yes! As regards the matters related with the national budget, it is a customary practice that the finance minister should explain about it. Can Khanal escape by shifting the blame onto other heads? I think, the UML party which is his own party as such has several potential candidates who could draft the sketch of the national budget. Had it been left to the UML party members to draft the budget, this word would not have been introduced in the policy and the programs. There are scores of men inside the UML who could comprehend the meaning of this word better. The inclusion of this special word in the programs and the policies of the government is a deliberate one in order to make it a serious political issue in the days ahead.
Hundred percent. This would create Himalayan political problems. This word may be recorded in Nepali history as a dangerous statement or better say a devastating one. When you agree to that word on behalf of the government then you are automatically obliged to abide verbatim by the meaning underneath of this word as well. You can’t brush it aside. You have to accept the entire process then. It is not an ordinary issue that could be dismissed so easily. The Prime Minister has done it deliberately. The notion that this word was inserted without keeping the Prime Minister in knowledge is a mere gaffe in strict sense of the term. Both the Prime Minister and the Maoists have kept this word knowingly.
TGQ5: Are you confident Mr. Thapa that by August 31, 2011, the preliminary draft of the new constitution will be made public as promised? Though nobody believes in that possibility but yet how you evaluate the situation thereafter August 31, 2011, if the constitutional primary draft is not awarded to the nation?
Thapa: It has already been forty days plus of signing of the five point agreements in between the major political parties. Nothing so far has been done after the signing of the said five point covenant. At best, the political parties will forward whatever the text that has been so far compiled by the constitutional committee as regards the constitution to the public. Tomorrow the parties will do the same when the political knot chased them. Yes! They will bring the preliminary draft in the form of an “essay” which will be made public. They can give any name to any essay and claim that it was the preliminary draft what the people needed. They are free to do that. One of the points contained in the said five point agreement is regarding the militia integration and nothing has been done in regard to that which constitutes a very important element of the overall peace process. The issue has not even got its access as to whether we wish a democratic republic or a people’s republic? The Maoists completely possess a different opinion in this regard. The Party’s judgments and preferences do not match with what the democratic republic is. Such an enormous issue stands intact that demands urgent solution. In this situation, how will it be possible to provide the preliminary draft? I wonder.
It is not that the constitution can’t be made. They have talked of bringing the preliminary draft by that time. They may finally show us all an dissertation regarding the constitution by forwarding the lame excuse of scantiness of time. This much is left is what they will claim. Will not the people have to accept whatever they provide with? Had the political parties to take a tough and solid decision then what the hell they had been doing prior to May 28, 2011? To convince and assure the people, there should have been a break through much ahead of May 28, 2011. Why they did not take care of the situation prevailing then if at all it were in a disturbed state? It has been already stated that in the first three months these things will be accomplished and the rest will be gifted in the upcoming three months. This means that yet another three months extension is in the pipeline. Well, a sure shot voluminous essay will be presented to the people that will be coined as the preliminary draft of the Nepal Constitution. They will definitely take the people for a ride once again forwarding this or that unsustainable reasons. This we all know better. That’s all.
Thanks Annapurna post daily-ed.