Chairman, Rastriya Prajatantra Party,Nepal
TGQ1: You take the present Constituent Assembly body as an illegal organization yet very freshly the nation’s Supreme Court has extended its tenure for more six months. What say you now Mr. Thapa? Isn’t it that the people have provided mandate to this CA body to draft a new constitution for them? Why you take the CA body in such a light manner for this body has been constituted for the first time in Nepal? How you explain it now?
Kamal Thapa: Let’s not perceive the things in a wrong way. We have never derided at the CA body as such. All that we have said is that further extensions to the CA body must come to an end. Once the tenure has ended, it must not be extended time and again. This is what we have been saying all along. When the tenure of the CA body ends, naturally one must go to the people for seeking a fresh mandate. This is what is the universal norm of the constitution which is also the right track. This is what our party believes. On the contrary, extending the CA tenure in an unconstitutional manner in series tantamount summarily denying the people of their sovereign rights.
Yes! You are correct but the fact is also that the people had awarded their mandate to the CA body just for two years. That was a limited provision for two years only. When you have failed in accomplishing the awarded tasks then isn’t it the bounden duty of the parties to ask the people as to what is to be done next?
Unfortunately, over the last five years or so, the country is witnessing unwanted and unwarranted affairs. This could be taken as a jocular drama as such. That’s why anything could happen here. But if you talk of democratic norms and constitutionalism then anybody who has been elected by the people must once again go to the people when such elected body, whose term in office has expired, for seeking people’s fresh mandate. This should have been a spontaneous affair. When we talk of the established norms and values then how come it becomes an issue which is being taken in a light manner by our party? How can one oppose us when we have just been talking of the constitutional norms and values and reminding all and sundry to abide by the rule of law?
TGQ2: But hasn’t the constitution allowed the leverage to the parties to extend the CA tenure? Is it that if the parties forge consensus then anything they could accomplish or do? And finally tell us your comments on the SC ruling which has now limited the CA tenure for six months only. Is that good for you Mr. Thapa?
Kamal Thapa: No! No! Not at all. It is not what you have stated. It is not that the parties, as and when they wish CA tenure to be extended they can do so, but instead what has been said is that six months tenure extension could be entertained only if a situation of “emergency” exists in the country. This is what the constitution now in force says clearly. When such a clear constitutional stipulation has been made then you can’t extend the CA tenure for as long as you want forwarding interpretations which prefer you and your politics most. Is it logical? Can it be done so?
If a group of limited parties forge consensus among them and if they are allowed to do whatever they desire then will not it be a sort of autocratic rule and also an anarchic rule? The people will reject such (mis)adventure. In effect, democracy is a system wherein one has to abide by the people’s wishes and preferences but it is not a system which should run under the whims of a small group of parties or say leaders. The soul of a democratic system is the conduct of a timely election. Similarly, the soul of an election is the conduct of another fresh election in a fixed time frame and to get a clean people’s mandate. If people’s sovereignty is to be taken into account then one has to abide by the rules of the game.
Yes! The Supreme Court has now opened the door of the possibility of a fresh election. My party, the RPP-Nepal had been demanding and struggling for a fresh election to have a fresh mandate which is what the SC orders has also said. The SC statement has honored our stance to what we had been demanding for long. I thus personally and on behalf of my party hail this SC decision. But yet it has another facet as well, this is what I consider. The SC has allowed this six months CA tenure extension keeping into account either the political situation or sensing the logic instead going by the constitutional norms. This is what I presume. Yet, whatever it may be, the SC decision has honored the public sentiments and thus this decision is a most welcome one. We will in this extended period enlarge our constructive support to the process of constitution writing.
TGQ3: The country has already gone through several political changes which is about to institutionalize the republican order yet you and your party have been talking for a democracy together with the Nepali Monarchy. How that could be made possible? Aren’t your talks illogical ones?
Kamal Thapa: Look, the new constitution yet remains to be drafted and in addition, the country itself is in a state of overly stretched transition. Looking at our historical, social, existing cultural background and geo-strategic location, what we think is that Nepali democracy necessarily demands the presence of Monarchy. As far as your question is concerned whether it is possible or not then what I would like to say is that if there is the need then there definitely lay possibility.
How can one say that things are being institutionalized? Is it the present political landscape what it should have been? If one looks at the past five years then it appears that nothing has institutionalized so far but instead things have deteriorated for the worse. It is because of these anomalies seen in the country’s politics that our-the RPP-Nepal, demands raised appear to have become more logical and appropriate ones. The foreign play is at its peak, the country is on the verge of disintegration with the emergence of casteism and communalism. The fear remains. Anarchy and corruption too is at its peak. Thus in order to save the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, we need a single such an institution which remains above and far from party politics. This is the need of the hour.
TGQ4: What would you say to those and satisfy them who claim that there is no need of the sidelined Royal institution since the political change is already there? In addition, some even take the last popular movement as a sort of revolution itself. So doesn’t it mean that the revolution sidelined the Nepali monarchy? Isn’t it so?
Kamal Thapa: If the country needs then, not only the Monarchy, anything under the sun can be revived. A prejudiced view doesn’t and shouldn’t count. The necessity factor in itself becomes a formidable force. Nobody can check this force when people think of the necessity in a logical and behavioral manner. Was the Nepali Monarchy sidelined with the preferences of the people? Had it been sidelined through a revolution as such? That’s why I, for one, still bet that if a referendum is held then the Monarchy will garner majority of the Nepali population’s cast votes.
It was not at all a revolution as some claim. Isn’t it that the movement saw a sort of agreement in between the champions of the movement and the then ruling State? This is how the movement came to an end. To recall, the agitating people returned to their respective homes when the King made a proclamation on April 21, 2006.
TGQ5: Why you Mr. Thapa call the former King as the King even as of now? Do you meet him quite often? If so then what sorts of talks crop up during your conversations with Him?
Kamal Thapa: Look! When you meet Pashupati Shumsher Rana, you address him as Rajah (King). If so then what is the harm in calling the real King as a King who still inherits a 240 years long prestigious cultural history? Why you people have objections on these issues? Even as of today, when I visit my own villages, I am being addressed as minister. Should then I now tell my people that I no longer remain the country’s minister. Should I engage myself in providing clarifications? Or should not I accept their honor and value their courtesy?
Yes! I meet the King occasionally. When I need to see him, I seek an appointment.
When we meet, the conversation revolves around the country’s prevailing politics. Definitely, we talk of the present political disorders in the country as a result of which the people were in great pains. I have felt that the King feels pain upon listening to the pains of the people.
Text courtesy: The Ghatana Ra Bichar weekly dated November 30, 2011. Thanks.