President, Nepali CongressTGQ1: How has the Nepali Congress taken the Government’s fresh decision in having legalized the Maoists “People’s Government”?
Sushil Koirala: Let me talk straight. The Maoists have made such a conclusion by completely going against the seven point agreement to which they are themselves one of the signatories. It has almost become a usual habit of the Maoists to keep on signing the agreements only to ignore those later. This is what they have exactly done it very freshly. The decisions that the Maoists led government has taken were not acceptable to us, I mean the Congress party. Our party is clear on the fact that if we accept the legality of the People’s Government would tantamount not only to ignore the democratic norms and values but also would mean a mockery of what the agreements have been made in the past. And that is why, the Nepali Congress will not accept such unlawful decisions and thus there is no question of the Congress party to bow down from its determined position.
TGQ2: So what could be done now to have a fresh consensus? The Prime Minister, to recall, has said that the earlier decision will be kept on a hold for some time. So what say you?
Sushil Koirala: As I see to it, the clear cut way would be to scrap this decision by the government. Earlier the better. Until the government withdraws the already taken cabinet decision, the Nepali Congress, the UML and other parties now in opposition will keep continuing protesting against the government resolution.
Prime Minister had come to see me at my residence, last week January 23, 2012, and I told him right during our conversation that do not look right or left and reverse the government’s verdict and prepare a congenial atmosphere for having a fresh consensus or else a negative message will go to the general population that you have been derailing the peace and constitution drafting process by being in the government. The message has already approached the people. In order to halt this message to get disseminated among the people further, you have to take back your earlier decisions which will only then bring about an environment of fresh consensus among the parties. By keeping the already taken verdict on hold will not work. Do not try to ridicule the parties and the people. The Nepali Congress will not accept any such resolution which goes against the seven point agreement. This is our party’s standard consideration.
TGQ3: But we have heard that you people have been engaged in talks yet? So what would be the fresh political strategy of the Nepali Congress given the present circumstance?
Sushil Koirala: Yes! We have engaged ourselves in talks in order to reverse this decision. The talks are certainly going in an informal manner. On other issues, for example, we have already capped the possibilities of having talks and discussions with the Maoists party and the Government as well. We are determined in this regard. To legalize the People’s Government is a direct attack on democracy and its associated values. They kept on harping that they have joined the democratic system and now look what they have done? Legalizing the people’s Government? Unacceptable. Whose land selling and buying process is the government trying to legalize? Is it that the Maoists in effect wish to derail the peace and the constitution drafting process? The Maoists must now clarify their position at the earliest. If you keep on talking and when it comes to act, you ignore the entire things. It is unfair. If it is so then we have no faith on the Maoists. Because, so far the Maoists have only signed the agreements but never thought of implementing those signed agreements. The party has ever cheated.
As regards your tagged question, to remind you that the Nepali Congress has led the revolution for democracy in the country for three times in the past. This party has ever struggled against autocracy and dictatorship. It is only the Nepali Congress which has fought in favor of democracy and preservation of people’s fundamental rights. The Congress is ready to fight with anyone for the institutionalization and safeguarding of democracy. I now wish to call upon Chairman Prachanda and Prime Minister Bhattarai to talk less and act more. There is no point left to continue to believe the Maoists. I tell them to act as per what you say. Implement those agreements which you accept or have accepted and signed. However, still the Congress is ready to proceed if forged a consensus. We will be ready to abide by the notion of collective work, consensus and unity. The most suitable alternative, what appears to me, is to move ahead with the seven point agreement and implement it both in letter and spirit in order to complete the peace process and drafting of the new constitution. It would just be a day dream to tame others through the use of threat loaded utterances. If someone in this 21st century thinks of searching a suitable alternative to the democratic system then that would be an act of self annihilation.
TGQ4: Is it that your party’s relations with the Maoists have really deteriorated? What about the likelihood of congress partnering the Maoists led government? What would be your comments?
Sushil Koirala: No! It is not that. Our party is not at all interested in deteriorating its relations with the Maoists. We have made no such efforts from our party quarters to disturb our party to party relations. All that we need is to see them standing in favor of peace and constitution draft unconditionally. What you talk bring into practice-this is what I say to them. If the Maoists abide by the past agreements and implement those then Nepali Congress is ready to work jointly with the Maoists.
Not at all! For the Nepali Congress party, being in power is just an immaterial thing. We have no lust for power. The main agenda of the NC is peace and the draft of the constitution.
The Maoists should first provide positive push for the peace process and should accomplish the task of the Militia integration and vacate the cantonments. If done so then the NC too will move with the idea of having a national unity government.
TGQ5: Can’t Bhattarai’s government be given a shape of national unity government? It is also talked that the NC and the Maoists sharply differ in the constitution drafting process? How you take it?
Sushil Koirala: Not possible for the moment. We haven’t even thought of joining Bhattarai’s government. And the likelihood of that eventuality remains a distant affair. Upon the completion of peace process and drafting of the constitution, we will ourselves make efforts in having our own party’s led government. Now it is the time of the NC to take the lead on the next government. Now it is our turn.
I don’t know much of the debate as you have talked. The NC has already a clear chart. We are not in a confused state. All that we need is a constitutional President and a Prime Minister elected by the parliament. This is our bottom-line. We will not accept anything more or less than what is our determined stance.
Text Courtesy: The Ghatana Ra Bichar weekly dated January 25, 2012. Thanks.