Narendra Prasad Siwakoti
Lecturer and Political Observer, Nepal
Narendra Prasad Siwakoti from Kathmandu is the Assistant Campus Chief of Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, Kathmandu. He has been teaching for over fourteen years at the faculty of English. Currently, he is working on M.Phil dissertation from Tribhuvan University (TU), Kathmandu. He has to his credit half a dozen of research articles already published in various research journals of Nepal.
Sujit Sharma for The Telegraph Weekly and its online edition telegraphnepal.com interviewed this promising academician on several facets of the ongoing Nepali political and diplomatic conducts.
Below the excerpts of this exclusive interview: Chief Editor.
TQ1. The alliance of 13 communist parties including the hardliner faction of Unified Maoists’ Party led by Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ has made public another round of protest programs for toppling what they call anti-people and anti-national government led by Dr. Baburam Bhattarai. Amidst this situation, do you think Bhattarai led government will succeed in promulgating the new constitution by May 27, 2012?
Siwakoti: CPM (Unified Maoist), one of most important stakeholders of peace and constitution drafting process, has been facing critical intra-party conflict providing an impression as if it might split in no time. The alliance and protest programs led by Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ might not alone topple the government so far but it has powerful morale pressure for Puspakamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai to acknowledge the revolutionary spirit that they catered and indoctrinated their own cadres and also to the mass of marginalized communities in the past. To spread mere slogan beyond practical implications, therefore, would be irrelevant in the long run.
Promulgation of new constitution on time would not be hindered by the opposition of hardliner factions for two reasons- first, the decision of the supreme court and time obligation of constitution assembly could compel the political parties to remain united even in differences and secondly, the consensus for integration of PLA into Nepal Army and consequence of peace process has postulated significant development. The question on the division of federal states seems to be quite complicated task which could be equated with the opening of the Pandora’s Box. However, despite these complications, I think, Bhattarai led government will and should succeed in promulgation of constitution on 27 May, 2012.
TQ2. Chairman of Unified Maoist Puspha Kamal Dahal has recently alleged the party hardliner panel for having clandestine links with the former royalists and agents of India’s notorious intelligence agency RAW. Why Mr. Dahal, who was frequently accused by Baidya camp for being the agent of RAW has made such grave accusation against hardliner faction which is regarded as a nationalist force here in Nepal by some quarters?
Siwakoti: Hurling grave accusations in Nepali politics seems to have become a common phenomenon. Puspakamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and his party made similar remarks to the government of Madhav Kumar Nepal and tried to topple the then government leading unidentified/ movement but failed in no time in disappointment with the lack of support from the common mass. If we recall, Maoists had declared to forge a tunnel/bunker war against India in order to establish true sovereignty due to the Indian blatant interference in political, socio-economic and cultural aspects of Nepal. They have indoctrinated similar ideology which does not limit to carders of Communists parties but Nepali nationality is also associated in relation to the role of India because of geographical reality, too. Nationalists, therefore, are close to the ideology of hardliners led by ‘Baidya’ faction beyond political affiliation limits. I do not think the accusation of ‘Prachanda’ to hardliners as being the agents of RAW and former royalists is diplomatic and political rather it sounds as strategic to demoralize the opposition of intra-force in the party. I also do not mean that the movement of the hardliners deserves as per the time and context of the issue since the need of the situation for the promulgation of new constitution remains more relevant in strengthening the nationality even though it does not resolve the issues of sovereignty in itself. But the issues of nationality and economic transformation can be further raised by at least having political stability, too. Of course, the ideological thought and practice is incorporated in Nepal by some quarters to which I have already mentioned it.
TQ3. The decision of Unified Maoists’ Party Establishment panel led to handover of the weapons, cantonments and militias to the Nepal Army which has triggered outrage among the cadres and combatants of the Unified Maoist party. Do you think such resentment will have its impact on the national politics in the days ahead? What say you?
Siwakoti: Sooner or later it was to occur on practical grounds what has been decided and acknowledged by the Unified Maoists’ Party Establishment panel as a quite crucial and obligatory step so that shattering doubt among political parties, consensus could be developed. The primary fear of the other parties was about the weapons and armed militias staying in various temporary cantonments. Many political pundits have analyzed the decision as the outcome of intra-party conflicts and grave fear of establishment team which is not their genuine interest. Otherwise they might accuse them for being reluctant to be separated from weapons and armed cadres.
I believe that it is the transformation of Unified Maoists’ party so as to handle democratic practices which the party had accepted to the multi-party system and recognition of people even though they were (are) inciting their cadres that they would install communism by plucking all the power of the state with their physical strength. This radical spirit has been catered by ‘Baidya’ camp who as an orthodox Marxists, aspires to establish the proletariat absolutism and radical transformation of the nation by dismantling class hierarchies.
We have witnessed that CPM (UML) got split and reunified due to ideological and strategic differences. It is also approved that parties have split in the past even getting legal status but they were obliged to unite again. So far intra-party conflicts of Unified Maoists and national political progress for peace-establishment is concerned, I think it has got no direct impact which can be witnessed by the agitation programs announced by the political alliance, too. They have announced only mild and awareness-oriented programs that hint their strength and intention. It is quite modest analysis that they would have outrage and resentment to handover weapons, cantonments and militias to the Nepal Army since no other conditions for ranks and procedures of integration had been signed with consensus. But it is the time that they have agreement for integration. So such resentment might have no devastating consequence in the days to come.
TQ4. President Ram Baran Yadav has recently said that he will not endorse new constitution as the Head of State if the basis of restructuring of the state may lead to the secession of the nation. How do you see this assertive declaration of the ceremonial President? Which form of the restructuring of state, you think, will lead to the secession of the nation? Your enlightening comments please?
Siwakoti: The Interim Constitution 2063 B.S. has postulated no absolute presidential system in Nepal but it has the provision of ceremonial president and acting prime minister. The president must approve the decisions made by the legislature, especially constitution assembly which is politically approved by the spirit of revolution under which the President has been elected to follow the constitutional provisions. Ram Baran Yadav can have national conscience and emotion as responsible citizen so that he can make aware the political parties to draft the constitution that does not lead to secession, In person but he cannot act as a new tyrant as if the Ranas and Shahs in the history had performed. If media have not distorted his assertion that Nepalese leaders most often claim so, his most notorious declaration has been no different than the opinions time and again declared by vice-president and other contradictory opinions of Nepali politicians.
It is quite difficult to predict what sort of restructuring of the state would lead to secession since it is an abstract political question. Lord Ram, the ideal god, had supernatural powers to perceive the chastity of Sita in Ramayan epic. How does Ram Baran Yadav perceive the politically approved form of system as a devastating and a virtual one? Does he have constitutional rights and moral justice to avoid at least two-third majority of constitution assembly in particular as a person or institution? People, like me, cannot imagine having the sort of role of our respected president. He should not play the role of party cadres being the guardian of nation. No form of restructuring of the state would lead to secession even though merely racial one might create doubt and fear among the people.
TQ5. According to latest media report, the Free Tibetan activists are now vigorously campaigning against China in a broad day light from Solukhumbu district of Nepal which adjoins the border with China’s Tibetan Autonomous region. The report, which was republished by telegraphnepal.com confirms that some leaders of Unified Maoist including Gopal Kirati, who is now serving as a Minister of Culture, are openly supporting those Free Tibetan activists. Mr. Siwakoti, how do you analyze such move of leaders from the party which is presumably close to China?
Siwakoti: Nepal has to adopt balanced diplomatic role due to its geographic location between China and India. Tibetan issue is very critical one in the politics of the world. The communist regime, human right situation and Tibetan issue have been minutely observed by the superpower nation, America and the West. They cannot hinder the economic prosperity of China so it the issue of Tibet that they want to exaggerate on the Chinese rise in Asia and socialist form of politics the country adopts.
Nepal is the crucial space from where the activities against China and Tibetan issues can be played which is as you said have been reported in media. I do not want to finger any person or party so as to blame and incorporate their ideologies in terms of the issue but it is serious when someone holding the formal position of the state is acting as the agent of Free Tibet.
Unified Maoist is presumably close to China in title and ideology. But the party has not formally documented anything about the issue of Tibet and no any party has political agenda about it. Individually, leaders might be performing as the spy agent of Free Tibet activities whom I do not consider leaders at all instead they are criminals or smuggler entered into the political domain. Gopal Kirati as the formal representative of the State, if the report is true, must clarify his position in no time and the cabinet as well should take initiative in such diplomatic issues without dely. (telegraphnepal.com exclusive).
Mr. Siwakoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org