UML leader, Nepal
TGQ1: The UML party decided not to be a partner in the new government. But why it did so? Is it that some agreed upon consensus was broken?
Dhakal: You all know that the UML was always in favor of and advocating for the formation of a national unity government. We consider it to be so simply because in our party’s opinion, only a national unity government can draft the constitution with the mandate of the last movement. This is our firm belief. That’s why we had sought the resignation of Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai. We signed a document on national consensus only for the formation of a national unity government. But unfortunately, the parties and the Prime Minister, the signatories of the fresh pact, himself ignored the inked consensus which is why we kept ourselves at a distance and decided not be partner the current government.
Well, it had been agreed that a consensus among all the parties will be reached over the issues that still remain contentious and demand its settlement. But none of the parties concentrated their efforts on the very spirit of the signed consensus deal. Even while awarding the ministerial portfolios, biased activities were exhibited towards the UML party. It was done in a unilateral manner. We felt that our party was being deliberately ignored. And that is why the atmosphere for having a national consensus got disturbed. In order to break the consensus unity efforts, several seen and unseen forces came into play. Invisible forces too had its share in deteriorating the entire phenomenon.
TGQ2: When you talk of such a big thing of having national consensus, doesn’t the issue of ministerial portfolio distribution a trivial matter? Yet weren’t these trifling matters could have been settled having dialogue with the Prime Minister? What say you?
Dhakal: Well, some may take this issue as a smaller one having no political significance. But mind it that things moved just against the freshly signed five point deal. Was it a step towards having national consensus? Or was it an act to damage the entire unity efforts aimed at having consensus amongst the parties? This is very important and must be analyzed. We have told that whether or not we are in the government, the finalization of the peace and the constitution drafting processes will not be influenced by our decision in any manner or whatsoever. We will play a constructive role even by remaining out from the government structure.
Interesting is the fact that the three parties together with the Madhesi Front sign an agreement on consensus building but while distributing the ministerial allocation, the agreement or for that matter say the consensus was deliberately ignored? The fact is that things went against the agreed upon consensus that was well signed. The Prime Minister distributed the ministries under his personal whims. Isn’t it an act which could be taken as calculated disruption of the agreed upon consensus? Moreover, some invisible power centers have heightened their nasty activities and been influencing Nepalese politics. The parties are toeing their line of thoughts. The UML will not take on the wrong path as is being observed of late.
TGQ3: What you mean when you claim that there has been some sort of outside unwanted maneuvering? If so then why your own party Chairman signed the five point deal?
Dhakal: The people at large have already been informed by the Nepali media that the nation’s Prime Minister, the Chairmen of all the major political parties have arrived at a consensus in the presence of some foreign envoys. Foreign envoy has participated in the Nepal party meet. This is now known to all and sundry. Are we that much fool not to have understood this phenomenon? We too have some knowledge of the entire events on how such a deal was freshly signed.
National consensus is the need of the hour and also of the nation. There is no alternative to consensus. But to forge a consensus amongst the Nepalese parties, the Nepali parties were not able in themselves. They have proved for themselves that they were incompetent ones. When we have understood this affair then there should be efforts aimed at correcting those blunders. We can’t move ahead with them simply as obedient students.
TGQ4: Do you expect that an atmosphere for consensus will once again surface?
Dhakal: I said, there is no alternative to forge a national consensus. A variety of forces have come up into the Nepali political scene. They just want to turn Nepal a playing ground, prefer to damage the consensus forged and also to disrupt our national independence and sovereignty. They have become active at the moment. There are some forces which do not want the peace and constitution drafting processes get completed and wish to push the nation to the brink and benefit from such a chaotic situation emerging thereafter. It is these forces who want to extract political benefits by foiling the practice of consensus. They want to make Nepal unstable. They also prefer to turn Nepal a buffer zone by damaging the prospect of consensus. But yet the responsible leaders of the parties including those from the UML must forge a consensus in order to get the country out from the current dangerous trend and develop the nation. These responsible forces which are loyal towards the nation must come together by arriving at a consensus. It is a must now which is also the demand of the time.
TGQ5: So you need a fresh consensus among the parties or you believe that the five point deal with correct its deviated course? When this is the situation then how the UML party will cooperate in the constitution drafting process?
Dhakal: I think, corrections are required from where it got deviated. It should be corrected right from the point wherein it took an undesired route. Similarly, others too need corrections.
Well, as stated, we are ever ready to forge consensus. Even if we do not become a partner in the government, we will evaluate the functioning of the government as per its merits and demerits. There is a firm belief that there remains no opposition in the Constituent Assembly. We will act in a responsible manner while constitution is being drafted. We will never play the role of an opposition.
Text courtesy: The Dristi Weekly dated May 8, 2012. Thanks: Ed.
# The UML has already partnered the government: Ed.