TGQ1: We presume that you have been in a beaming mood looking upon the sudden demise of the Nepalese Constituent Assembly body? Isn’t it so? You say that new avenues have just opened up. What you mean to say Mr. Thapa?
Kamal Thapa: No it was not so as you said. I felt saddened simply because the nation had invested so much but yet could not draft the desired constitution for the people. In real sense, I felt exhausted in not having the constitution though the people at large longed for the same.
But yet the CA demise has opened up new gates of greater possibilities. This is what I have also been feeling which has pleased me to some extent. Yes!
I mean by opening up of new possibilities in the sense that we had been vocal in making it clear since two years or so that with the prevalence of this CA body, the country can’t receive a comprehensive constitution and thus had been demanding the nation to embrace a fresh poll to have a new mandate from the population. This was, if you recall, were our demands. Well, even if the constitution would have been made then that may have represented the partisan interests but not those of the people. It would have been a document made through the distribution system forwarded and as desired by the major parties.
But with the demise of the CA, new space has been released is what I preferred to say. The people are the masters. An atmosphere now has been created wherein we all can approach the people and seek their mandate pushing our own respective agenda associated with one’s party’s principles and ideologies.
It is this new environment to which I have made such a comment.
TGQ2: We think that you and your party may have been in a pleasing situation with the announcement of fresh elections? By the way, the other 22 parties, including the NC and the UML, have opposed the proclamation of fresh polls. So how you have taken these differing stances?
Kamal Thapa: Yes! We are happy and more than pleased for power has once again comeback to people’s hand. This is what has made us all happy. But mind it that the failure of the CA body in delivering the constitution for the people doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that the people have failed. It is not that. Indeed, some political parties and their leaders have failed. Even if the leaders of some political parties have failed miserably yet we are happy in that the power has now shifted to the people. We hope thus that the remaining tasks could be accomplished time permitting. I am very much confident on this.
To speak against the election is, in my humble opinion, in effect to go against the people and the democratic system itself. Indeed, while embracing the polls, one could have intense debate on how to make the election free and fair. Similarly, it could also be a matter of discussion on how to get rid of the constitutional hurdles while embracing the polls. But to summarily ignore the polls and make demands for the revival of the dead CA body, instead of going to the CA polls, is a matter which can’t be easily digested.
TGQ3: You talk of reviving the now sidelined monarchy at a time when the country has already embraced a Republican order? Is that a possible proposition? Tell us if and when the 1990 constitution, per chance, is revived, would not it mean the country going back to an opposite political course? What say you?
Kamal Thapa: The pressing question now before us all is how to save the nation from going to the brink primarily than of reviving the sidelined monarchy? The question of saving the nation is very important. The most important issue is on how to preserve our national sovereignty and territorial integrity and our national pride concurrently strengthening the democratic order in the country. This is more important. In the process, after the movement of 2006, a political practice was in prevalence in the country with the management of some leaders of major parties. It was this practice perhaps which declared the country a republican one and the nation made a secular one by keeping the Hindu state in a shadow. This practice also announced that henceforth the nation will have a federal order based on distinct identity. Now you tell as to where the country has now landed with all these political practices? We all have seen and witnessed as to where we have been positioned now? Thus when there is a failure then there is automatically the need for the search of a suitable alternative. This alternative has become all the more urgent at this particular moment.
In my opinion, the most viable and suitable alternative, as stated earlier, would be, in my humble note, the restoration of Nepali monarchy with democracy and the revival of the Hindu state. I and my party also believe in the notion that Nepal must not embrace a federal order based on ethnic identity.
Let me be frank with you and tell honestly that it were not the people who rejected the 1990 constitution. If you recall then what will come to the fore is that the emergence of the 1990 constitution too was the outcome of a similar previous movement. It was this constitution which the champions of the movement themselves had drafted. And that was taken as one of the best constitution by the domestic population. Though some political parties opposed the promulgation of the 1990 constitution and some yet remain opposed to it. Now we have an opportunity to go to the people because the previous CA body could not deliver a constitution for the people. But with the demise of the CA body, an opportunity has come to our doorsteps to understand the people’s feeling and desire through their fresh mandate. If we reject such an opportunity or even ignore such a platform then that would be a most unfortunate affair for the State. The new force which has freshly emerged in the nation’s political scene must now be allowed to go to the people. The rights of the people shouldn’t be blocked.
TGQ4: Tell us which party had taken the lead role in the last popular movement of 2006? It is also in the rumor that at the fag end of the last movement, some top hats of NC and the UML desired to see the then King. Is it true or just the otherwise? What you say Mr. Thapa?
Kamal Thapa: The then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had dissolved the parliament but failed to conduct the polls on time.
Later, some parties which had their representation in the dissolved parliament “appealed” the King forwarding formal letters stating that the King should sack Sher Bahadur Deuba from the country’s Prime Minister post and chose one among them as the next Nepal Prime Minister.
After such an appeal was made to the King, a new political environment emerged on Ashoj 1, 2058 BS. But this move of the King irritated the then party and its leaders, some six, who had expected that the King will pick them up for the new PM post and out of annoyance declared a movement against the King. But, their movement had not taken any momentum as such. It was at this time the Maoists concluded that Kathmandu can’t be defeated under the threat of the barrel of the guns and this party desired to have a joint-work first with the ruling sovereign. However, when the Maoists party did not receive any green signal from the King then this particular party sided with the agitating parties then and charted the future course of political action in a combined manner. This was the strategy primarily and the fact is also that. It was once again this tumultuous period, India which always wants to keep Nepal in a politically unstable state entered into the Nepalese political scene as this country too was in search for such a situation wherein she could play with a troubled Nepal in order to extract greater political benefits. And thus India charted a strategy and made the Nepal parties to sign the 12 point agreement in New Delhi. It was this 12 point agreement which encouraged the movement which later gained impetus as well. I must say that the movement was not a pressure group as such till the six agitating parties handled it but instead when the Maoists with Guns took the lead in the management and entered into the movement, with coordination and also making the effective use of the movement themselves, the pressure group took a dramatic shove. The entire homework of the movement was being handled by the Maoists which I can guarantee simply because I was then the country’s Home Minister. This is the reality.
As regards to your tagged question, well I must admit that the leaders belonging to various parties would approach me. They were in close contacts with me as the Home Minister. I used to meet and talk with the NC and the UML leaders. During the talks they used to tell me that the King should restore the 1990 constitution and hand over power to the leaders. But since the situation had gone too much far thus to act as per their suggestions was not possible.
TGQ5: Can it be said that you and your party have completely overshadowed the combined strength of the NC and the UML with the show of your party’s muscle recently?
Kamal Thapa: Well, this is just the prevalence of new consciousness among the people over these years. I take it that way. The level of sense what was with the people some four years ago at time of the conduct of the CA polls was a different one yet the subsequent political events that have taken place since then including the exhibition of the attitude and behaviors of the present day leaders have cumulatively made the people to exhibit their distrust and anger towards them all. With the appearance of a new opportunity at hand, the people once again prefer to see for themselves the emergence of a new set of formidable power and this is the people’s changed desire. It is the people who have changed the political milieu as per their desire and preferences.
Text courtesy: The Jana-Ahwan Weekly dated June 15, 2012. Thanks: Chief Ed.
Published in the Telegraph Weekly , June 20, 2012. Ed.