Dr. Ram Saran Mahat
Leader, Nepali Congress
TGQ1: A national consensus has not been built among the national parties. The country is heading towards even for a more complicated situation. What could be the best and the suitable alternative to get the country out from the current political stalemate?
Dr. Mahat: The present day ruling coalition forced the Nepal Constituent Assembly body to embrace a death when the parties were all in consensus for its longer life. The sudden death of the CA by the current coalition did bring some grave differences amongst the parties. Prior to the death of the CA, some premise for having consensus among the parties were very much present and were kicking and alive and we could have forged consensus. Around that time we could have agreed upon to institutionalize whatever we have had agreed upon as regards the new constitution and the rest of the unaccomplished jobs to be later completed by the transformed parliament, and by declaring an emergency situation we could have discussed on whether to extend the CA tenure or face fresh election by adopting to certain legal measures.
But since the ruling coalition which itself caused the death of the CA now should for having a fresh consensus among and between the parties resign first and open the space for a fresh consensus. The differences that now exist must be wiped out first by submitting PM’s resignation which will facilitate the formation of a national unity government. When Babu Ram Government resigns, only then the parties can have a fresh accord. This will create a trustworthy atmosphere then. Instead of talking of this or that suitable substitute, we must first have an conducive atmosphere which will bring the parties together and if that does happen then we can talk on which appropriate option to be brought into use. We will then begin talking in between ourselves, I mean; the parties will begin talking on how to proceed ahead with which choice.
The government must submit its resignation because it is the acts of the government which brought rift among the parties. To build confidence among the parties, the government must first resign.
TGQ2: But don’t you all need to forge consensus even for dismantling Babu Ram’s government? For this the Maoists too should be ready and surprisingly your party hasn’t so far forwarded the name of PM from your party when the rest of the parties have told that the next government command shall go to the NC? Why it is so?
Dr. Mahat: This is what we too have been talking about. First, a national unity government and then only later other issues could be discussed. This will widen the setting for further talks. But unfortunately, the Maoists and the ruling partnership are not listening to our propositions. This government should walk out as it is being led by a party that was the largest in the CA body and it is this party which has caused the bereavement of the CA and thus the Maoists party led government must resign. If this does happen then only can the nation draw near to the state of May 27, 2012, which will allow us all to institutionalize the entire gains whatever we have had prior to the passing away of the CA and settle the uncomfortable disputes by making serious efforts. But of late the Maoists have begun saying that let’s first settle the disturbing issues and then only can we talk of the formation of a new national unity government. The Maoists can’t say so because it is the same party which caused the loss of the CA body as there was some space to save the constitutional body even at the last minute. The party pushed the CA to a crag. All that we have said is that the Maoists first should agree for a broader agreement, we will forward the name of the Prime Minister from our party the other minute. We are ready to provide an alternative. Or else we don’t want to dramatize that this is the one NC candidate who is to replace PM Babu Ram. Even if we fail in having consensus on settling the disconcerted disputes after the formation of a national unity government, we should then go in for a fresh poll and seek a fresh mandate from the people. There are talks going among the parties what if the CA body is given a short lease of life which will allow settling the disconcerted disputes and even promulgating a new constitution. I don’t think that this could be a suitable option wherein we wish to settle the unsettled disputes by reviving the now dead body.
TGQ3: Looking at the huge expenses that have already been incurred by the State for the CA and also realizing that most of the issues have already been accomplished by the now dead CA body then why for the fresh mandate because you can assemble all what have already been completed?
Dr. Mahat: It is not like that. We have had certain sharp differences over some key fundamental issues even when the CA body was alive. We had several unsettled issues wherein we had disagreement. I don’t think that in the absence of a formal CA, we could forge consent on these unsettled and disputed issues. It is because of this we are left with no suitable option other than to have a national unity government and then go to a fresh poll for having new mandate from the populace. We should sort out those issues in dispute by approaching the people. By new mandate, I mean, it can’t be an election for the same CA body. Now we all must prepare ourselves for a fresh parliamentary poll. The new parliament which will come into existence will thus resolve the entire outstanding unsettled issues which remain at hand.
TGQ4: You talk of fresh parliamentary poll. On the contrary, the Maoists have been claiming of a fresh CA election. What say you Dr. Mahat?
Dr. Mahat: You can’t have the CA election on a regular basis. Instead, we must go to fresh parliamentary polls by preserving the gains of the previous CA body whatever we have had. We have no alternative to this. For having parliamentary poll, we must have a new national unity government which will fix the dates for the said election preferably by next year April or June. The best alternative would be to have this parliamentary polls and handover the entire gains so far bagged to the new parliament formed after the poll. The new legislative body that will emerge after having the fresh mandate will accomplish the rest of the task that remains uncompleted so far.
TGQ5: The Maoists have begun lobbying for the revival of the now dead CA body. Moreover, some from your own party, the Nepali Congress, have also been demanding the same. What say you then?
Dr. Mahat: Yes! Intense debate currently is on for the revival of the CA for some time by settling the unsettled issues which could be a solution. This is being talked in some quarters. But, I for one, believe that the remaining unsettled issues wherein we have fundamental differences which even demands that the issues in question be settled through the conduct of a referendum and that is why I don’t think that the issue of the revival of the CA is not that much a possible and viable option. Some even have been forwarding their logic of the revival of the CA by taking the past precedence into account. But mind it that the CA had a limited tenure of only two years yet it was extended for four years. Mind it that the CA body has not been dissolved by someone but instead collapsed upon the completion of its own mandated tenure. On the other hand, the Maoists have begun lobbying for the resurrection of the dead CA organ. But the fact is that when we had some space to linger the life of the CA around May 27, 2012, it was made to dissolve and thus I don’t think that the idea for the revival of the CA is possible.
Text Courtesy: The Rastravani Weekly dated August 8, 2012. Thanks.