Cadre, Nepalese Congress, Nepal
Surendra Deuba, originally hails from the Kanchanpur district, and is now in Kathmandu for pursuing his political career. He is a full-timer cadre of the Nepalese Congress (NC) and is close to the establishment faction led by Susil Koirala.
Sujit Sharma for the Telegraph Weekly and its online edition telegraphnepal.com talked to this young and energetic emerging politician on several aspects of national politics as a part of our ongoing campaign to promote youth leadership in the country.
Below the excerpts of this exclusive interview: Chief Editor
Q1. It is said that the way Unified Maoist decided to bring its
Cantonments, arms and militias under the command of Nepal Army (NA) was as per the desire of Nepalese Congress (NC). What do you think?
Deuba: Nepali Congress (NC) believes in democracy and peace. It had been raising voice for the demilitarization of the Maoists soon after signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). But Maoists were reluctant. Their idea was to capture the state with by which made them disinclined to conclude the peace process which demanded detaching themselves from their combatants. Lately, Maoists establishment faction led by Chairman Puspha Kamal Dahal realized that doing politics under the shadow of gun is not a durable option in the long run. Therefore, Chairman Dahal decided to bring the cantonments, arms and militia under the command of the Nepal Army. NC is satisfied with this step. At the personal level, I salute the courage and acumen of Chairman Dahal who made such a bold decision amidst the escalating intra-party wrangling.
TQ2. If NC’s demands were fulfilled in peace process, then why it is still not becoming flexible in constitution drafting process?
Deuba: If constitution is drafted according to the desire of the Maoists, then the ethnic animosity among the Nepali population is sure to take a dangerous turn. This will lead to the emergence of dictatorship in the country. NC believes in democracy. NC had taken initiation to overthrow autocratic Rana and Shah Regime in the past. How can a party with such glorious past agree in drafting of the new constitution which will inevitably lead to the emergence of autocrats? For the sake of democracy and people, NC will not deter from its standpoints. NC is committed towards the institutionalization of democracy, come what may.
TQ3. Some sharp critics of NC say that NC will be reduced to the size of Nepal Praja Parishad in the upcoming election. What say you?
Deuba: Such criticism is superficial and hence it does not warrant, in my opinion, serious comments. After the advent of democracy in 1990, development activities took an upward trend. Unfortunately, the Maoists waged a decade long civil war by residing in the alien land. This disrupted development activities; it shattered the aspirations and dreams of Nepali people to live a peaceful and prosperous life. Had the Maoists not waged war, Nepal would now have become the most prosperous nation in whole of the South Asian region. A decade long insurgency pushed Nepal back into the feudal age.
Late Girija Prasad Koirala brought the Maoists into the political mainstream and overthrew the autocratic monarchy. NC has addressed the aspiration of Nepali people to live a peaceful life. No one can detach NC from people.
Q4. It is being rumored that Baburam Bhattarai has become more a reliable Politician for India than any leaders of NC. Do you think so?
Deuba: Absolutely not. India is our closest neighbor with whom NC shared cordial and friendlier relations. The leaders of NC had participated in the Independence Movement of India. Now also we can find statue of late BP Koirala, a founder of NC, in Bihar.
The cordial personal relation between BP Koirala and Jawaharlal Nehru had led to the institutionalization of harmonious relation between the two countries during the tenure of these persons as the prime ministers of their respective countries. India cannot forget this fact. NC is the stable and reliable partner of India and other friendlier nation.
TQ5. But the Maoist had fired gun against the democratic forces of Nepal by residing in NOIDA under the protection of Indian establishment. Why India was so unkind towards democratic forces during decade long insurgency?
Deuba: That was the historical blunder committed by India vis-à-vis its relation with Nepal. Maoists in Nepal were groomed and cultivated by India to tame Monarchy. However, this policy ultimately back-fired New Delhi. Now, you can see how India is itself becoming the victim of Maoist Insurgence? Red corridor in India is expanding rapidly like a wild fire and if appropriate action is not undertaken on time, this will derail the overall peace and political order of the Indian Union. No matter how late it is, Indian establishment has now realized this fact. I don’t think India will ever again promote ultra-communist forces in Nepal by ignoring democratic forces in general and NC in particular.
Q6. Why the desire of top leadership of Madhesh based parties and India often sounds strikingly similar? Is this a mere coincidence or something beyond our imagination? Your enlightening comments please?
Deuba: Madhesh is a part of Nepal and the parties of this region are Nepali parties. Peoples of Madhesh have roti-beti (bread and daughter) relations with India. Open border and cultural affinities have strengthened and deepened the age old relationship existing between the people of either side of the border since long. Emotional attachment aroused out of this socio-cultural interrelationship should not be exaggerated or misinterpreted for political gains. We must accept it.
The other equally important fact is that almost all top leaders of Madhesh based parties were born in Indian territories. Most of them have acquired their education from Indian educational institutions. Therefore, they have soft corner towards India. Unless their soft corner towards India does not undermine our sovereignty and national interest, we should not look the relationship between India and Madhesi leaders with suspicion.
The things which are seriously hampering Nepal's sovereignty are not the presumed dubious nexus between Indian establishment and Madhesh based parties. Lack of concrete foreign policy is making our sovereignty weaker. India may try to manipulate the situation of Madhesh by cashing the sentiments of the peoples of this region. But we do not have any policy on how to tackle alien maneuvering inside Madhesh.
Unless we do not formulate foreign policy, our nationality cannot be strengthened.
Q7. Of late, Kathmandu is experiencing excessive pressure from different quarters to change its standpoints vis-à-vis Tibetan refugees. Mr. Dueba, can you please tell how Nepal can manage this complicated situation?
Deuba: Well, Nepal should learn how to keep friends at a comfortable distance. A friend who exceeds the limits and begins openly to dictate in our affairs should not be accepted at any cost. Foreign policy of Nepal should be guided by our national interests, but not by the interest of our neighbors or third parties.
For us, India is considerably close where as we have distant relations with China. However, China too is our age old and trusted friend. It has never tried to undermine Nepal's sovereignty. In its response, we also should try our best to strengthen the territorial integrity and sovereignty of China. If any friendlier nation wants from us to relax our position regarding the Tibetan issues and tells us to abandon one-China policy, we should make them clear that their concern very much tantamount to interference and hence deserve appropriate retaliation. Nepal cannot and should not undermine the security sensitivity of our neighboring countries.
Q8. It is accused that the Western countries are funding on the ethnic Issues of Nepal through different NGOs and INGOs. What might have been their vested in this Nepali issue? Can you guess?
Deuba: I am a hardcore critique of the NGOs and INGOs funded by Western countries. In the name of a sensitizing people and making them aware, they are trying to create animosity among the Nepali population and in the process trying to fragment our country on the basis of ethnicity, region, gender, cast and etc.
The West wants to make its grand entry inside Nepal by putting Nepal on fire and making it more unstable and vulnerable. These NGOs and INGOs are working to fulfill the vested interests of the West. Frankly speaking, if these NGOs and INGOs go on behaving in such a dangerously erratic manner, they will be retaliated mercilessly and will be chased away from Nepal.
Nepali people will no longer tolerate their unwarranted maneuvering.
Q9. You have just said that Western countries are trying to set ablaze Nepal.
How Nepal can resist the presumed dangerous infiltration of the West?
Deuba: In fact, China and India, the two Asian giants are the shield of Nepal against the aggression of West. Our neighbors are stronger enough not to allow the third power to push Nepal to the wall. In order to cash these strategic advantages provided by the geo-strategic location and geopolitics of the region, Nepal need to win confidence of our both of the neighbors. If our neighbors are with us, no force on the earth can shake us. Even a dacoit does not dare to rob a weak man's house whose neighbor’s are stronger.
Exclusive for telegraphnepal.com