Krishna Bahadur Mahara
Leader, Maoists party, Nepal
TQ1: Aren’t you shocked as the party has split into two halves at a time when you yourself had been mediating? You must have been in a pained state. Isn’t it so?
Mahara: Well, I haven’t taken the entire event as an unusual one. Definitely, it is only but natural that I am pained. It is a natural phenomenon inside a party to possess differing opinions simply because the party comprises of different brains with different mindset(s). When these opposing opinions or say views remain together, it is natural that differences do crop up. Mind it that the party is not made up of a different and special metal but at best it is the conglomerate of the people from different walks of the society. Communist parties have debates but the discussions are internal but it should not cause a split. When it has split already, the option is to face the emerging challenges.
TQ2: So who remained instrumental for this sad split?
Mahara: Yes! We have had certain differences over some issues. Primarily differences emerged on how to move ahead? What should be the working procedure? So when the functioning procedure differed, friends in the party preferred to go their favorite way. Why the party split and for what has yet not been clarified by the breakaway team led by Mohan Baidya. The split reason has not yet been made clear from their side. They have not so far been able to provide logical reason for the split. In my view, the reasons behind this split are they themselves. The establishment team can’t split the party under any circumstances. For the last one year, the establishment team exhibited utmost flexibility. One could do anything as one liked. Hoisting of black flags, burning of effigies of the leaders, marching with torch procession had become a common affair and the party establishment allowed all this to happen. Yet the party establishment wished to remain seated together inside the party. They could not fight by being inside the party instead got defeated. It is not necessary to split the party when in minority. But they split because they could not fight the political struggle by being within the party. They have ignored the demand for CA revival or an election for the same instead they have begun talking of having a round table conference. They have even failed to produce a new working procedure. The crack happened when it had not to. The timing was erroneous. If they devise some smart procedures, then maybe they will attract the men from Prachanda’s side? If fortune favors them then the NC and the UML may also follow their party. Nothing new has come so far. No miracles yet have been noticed.
TQ3: It is talked that when Mohan Baidya team was pushed to the wall, the party came apart? What say you?
Mahara: Yes! The split has that element as well. In fact, we also failed to mend the differences that were there between the two factions. But they should have ventilated their inner feeling while being inside the party itself. We talked of Babu Ram’s government and many other issues were accepted which they had forwarded. But they could not reconcile and forge consensus eventually. Later they began to think all the issues through political angles. It could be fairly said, in practical terms, of them that they split the party for not having the posts they aspired for.
TQ4: You talked with Dev Gurung and Hitman Shakya. Were the talks centered on party unity?
Mahara: I haven’t talked with them on political and theoretical lines. Not only these two Comrades, I have met with several other friends. They too have been saying me to go ahead with the process of party unity. Many now remaining in the other camp too do not want to hang about in a separate house. When the party has virtually split, we must now not quarrel with each other. We must appeal for party unity and keep on debating on political and theoretical issues. This mood still prevails. I had recently met Dev Gurung and Hitman Jee. I had floated the idea on how to halt the clash and also we talked on matters of property distribution by exhibiting flexibility. I had also forwarded the proposal as to how the party could be reunited. The premise of the talks was to unite the party once again.
TQ5: You admitted that your party has been in a spoiled state. Now how will you correct it?
Mahara: Yes, we too have felt that the party is not in a good shape which has also been endorsed by the freshly concluded seventh plenum. The plenum took a decision that we all should make efforts aimed at consolidating the party. The adopted decisions by the party should be implemented in a practical manner. It should not be down-top model but just the otherwise. Even Chairman Prachanda has declared that the correction will begin right from him and has also told all that he now will reside in a simple house. He has abandoned the vehicle. Has also talked of institutionalizing the party office mechanism. While allocating the posts, care must not be accorded as to who falls where? Let the correction begin right from this point. Beginning the Chairman, the Vice Chairman to Secretary and then steering committee should be corrected beginning from above. The problem lay above but not down.
TQ6: So could you please tell us as to how the party got spoiled?
Mahara: Yes, I do agree that the party got spoiled a bit but it is not to that extent which could not be corrected. The party still remains alive and not collapsed yet; however, the party does have some perversions and ideological deviations. We entered into the peace process but we have had the war mindset. Problems and issues had then to be sorted out through the means of dialogue. The working procedures changed which demanded a well planned modus operandi. We lost our contact with the general population. Definitely we deviated to some extent. Talks cropped up of corruption as well. Some definitely exhibited their lust for money. But our intentions were not bad at all.
TQ7: DPM and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha differs with his own party’s Prime Minister on issues of Nepali nationalism. How you look at it?
Mahara: It is just an immoral act. On matters of BIPPA deal with India, differing opinions exist inside our own party definitely. Some speak in favor of BIPPA and others reject this. This issue can’t be looked in a unilateral manner. The freshly concluded seventh plenum of the party in its political document has stated that we must have a national policy as regards to the issues of, for example, the water resources and the likes. We must have a national policy worth the name. Unfortunately, we lack such a national policy. The one who becomes the PM or for that matter the minister, they formulate their self suiting policies and make decisions accordingly.
The main reason for not having a national policy is due to the fact that a party comprises of differing opinions even on matters of genuine national issues. On several matters, people not belonging to our party too have been observed to have taken their own preferred stance. This BIPPA issue is not a new one. When late Girija Prasad Koirala was then Prime Minister he refused to sign this BIPPA deal with India. I must admit that he took his firm stand on this issue. Now when Bhattarai has signed the deal, I think that he may have bowed down. The inference could be made like this also.
TQ8: So how the Maoists party looks at both India and China?
Mahara: We are in the middle. First we look at our own country and then only we observe both China and India. We must take care and provide serious attention towards the neighbors’ genuine security concerns and issues of their prime interests. We must honor their apprehensions. We have been receiving the results in not being able to address their serious concerns. India will definitely work for the preservations of its interests but not of ours. Why should Nepali leaders work for the preservation of their interests? Yes! We must look into seriously their concerns that are genuine. Pouncing upon India will not work. Our country and the party which I serve must take firm stance on our own national sovereignty. We must be serious for the preservation of our own national interests. Our party is thus toeing the same line.
TQ9: We have been told that you find yourself much closer to party Chairman Dahal. Is it so?
Mahara: Well that depends upon the task of the party which at times brings me closer to him and at other times I am in a distanced position. No special relations we both have as such.
Excerpts only from The Rastravani Weekly, August 8, 2012: Thanks Chief Ed. Mr. Hari Lamsal.