Interview with Rabindra Shrestha who was expelled from the CPN-Maoist earlier this year after he publicly criticised party leaders and published an appeal for a 'new cultural revolution'. Excerpts:
Jana Aastha: Are we going the Peru way?
Rabindra Shrestha: We feel that Prachanda and Baburam have the same attitude that brought about the failure of the Peruvian people's war. Gonzalo used stubborn, puritanical, individualist and mechanical methods. Prachandaji is doing the same.
What was late Prince Dhirendra's role in talks?
What Dhirendra said was 'lets (palace and Maoists) unite, deal with the all the parliamentary parties and share power'. We want this letter made public. Second, Dhirendra said that Gyanendra and he agreed but that Birendra opposed it. What does this indicate? Whom did they have an undisclosed working agreement with? Gyanendra or Birendra?
Why this attraction towards the palace?
Both Baburam and Prachanda realised that they could not reach the seat of power without the help of a powerful nation. Baburam started saying we needed India's help while Prachanda wanted to use the palace. After all, Gyanendra had already begun his coup on 4 October. Prachandaji also started displaying neo-Rayamajhi tendencies. How foolish could he have been to expect something that was not given even to the seven parties? The same politburo meet decided to take action against Baburam and raised the issue of meeting Gyanendra. For Prachandaji 1 February was a surprise. If he had tried to hold talks with Gyanendra after that his political career would have been over.
At that time Baburam was accused of being pro-India.
He was angry that they took away his chairmanship of the United Revolutionary Peoples Front and only started leaning towards India after his disagreement with Prachanda. But Prachanda definitely began siding with the king and then Gyanendra stepped on Prachanda's back and did his coup. Baburam said, "We need to get together with India and fight against the king." But our point was that India might just use of us. Gyanendra made a fool of Prachanda and India made fools of both Baburam and Prachanda.
Differences between Baburam, Prachanda and Badal came to light during the Bangalore meeting. The fight between Prachanda and Baburam and between Badal and Prachanda became public. We said then that a counter-revolution has begun, our leaders have shown their opportunist attitudes, we need a new cultural revolution. But others didn't agree.
Why weren't any women named to the talks committee?
There is a serious reason for this. Pampha Bhusal should have been the automatic choice. But Baburam was against her as he wanted to bring his wife. We'll start seeing the real tussle in this team when the interim government is being formed.