Is it true, as Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has been saying, that the Nepali Congress is in favour of a democratic republic?
The party can't be seen as opposed to a democratic republic, but neither has Girija Prasad Koirala taken a clear stand. He's just attemped to present his views a few times.
What kind of 'attempts'?
He feels he's doing something contrary to what Nepali communists are doing. I think that, since there are four communist parties, he feels threatened by their numbers.
Is that why he says "we" should be different from the communists?
Yes. He understands that the international political stage has changed. But his statements have not made his views clear.
Do you think the people are in favour of loktantra for the country?
Only yesterday I was travelling in Karnali, trekking from Dailekh to Jumla. I talked to friends of the Nepali Congress and other parties, as well as to Maoist officials. The view there was clear-they are not in favour of keeping the king.
Have people's understanding of politics changed, or their wishes?
Things have changed, but you don't see these factors in the chief's statements. The 6 September statement of the Nepali Congress states that the 11th general convention of the party has already deleted agreement to a constitutional monarchy from the party's constitution, that the people will decide the fate of monarchy through the constituent assembly, that a democratic republic is the demand of the moment in terms of international as well as national politics. But Koirala is still trying to push his views forward. I do not feel he can succeed, because there is already a republican movement within the party.