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The prime minister meets the people




PICS: JOHN NARAYAN PARAJULI

Sunita Khanal, Kabhre: I feel unsafe because of the conflict. I fear for my children.
Koirala: Such pain and emotions are natural in times of conflict. We have been trying to solve these problems through negotiation. I believe that once the date for elections is announced, things will improve. I want to assure you I will do everything to improve the situation.

Narendra Bahadur Limbu: I am a landless Nepali. We number four million people. But why have you and your ministers not uttered a word about our problem?
Koirala: Show me a country without a problem in the world. America has the problem of the twin towers and so on. It's not unnatural to have problems here.

Sheela Gajmere, Itahari: When will you guarantee reservations [in parliament] for women, for dalits? When will the violence against women stop?
Koirala: I am happy that you asked that question, and even the question shows how important elections are. To answer your question, there's room for women - for dalit women and for all women. If all the parties make reservations, the position of women will be elevated.

Jawind Yadav: People in other parts of the country think Morang is a prosperous district, but I feel sad that there are still VDCs here that do not have even a single ambulance or proper roads. My second question is the Maoists are still extorting money, killing journalists, so why have them in the government and in parliament?
Koirala: Development doesn't happen overnight. The conflict has also taken its toll. We are doing our best. If there hadn't been a conflict, your village would have had all the amenities you mention. You may have thought that the prime minister is from Morang, but I am the prime minister of the entire country.

Pramod Yadav (Grade 9 Student): I feel the madhes movement has degenerated due to a lack of discipline, and people are dying everyday, people are feeling insecure. How long will this continue?
Koirala: We use to call it tarai, now they say that it is madhes, I still don't understand the term. The movement for their rights should be solved through negotiations. But I think there's an attempt to terrorise the people and deprive them of their rights. And we have the open border and undesirable criminal elements are crossing on both sides which has complicated the problem. Add to that the YCL. I have talked with the Indian government to regulate the border on both sides. The Indian government is positive. The problem will be resolved soon.

Dharmalal Yadav, Saptari: Prime Minister, if you have already identified the groups operating in the tarai as criminal and political groups, why don't you finish them off and negotiate with political groups?
Koirala: Listen, I've been to your village. I am not aloof about the tarai, I am a resident of the tarai, too, although you have separated us by calling yourself madhesi. I know the solution. It will be solved in minutes if India and Nepal work jointly. I am trying to do just that.

Hajji Mahmoud Abdul: Every other group is raising their own demands, but no one speaks about Muslims. In which category do we fall? And my second question: if the Maoists do not believe in this constitution, they should say so clearly, if they do, then elections should be held under the present constitution.
Sunita Khanal, Kabhre: I feel unsafe because of the conflict. I fear for my children.
Koirala: Such pain and emotions are natural in times of conflict. We have been trying to solve these problems through negotiation. I believe that once the date for elections is announced, things will improve. I want to assure you I will do everything to improve the situation.

Narendra Bahadur Limbu: I am a landless Nepali. We number four million people. But why have you and your ministers not uttered a word about our problem?
Koirala: Show me a country without a problem in the world. America has the problem of the twin towers and so on. It's not unnatural to have problems here.

Sheela Gajmere, Itahari: When will you guarantee reservations [in parliament] for women, for dalits? When will the violence against women stop?
Koirala: I am happy that you asked that question, and even the question shows how important elections are. To answer your question, there's room for women - for dalit women and for all women. If all the parties make reservations, the position of women will be elevated.

Jawind Yadav: People in other parts of the country think Morang is a prosperous district, but I feel sad that there are still VDCs here that do not have even a single ambulance or proper roads. My second question is the Maoists are still extorting money, killing journalists, so why have them in the government and in parliament?
Koirala: Development doesn't happen overnight. The conflict has also taken its toll. We are doing our best. If there hadn't been a conflict, your village would have had all the amenities you mention. You may have thought that the prime minister is from Morang, but I am the prime minister of the entire country.

Pramod Yadav (Grade 9 Student): I feel the madhes movement has degenerated due to a lack of discipline, and people are dying everyday, people are feeling insecure. How long will this continue?
Koirala: We use to call it tarai, now they say that it is madhes, I still don't understand the term. The movement for their rights should be solved through negotiations. But I think there's an attempt to terrorise the people and deprive them of their rights. And we have the open border and undesirable criminal elements are crossing on both sides which has complicated the problem. Add to that the YCL. I have talked with the Indian government to regulate the border on both sides. The Indian government is positive. The problem will be resolved soon.

Dharmalal Yadav, Saptari: Prime Minister, if you have already identified the groups operating in the tarai as criminal and political groups, why don't you finish them off and negotiate with political groups?
Koirala: Listen, I've been to your village. I am not aloof about the tarai, I am a resident of the tarai, too, although you have separated us by calling yourself madhesi. I know the solution. It will be solved in minutes if India and Nepal work jointly. I am trying to do just that.

Hajji Mahmoud Abdul: Every other group is raising their own demands, but no one speaks about Muslims. In which category do we fall? And my second question: if the Maoists do not believe in this constitution, they should say so clearly, if they do, then elections should be held under the present constitution.
Koirala: Abdul ji, all you are trying to say is where is Muslim identity, isn't it? We are trying to turn Eid into a national holiday, which will recognise the Muslim community.

Badal Dewan: Everyone is raising a political issue, but my problem is different. This year my paddy harvest was bad because we didn't have enough fertiliser. Meanwhile the finance minister gives a budget speech about SIM cards and internet in every home. What should we do with the SIM card? Can we spray it in the fields? Violence is increasing, and the prime minister's own party member is home minister. And while the voting in parliament was underway, you said you would accept the decision of the parliament, but yesterday on tv, you were referring to a two-third majority. Can you clarify your position?
Koirala: If anyone raises a technical issue, the PM has to respond in technical terms too. Politically, it is a good development that the Maoists have accepted parliamentary procedures. I know even you have a mobile, that's why you know about SIMs. These are processes of development. As for fertiliser, I'm told the stock was low this year but next year there will be enough.

Prakas Karna (Grade 10 student): In the past, the king deposed many prime ministers. Now you have become the most powerful person in Nepal. Shouldn't you overthrow the king according to the wishes of the people?
Koirala: It can be done. But we need everyone's cooperation. Under the present constitution, overthrowing the king won't be credible and legal, and the international community won't support it. An elected body should do it. The present parliament doesn't have the mandate to do it. I don't want bloodshed, I want to do it peacefully. We have brought the Maoists this far through peaceful revolution. While overthrowing the king, we should do it peacefully.

Fulsari Choudary: In my village, there are frequent rapes. Will we Tharu women have to wait for the constituent assembly for violence against women to stop?
Koirala: I understand your point. We need to have law and order for elections to be held properly.

Related Article
. "I will resign after elections"



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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