Do you think the constitution-writing process will meet people's expectations?
Shiva Kumar Subedi (University Teachers Association): The events so far have frustrated the people. The political issues have taken central stage and the constitution-writing process is off-track. I doubt the new constitution will be written as expected by the people.
Huma DC (Single Women Concern Forum): These leaders were elected to write a new constitution but they forgot their main task. They probably think they'll spend the rest of their lives in parliament, but that won't happen. The political parties don't have the right to obstruct the constitution-writing process.
What should CA discussions focus on?
"We have no confidence in our leaders"'
BP Yadav, CA member MJF, Saptari
During the elections, we promised people we'd pay more attention to writing the constitution than to economic development. But that hasn't happened. We expected experienced politicians to guide us, but they haven't done so. We are new people from a new party, but even then, we're no less mature than the most experienced politicians, especially with regard to the constitution. We've also seen traditionalist thinking in the committees. This has cast the constitution-writing process into doubt. It's also been difficult because a few committee members double are also parliament members. And selfish politicians only make things worse.
Will the constitution be written on time?
I can't bear the flag alone. Only with agreement and reconciliation, not another political contest, will the constitution be made on time.
What is holding it up?
The Constitutional Committee, which has been without a leader for months, is the main problem. Without the brain, how will the hands work? Even if we, the subject committees, finish our drafts, it's the Constitutional Committee which will make them into law. There should have been senior leaders and people with legal backgrounds in the separate committees.
Aren't you satisfied with your work so far?
I'm sad that the committees haven't been effective. They haven't been because of our selfish leaders. Prachanda and Girijababu came to the committees only a couple of times.
Why did you meet the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala?
We wanted to understand why India hosted the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan refugees. We were appealing for general religious rights and freedom. We ask that the Nepali government treat Tibetan refugees just as we treat the Bhutani refugees. The Bhutanis get to go to the US, but the Tibetans get shot at. What kind of foreign policy is that?
"Selfish politicians have delayed the process"
Uma Karki Bista, CA member, Maoist. Sankhwasaba
We've declared Nepal a federal democratic republic. We've established the rules of the assembly, the work schedule and the committees. We have been to the villages to ask what the people want the constitution to be like. The analysis of their comments and the preparation of the drafts have begun. Four committees have finished their drafts, and others are still working to that end. They will finish in a matter of months.
So the constitution will be written on time?
Only if the politicians stop being selfish and work for the country.
We've heard your party has delayed things by constantly raising new issues.
We haven't done that. We asked for a people's assembly to enable
the people to realise the changes they want to see in Nepal. We proposed mandatory army-training for 18 year olds to rescue the state's integrity. We also said that the decade-long war, which we fought for the liberation of Nepalshould be called the 'people's war' and the fighters the 'people's army'.
So, you're not trying to derail the process because your party is out of power?
No. We're doing just the opposite. But selfishness, the challenges
of 'civilian supremacy', and the delay in army integration have all
been hurdles. Also, we can't finish the constitution when unelected people rule.