LILA BALLAV GHIMIRE/KANTIPUR
The Maoist party is not just the biggest party, it is also the prime mover of the peace process. That is why it is important for our party to be part of a national government, so the people will be convinced that the constitution will be possible on May 28, or soon after. Last year, a lot of people were trying to push us back into the jungle. They are still trying to do this. But we are not going back to fighting a guerrilla war. The peace process came about after a lot of blood was shed by the children of Nepalis, we are not going to abandon our peace efforts. But some people are still trying to dissolve the CA, others want to encircle the cantonments. There are those who want to roll back republicanism and secularism and who are against progress and transformation. We will not be able to defeat these forces unless we have a consensus government. Unfortunately the present state of affairs is leading to revisionism, backsliding, and regression. My feeling is that after coming into this historic constitution-making process and after ushering in a republic, neither the guerrillas in the cantonments nor the Nepal Army want to return to conflict. If we remember this, we can reach an agreement on the constitution and we will. There is no alternative. For this a national government isn't a condition, it is indispensable. The Nepali people will not tolerate any conspiracy to derail the peace process.
Excerpted from a speech at the National Association of Professors.
Editorial in Rajdhani, 20 April
Prime Minister Madhav Nepal may not admit it publicly but he has reason to be distrustful of Maoist promises, and the people understand this. The nationwide mobilisation by the Maoists of their cadre for military training is being taken seriously by a section of the international community. However, there are agencies that have closed their eyes to such Maoist behaviour while trying to extend their role. The end result is the possibility of a militant mindset driving extremism to dominate the country. In this struggle, those who will suffer are the pro-democratic forces that believe in pluralism and nationalism. It is because the UML and NC have been unable to challenge the agenda of the Maoists and other extremist groups that the country is now in the grip of ethnic, communal and territorial fragmentation. Unless these two parties put up a solid, united front to deal with the Maoist threat of 'state capture' they will also themselves go down in history as parties that couldn't stop the extinction of democracy in Nepal.
Editorial in Nepal Samacharpatra, 20 April
This is not the time to quarrel. This is not the time to say that the peace process was a mistake. Since the constitution is not going to be written by May 28, the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Accord must at this late stage work together to find a peaceful fallback option. The alternative is further chaos and perhaps even a return to conflict. Which is why the army recruitment of 271 without exceeding its strength at the time of the peace accord should not be magnified out of proportion for political expediency. Political parties should stick to logic. Weakening the national army is weakening the state.
Sambhu Shrestha in Drishti, 20 April
The Maoists are dreaming of getting back to power precisely because they have made it impossible for the constitution to be written. They have concluded that the situation post-May 28 will be dangerous, which is why they need to get into government before that by hook or by crook. For the nation, nothing could be more perilous than the Maoists coming to power in this way. The ascendancy of militancy will mean the funeral of democracy. This is the reason the other parties also don't see any other way to defend democracy. They understand that the Maoist goal is to set up a totalitarian people's republic. The Maoists must understand that this is impossible in the 21st century, yet they pretend not to understand.
Editorial in Kantipur, 22 April
The government's decision to open army recruitment at this sensitive phase of the peace process will only help make it even more fragile. On the other hand, what is the necessity for the Maoists to give khukuri and baton training to its cadre ahead of their May Day rally in Kathmandu? Why shouldn't we believe the Maoist leadership when it says all this is in preparation for an uprising? Are the Maoists preparing for an unconstitutional power grab? The leadership should clarify these questions. Like other parties, the Maoists have the right to hold peaceful demonstrations. But if rallies take an extreme turn and turn violent, it will take the country back to conflict. Both army recruitment and Maoist training are encouraging extremist politics, and must stop immediately.
Blustering reality - FROM ISSUE #499 (23 APRIL 2010 - 29 APRIL 2010)