Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Coups, polls, and loyalty, Nepal

Yasoda Timsina: You refuse to come to an agreement, and spread rumours that the president is staging a coup. Are these tactics to stay in power forever?
Pushpa Kamal Dahal: I met the president on Friday, and he told me to work on forging consensus on issues like the budget, elections, and government change. I believe he gave me this responsibility because I am the chairman of the biggest party. He also categorically denied all the rumours circulated by the media, and said he would not be a hurdle if there is consensus on the budget. Although there has been some confusion in the past few days, I believe the president is committed to national integrity and even now his emphasis is on consensus.

It seems you are eager to maintain a strong hold over your party by keeping Baburam Bhattarai in power.
These are all false allegations. There is no relation between the government and our party's leadership. I am very worried that the process set in motion by the 12-point understanding might get derailed. The party split because we were determined to take this process to its conclusive end. So how is this related to the party?

Are you afraid of going to polls because your support base is now divided after the break up of the party?
We have no reservations against elections, and want to pass the constitution from the constituent assembly itself. A few seats might be lost because of the split, but this will not affect our party's position much. Who knows, we might even work together, so why should we be scared?

You are also blamed for the death of the CA because after radicalising ethnic groups. What do you have to say?
During the 2006 uprising, we raised issues against regional, gender, and class-based discrimination practiced by the old guard. Championing the rights of one side does not mean we are against the other. The privileged class has one mantra: to tarnish Prachanda's image and wipe out the achievements of the 2006 uprising. And after that, they want to continue ruling. Certain actors from the ruling class are arm twisting the media and spreading propaganda.

People had a lot of expectations from you, do you think you fulfilled these expectations?
When I met all the representatives of the major parties and proposed that we discuss two alternatives, elections or CA revival, they started accusing me of double-speak. They assumed that by doing so, they could render all our achievements insignificant. Recently, I have stopped wasting time by blaming others, and am instead focused on institutionalising our era-defining changes. Maybe one section of society thinks it is possible to wipe off our achievements by insulting party leaders, ordinary Nepalis, and martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the republic. If this happens, the country will sink, but I will not let that happen.

You have been warming up towards India lately. Why is that?
This is a very sensitive issue, and I don't see any wisdom in commenting on it. India, the UN, and other nations have helped us with the 12-point understanding. Today, we are walking on the path set by it, but haven't reached our final destination yet which means we still need everyone's help, including India.

Are you leaning towards India for good?
It's nothing like that. We are simply seeking help in order to fulfil our goals. The problem is once you are in power, outsiders presume you are leaning one way or another. Yesterday I too felt like others were 'leaning' towards certain power centres when they were in government, but now I realise I was wrong. I am loyal towards Nepal and Nepalis only.

1. Birat bikram Niraula
How can we believe in politicians, when they change themselves as chameleon does. God save Nepal and Nepalis.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)