You don't seem to favour a constituent assembly anymore.
That is not true, we have advocated a constituent assembly since the beginning, and even boycotted the general elections for that reason. But the royalists are using the concept to destroy the present constitution and hand over authoritarian power to the king. The Maoists also want to change the constitution, but are actually helping the king achieve his goals by chanting slogans for a constituent assembly. Our protest is against such motives. But our demand for a constituent assembly is still our major slogan in the anti-regression movement.
Is a constituent assembly possible with the present constitution?
We are not saying that we can create a constituent assembly through this constitution. But the constitution should be kept intact until high-level authority is given to us and a constituent assembly is created.
But does this not mean that the constitution, which helped the king to take over, will keep the royal power intact as the Maoists allege? Are you, by any chance, speaking in favour of the king?
Actually, the king and the Maoists have a common interest in bringing an end to the present constitution. Earlier, both the Maoists and royalists were united in attacking the parliamentary system. They were working together to dissolve parliament, bring down the elected government and eliminate the constitution. Through their writing and press statements, both Baburam Bhattarai and Prachanda aligned themselves with late King Birendra.
But why does your party disagree with such notions?
There is a difference of opinion regarding the Maoists. Some of our friends from the former United Centre see the Maoists as the true Marxist-Leninist power. We do not. We regard the Maoist leaders as opportunists.
But they are spreading across the country.
The growing power of a communist party is less important than gaining popular support and political credibility. The Maoists have made serious political mistakes by attacking the parliamentary system, working in tune with the activities of the king and trying to get support from the US and Europe. The king and India both used the Maoists to end the constitution and interfere with national affairs. All this proves that the Maoists have been working against their own principles, especially as they also attacked farmers, labourers, teachers and students on a nation-wide scale. The leaders are opportunistic and crimes are being committed at the lower levels.
Aren't you envious of the Maoists' success?
There are always accusations. Take a look at the Maoists' activities. Did they not expressed their unity with King Birendra? Did they not support the idea of an open economy? They killed, looted and abducted ordinary citizens. Do all these actions adhere to Marxist principles? We have to take this into consideration as well.
Do you, like the Maoists, have personal relations with several political parties?
Not long ago we struggled against the Nepali Congress. Now we are making efforts to join hands with them.
Till when do you intend to remain underground?
Our struggle will continue for a long time, as we still don't have a real democracy. Regression is still a huge threat.