Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Constituent assembly, or else

The appointment of Sher Bahadur Deuba as prime minister, the exit of the UML from the agitation and Girija Prasad Koirala's anti-constituent assembly statements prove that foreign powers are at play in Nepal. The international power centres are of the opinion that the outlet of the present political crisis is possible only when the trilateral conflict among the king, the parliamentary parties and the rebels can be transformed into a bilateral tussle. Therefore, we see the game of bringing the king and the parliamentary parties together to pit them against the revolutionary people's power-a new political strategy of the old regime.

If Girija's statement against the constituent assembly has to do with his concern that Deuba's Congress and the UML will now support the royalists' conditional constituent assembly, then the issue should be taken seriously. What makes it more serious is the fact that some foreign quarters are also pushing the idea of a conditional constituent assembly.

We have already made it clear that we will not agree with such a proposal. This would be similar to an improved Panchayat system, which proved to be trap. Just when the tide is turning in favour of a constituent assembly, even in the Congress camp, why is Koirala against the idea? Unless the mystery behind this becomes clear, we cannot easily and specifically talk about such a development. If Koirala means that there cannot be free and fair elections for a constituent assembly trapped between the guns of the royal army and the people's army, we must eliminate such fear.

With regard to this concern, quite some time ago, we stressed the importance of the involvement of the United Nations. Since it is the army that becomes the decisive issue in politics, we have been talking about its management in a way that it becomes acceptable to all sides. The parliamentary forces have always feared the people's liberation army that has risen from among the exploited people. They believe that the royal army, which has always been the puppet of the Shah and Rana families after the Sugauli Treaty, is common and neutral. This diffidence on the part of the parliamentary forces is suicidal.

One must understand that the slogan for a constituent assembly is not ours. We have always maintained that our ultimate destination is a people's republic. World history and that of our own country shows that it is the parliamentary forces that have always raised the issue of a constituent assembly. They should have made it their prime demand because it is the supreme form of the capitalist republicanism.

We considered the idea of a constituent assembly, given the historical transformation of Nepali society from feudalism to capitalism and the geopolitical situation. In other words, a constituent assembly is not our desire but our compulsion-one that is fraught with many dangers. In many countries, parties like ours have got bogged down in the quagmire of a constituent assembly but we are determined to march ahead. This, however, does not mean that we are merely paying lip service to the idea and will not accept the results of a constituent assembly.

If it is done in a free and unconditional environment, we are ready to accept the challenge and this is our commitment. But if the leadership in the main parliamentary parties still balk at a constituent assembly and if various international quarters continue their conspiracy to isolate us by bringing the king and the parties together, history could take a turn that will make this whole issue redundant. This is not being said in anger, it is a clear declaration made in with total comprehension.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)