Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
‘Not incompetent’

Excerpt from an interview with Sher Bahadur Deuba.

His Majesty labelled you incompetent when he dismissed your government last year. Why should an incompetent government be reinstated?

I am not incompetent. I dissolved the House of Representatives and announced election dates. Even at the eleventh hour we were prepared to go ahead with elections but the political parties came forward and said the situation wasn't right. They suggested we form a government that would include them and possibly the Maoists too. All of them had collectively agreed on this course of action. I acted correctly by following through on their suggestions. The events that followed the royal move have proved that the accusations the king levelled against me were false. If he is really worried about elections he would have announced a date on the very day my government was deposed. He should have been able to hold the elections I couldn't. My removal from office had nothing to do with elections, which is why my government should be reinstated.

Then why were you made to step down?

The main reason for my removal was the king's desire for a return to absolute monarchy.I will not hold grudges against the king, neither will I call him incompetent.

Will the present agitation by the political parties turn the tables?

I would not like to point fingers at anyone, but the truth is that when I was dismissed, all the main leaders of the other political parties hoped to become the next prime minister. The scales fell off their eyes only when the king appointed Lokendra Bahadur Chand to the post. Then they understood that Deuba's removal was motivated by the king's desire for power. In a way their struggle is good.

Will it be enough to bring back the people's power?

The Maoists opted for war and so did the king. The people want peace at whatever cost. Nepal and Nepalis still suffer from terrorism. That is why political parties cannot mangle peace and go to war. It is critical that they choose peaceful ways of showing their dissent.

Nepal is swinging between calls for a republic and a possible return to monarchy.

The country is not ready to become a republic. Our party is not willing to push for a republic system. We have to put the king in his place through a peaceful revolt.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)