Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
"I am not corrupt"

I have not earned money at the expense of national interest. Nor have I made money through project commissions. I am a god-fearing man and I swear to god I am innocent. But you must understand that all leaders somehow receive money for elections. Which leader does not manage funds that way? If they don't take money, how will they fight elections? I admit that I have received funds for elections. I have taken money from my friends. Can any leader, including Madhab Kumar Nepal and others of the UML and NC, claim that they fought elections spending their own money? Can they say that the money they gave to their workers was actually their own? One must speak the truth. People say Khum Bahadur Khadka earned billions of rupees through irregularities and corruption when he was home minister. If Khum Bahadur or Govinda Raj can be corrupt then Ram Chandra Poudel, KP Oli and Bamdev Gautam are also the same. Since I am a determined person, I don't care what others think about me. I would not like to speak much about the corruption charge against me because the case is still under consideration in the court. Only my enemies clapped when I was detained by the CIAA. But people must understand that I was framed. If the corruption charges against me was just because of my house, many people in Kathmandu have houses like mine.

I have a strong footing. I have a history in Dang. I was all set to resign from my position in the Nepali Congress (Democratic) when I was still in CIAA custody. But, Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta had warned that our resignation could worry our workers. He suggested that we should resign only after we were released by the commission. I was convinced and after my release, I met Deuba and told him that I was sick and needed a break. I also suggested that the central committee of the party had to be reorganised.

I left for India. But, when I came back I found that our central committee had been converted into zonal coordinator. I had serious reservations about it because the move had reduced my role and position. I requested Deuba for reconsideration but he did not seem interested. So, I resigned from the position of general secretary and decided to rejoin Nepali Congress.

Deuba has always complained that Koirala did injustice to him. But, now when Deuba himself is the boss, he has been repeating the same mistakes Koirala made. Perhaps he had learnt them from him. Deuba may have contributed to the restoration of democracy. But now that democracy needs to be brought back on track, I don't think Deuba can shoulder that responsibility. I have always been a close associate of Girija Prasad Koirala, I was with him after the restoration of multiparty democracy. In due course of time, we developed some differences and I chose to go my own way. But I never deserted him. It was he who abandoned me.

After Koirala resigned from the position of prime minister, I had to make a choice between Sushil Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba as candidate for the parliamentary party leader. I went for Deuba. Now I am back to the Girija camp because I believe that Nepal's democracy is in peril due to Deuba. My differences with Koirala are about policy matters.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)