Excerpts from an interview with Bam Dev Gautam, General Secretary, Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist)
The Maoists are suggesting a republic. Will it make a difference if the ML supports this idea?
Do you think the Maoists really want to establish a republic? They have been going on about it more than we have. We still believe in the present constitution. We have asked for constitutional amendments, but we still function within the parameters of this constitution. Our final aim is a republic but as we abide by the present constitution, we are not publicising this. The Maoists do not believe in the present constitutional process, they do not believe in a constitutional or judicial struggle. This is why they are being so vocal about a republic.
The UML and the ML have been discussing possible reunification. What is the status of the talks?
We had one meeting. The Maoists also met with our representatives. In the course of this meeting we realised that we could not reach an agreement on uniting with them. We have agreed to work together where possible.
If the situation arises, will the ML pick up weapons? If it will, then will it really make a difference whether or not the party unites with the Maoists?
There are many differences between the Maoists and us. We differ on principles-we have major philosophical differences. They believe in the philosophy of Marx, Lenin, Mao and Prachanda. We believe in the philosophy of Marx and Lenin only. There is no need for them to follow Mao's philosophy. As for the Prachanda Path, that is not a philosophy at all. Given this, how can our parties unite?
Second, the Maoists use weapons and are conducting a closed struggle. This is not the right time to do such a thing. We believe everything can be achieved through peaceful struggle, and this is what we are working towards. The Maoists say there are no socialists left in the world-but there are, in Cuba, China, Korea, Vietnam and Laos, and they are getting stronger. The Maoists say they want to form a South Asian Federation. We are fighting to free the country and not to integrate it with others. We cannot join hands with such a force.
What is the possibility of the UML and ML uniting?
It is possible, but the UML must be willing to rectify many of their mistakes. The unification of the two parties must be on the basis of equality and respect. They are not prepared to do this and so unification is not possible in the near future.