Excerpts from an interview with Sushil Koirala, General Secretary, Nepali Congress
Q. Does the PM's candidacy for party president mean the defeat of the second generation?
A. In politics there is nothing about generations. Reaching middle age, having grey hair or beard is no qualification for becoming a leader. Therefore there is no first or second generation, we are all the present generation. On the other hand, just announcing the candidacy of one person does not mean the other has been defeated. Koirala (PM) has an opportunity to win, Deuba also has the chance to do so. The so-called second generation should be able to prove themselves in the forthcoming party election.
Q. What is the basis for Koirala to be elected again?
A. In South Asia, there are only two people alive who have fought for over 50 years for democracy-one is (Krishna Prasad) Bhattarai and the other is (Girija Prasad) Koirala. Bhattarai has stated that he will not contest. Therefore there is only one person who has the political courage to tackle problems, has a clean image, is wanted by the party workers and has political stature, and that is Koirala.
Q. How do you assess the candidacy of Deuba?
A. To vie for leadership through bargaining and not by contesting is a joke. He was president of the Nepal Student Union for eight years and during that time he went abroad many a time. Now he claims to have a formula for correcting everything in this country and stands in the name of the youth. This is not going to benefit him.
Q. There are also talks that a no-confidence motion against Koirala is coming?
A. It is a rumour. There is no truth in it. I cannot imagine any friends moving a no-confidence motion during these tough times. A no-confidence motion is not in the interests of the party, country, democracy and people. It will add to problems. Such an action will make the Congress weak and will destroy democracy.
Q. Will the Congress break up?
A. The Congress will not break up-it did not break up yesterday nor will it break up today or tomorrow. In spite of all the rumours it will in fact unite and move ahead. It is a specialty of the Congress, unity in diversity and togetherness amidst disunity.
Q. Has the government failed to resolve the Maoist problem?
A. The government has not been unsuccessful. It has kept the doors open for negotiations. The government is using all means available to resolve the problem.
Q. Is the monarchy safe when the Maoists seem be growing more powerful?
A. If this problem continues then a civil war will break out. It will destroy the monarchy. The monarchy is not safe with Maoists around. If the nation does not survive, monarchy will not survive and the people too will not survive.