19-25 July 2013 #665

Do or die

Interview with Surya Bahadur Thapa, Kantipur, 14 July

Kantipur: Are you confident about elections taking place on 19 November?

Surya Bahadur Thapa: Ordinary Nepalis want elections since the country has been without elected representatives for far too long. And there are definite signs of progress, for example even those parties that weren’t too keen on polls are now beginning to change their stance. So elections should happen on 19 November.

Shouldn’t the parties first settle on contentious issues so that we don’t repeat the mistakes that led to the dissolution of the CA in 2012?

We only have three months remaining before elections. If these issues can be tackled simultaneously with election preparations then such meetings are welcome. It is best we take the discussion to the floor of the CA so that we don’t postpone polls.

How do you assess the four months of Khil Raj Regmi’s government?

The current government was formed only to hold free and fair elections and has no political agendas. And if polls don’t happen, some other understanding needs to be worked out.

This government is accused of being a foreign project.

The concerns of India and China over Nepal’s internal stability and election cannot be called foreign intervention. We are in this current position because of our own shortcomings. Blaming friendly neighbours is only a sign of weakness.

And what about Nepali politicians making frequent trips to the north and south, how does that reflect on their leadership skills and decision making capacity?

If the leaders were confident in themselves, we would have had a constitution by now. The entire leadership has failed and the ripple effect is evident in our politics, economy, administration, and diplomacy. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any of these chaotic foreign trips.

Baburam Bhattarai’s resignation as vice-chairman of the Maoist party has put the issue of age and seniority in focus. What is your take on it?

We need to involve the younger generation at all levels to help lead the country forward. However, it is easier said than done and we have a long way to go before we can hand over leadership to the youth.

Is there any possibility of reuniting with Kamal Thapa’s RPP (N)?

Although we had a talk few months ago we have major ideological differences on issues of federalism, republic, and democracy.

And what about the contentious issue of constitutional monarchy?

Times have changed and it was the people’s desire to have a republic. So we will respect their wish.

What are your thoughts on the former king’s cross-country trip?

He has the personal freedom to move around and express his views.

How do you think your party will fare in the elections?

After uniting with Rastriya Prajatantra Party, I am confident that we will perform much better than in 2008.

And what about the fate of the Maoist party which won a landslide victory in the last CA elections?

Without the use force and intimidation, it is going to be very difficult for the Maoists this time.

What kind of federalism does your party advocate?

There is nothing to fear about federalism as long as it is rights-based and is grounded in science. The only thing we need to keep in mind is the number of federal states. The more states there are, the greater the danger of instability.

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