Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
"Who’s India to decide?"

Nanu Sri Tamang: The elections were postponed from June to November. But why couldn't you hold elections in November? Explain that to me.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal:
The elections were to be held in June. But the cause of postponement in June wasn't properly diagnosed and treated. The same reason caused the deferment of polls again in November.

Sushil Sharma: You would only want your party to take part in the polls if you knew you could win?
That's not right. We have never said that. All we are saying is that CA elections shouldn't be like parliamentary or panchayati elections. It comes once in a lifetime, therefore it should represent all groups and people. We aren't concerned about losing or winning.

Lekhnath Adhikari: I would like to ask the chairman, how are you going to ensure that elections are held?
Elections are an integral part of the peace process. Without addressing the problems of cantonments, the problems of those affected by the conflict, the elections will be incomplete. Of late, GP Koirala's activities haven't helped the peace process.

Sushil Sharma: A year ago you said you were willing to accept even absolute monarchy if that came from the elections, but now you are trying to end it without elections.
If the environment for elections can be created, we don't care who wins the elections. But without duly addressing the problems in the peace process, such an environment cannot be created. We realised that without ending the monarchy, elections can never be held.

Sushil Sharma: You claim that you have popular support, but why are you so scared of the monarchy that's on its death throes?
That's not true. The palace has enough money to spoil the elections.

Sushil Sharma: You have always blamed the foreign powers. Are they just scapegoats for your inability to agree?
No. We have tried to be flexible as much as we can. But now they are trying to tie our hands and feet, that's why we had to quit the government.

Binod Nepali: Why are you still kidnapping students?
The instances of child kidnapping have gone up even in the capital. Our party is against it. We are in favour of punishing those who are guilty and creating an atmosphere for proper education.

Sushil Sharma: Every day we read in papers about YCL excesses.
Show me an instance where YCL is involved. Actually, it is trying to help the police to nab the criminals.

Sarangka Ghimire: Your people take students forcibly to Maoists programs. Is this your way of protecting children rights?
We don't do that. I will look into the matter, if anyone has been taken forcibly, it's wrong.

Presenter: Why can't you even control your own cadre?
That is a fabrication. We have said there are few bad apples within our party. We have been taking action against them and handing them over police. Why are you still asking these questions? There is a conspiracy behind such questions.

Sushil Sharma: These incidents happen and then your statement comes out saying it is against party policy. Now people wonder if denying incidents after orchestrating them is part of your party policy.
(Laughs) That's not true.

Deb Narayan Mukhiya: During the war your cadres as per party directives killed innocent people: son in front of father, wife in front of husband. Can they be prosecuted in an international court for crimes against humanity? Are you ready to stand trial?
It's wrong to say that our party committed excesses during the conflict. We have taken action against individuals who had been involved in a few incidents. Crime against humanity and other excesses weren't part of our policy. But if there have been any excesses committed we are ready to stand trial in an international court; everyone should be ready for it.

Sushil Sharma: But while drafting the interim constitution, you forced the removal of a clause on prosecution for crimes against humanity.
No. I don't know where you got that from. What we said was, there should be a proper investigation before the prosecution.

Shanti Kumari BC: You keep on denying everything. Because of forced donations, the tourists have stopped coming. How long will this continue?
We have not been collecting forced donations now. We do accept voluntary donations. It is not true that the tourists have stopped coming. I have been asking hoteliers in Kathmandu and they tell me otherwise.

Karma Gurung: While you were fighting against the government yesterday, the people had to provide you with money. Now that you are in government we are still asked to give money to you.
We haven't stopped voluntary donations, but we have disallowed the forced donations and taxation. If anything close to what you've said is happening I will look into the matter and urge my party people to stop it.

Sushil Sharma: What's the reason why you secretly went to the Indian embassy recently?
I have been to the Indian embassy many times. But on that particular occasion I was ambushed by the press. It was a conspiracy. I was supposed to meet the Prime Minister at 5:30 pm in his office. At 4:30, the Indian ambassador called me and expressed his desire to meet. Well I thought, it would be lot easier to meet the ambassador at Lainchour and then go to Baluwatar. The ambassador had insisted on holding elections, and I had gone to tell him: who's India to decide?

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)