Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
"We don't take instructions from foreign powers"

Gorkhapatra: Some national and international status quoist forces seem to be maneuvering to appoint Girija Prasad Koirala as the prime minister once again. When will the next government be formed?
Pushpa Kamal Dahal: Some forces from within and outside the country having reactionary and status quoist tendencies are still not happy with the outcome of the Constituent Assembly elections. Hence, different kinds of conspiracies are being hatched to not allow the CPN-Maoist to form the government. Had some other party emerged as the largest in the CA then the government would have been formed within a week. Nepalis know this reality. Nepali people will ultimately emerge victorious. The next government will be of the Maoists as mandated by the people.

One breed of politicians has been terming the Maoist preparations to lead the next government as "totalitarianism".
When Nepalis fought for their rights they were dubbed terrorists. But we joined the peace process, contested the elections and became the largest party by getting overwhelming support from the people. If attempts are made to dub us totalitarians at this juncture then those who make such charges give out the odour of despotic and reactionary rulers of yesterday. The CPN-Maoist waged a struggle for the last three months not to become a totalitarian force but to uphold the people's mandate. It is a party that believes in politics based on norms and values. Those who have been dubbing the Maoists as totalitarians are out to push the nation into a grave crisis.

How can we expect to have consensus politics in this situation?
We called the meeting of the 25 parties. Of them 20-21 parties said the Maoists should lead the next government. It was only after this that the Maoists put forward the three preconditions in order to move ahead in a different way amidst the changed political situation after the presidential elections. Thus, we asked the three parties to clarify whether their coalition was only for the elections or would also go ahead. We did not mean to instruct the three parties to dissolve the alliance, all we told them was that they should clarify the nature of the alliance. If they want us to form the government then our programs and policies for the next two years should be reflected in the commitment paper to be signed by the other parties that wish to join the Maoist-led coalition.

It is said that the new coalition in India does not want the Maoists to rise to power?
I do not feel that just because the communists withdrew their support to the Indian government, there will be a shift in India's foreign policy. Nepal's politics has always been guided by Indian interests. Some political parties chart out their policies according to India's wishes. This is not a new phenomenon. The Indian establishment helped the parties in Nepal to put the 12-point agreement in place and accordingly backed the efforts of the parties to hold the elections to the CA and move ahead in the peace process. The four-month-long lingering on whether the Maoists should form the government is not because of the NC, UML or India only. There is a subtle difference between the class opinion and political opinion between the Maoists and foreigners. They have been weighing what they need to do if the Maoists are to be allowed to form the government. But I would like to make it clear that the CPN-Maoist does not move ahead at the instruction of any foreign power. Our strength is the people of Nepal and we will always uphold their aspirations.

Was the election of the president influenced by foreign pressure?
It has widely been felt that there has been foreign interference in Nepal's internal politics. In the later phase, the interference has increased. There was foreign interference behind the delay in the formation of the new government and the way the election of the president was held. The proposal for reaching a consensus to elect Girija Prasad Koirala from the NC and Madhab Kumar Nepal from the UML was not a Nepali plan. It wasn't the plan of the NC or UML either. When we proposed Ram Raja Prasad Singh as the presidential candidate, Dr Ram Baran Yadav and Ramprit Paswan were declared candidates overnight. We had been holding a dialogue with the UML. We asked them to give the candidacy to a Dalit, somebody from the ethnic or indigenous community, Madhesi or a woman instead of Nepal, to make the post inclusive. Had the UML proposed Paswan at the outset, we would have easily agreed. Now I wonder whether Nepal's name was proposed at the behest of foreign powers. What stopped the UML from proposing Sahana Pradhan's name to which we had given a nod earlier?

What is your comment on a caretaker prime minister representing Nepal at the SAARC Summit?
A conspiracy (was) hatched to prevent the new Maoist-led government to take part in the SAARC Summit. The address of a Maoist prime minister would certainly deviate from tradition and would be entirely different. I had regular meetings with the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Nepal and the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister. They extended their invitation to me to participate in the Summit. I had prepared my address, which would have been quite different. I feel that I was stopped from heading the new government and participating in the Summit as it was feared that a new message would be disseminated to the world through my address.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)