Nepali Times
"Constitution by 27 May"

With two months to go before the mandate of the Constituent Assembly expires, despite major hurdles, the political parties have made progress on both the peace process and constitution. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai spoke to Nepali Times on Monday about the challenges in the next 60 days.

Nepali Times: How has the last seven months as Prime Minister been?
Baburam Bhattarai:
It has been challenging, but I am doing the best I can.

But you have come under a lot of criticism.
The criticism comes from heightened expectations. Perhaps, I have to do more to meet those expectations.

You had promised to lead the country out of the transition phase by completing the peace process in three months.
Yes, but I also said it required a national consensus which unfortunately we could not forge. With the other half of the stakeholders in the process sitting in the opposition, I cannot single handedly move ahead. I am doing my bit to gain their confidence but they also have to be equally willing to cooperate.

What about your own party members taking to the streets against you?
I admit there are serious political and ideological differences within the party right now. We are trying to talk to Baidyaji and other comrades and take them along. But this will not change the party's commitment towards peace and constitution. I appeal to all citizens and friends of Nepal not to fall for any statements made by individuals.

What about your quote in the media where you supposedly 'threatened' the country with another war if the constitution is not written?
I am really shocked about how my statements were quoted out of context, I was pointing out the potential dangers of a political vacuum. The war was not personal, it was a gainst the system, it is unfair to demonise individuals. Remember, out of 16,000 that died, most were Maoist cadres. Does anybody question the brutality of the state?

The UML says it is impossible to complete the peace process as long as you are in power. They want you to resign.
Those who are demanding my resignation forget they were in government for almost two years before me, and not a single task of peace process was completed. In seven months, I made sure the cantonments were emptied and today parties are at a point of no return on the peace process. So, let the people be the judge of my performance.

But you have not been able to curb excesses by your own coalition partners?
I cannot make decisions based on what comes out in the media. I look into the matters and wherever necessary take action. But these are official decisions and I will not make public statements in favour or against anybody.

And why was it necessary to give Rs 20 million to your chairman's son's expedition to Mt Everest?
It was not the first time the government had taken such decision. This one became an issue because it involved a particular individual. Personally, I may agree or disagree about it, but there was widespread protest and the team decided not to take that money. Let the issue rest there.

Deadlines have come and gone, when will the integration process begin?
We are at a stage of the integration process where only a few issues remain. The final work on integration will begin very soon. We are also making final preparation to form the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a commission to look into cases of disappearances. Once these two tasks are completed, the peace process will make a quantum leap.

Will the TRC and Disappearance committees be formed before 27 May?
Definitely, the integration and formation of these committees will take place simultaneously. We have almost finalised the basic structure of the commission, once it is completed we will pass the bill and the commissions will take shape. This will happen before 27 May.

It looks like the form of governance and federalism will deadlock negotiations on the constitution?
The constitution reflects the political power balance in the country. So no party is going to have a constitution of its choice. We have to find a middle ground for which every side has to compromise. On forms of governance, I think there will be a sharing of power. And on federal structure, we have to compromise on the number of federal units. I am sure parties will come to that point soon.

By mixed sharing, do you mean directly elected executive? Will that be a president or a prime minister?
I think in a country like ours we need a directly elected executive. We have made this proposal but the NC and some other parties have reservations about it. So my guess is, we may have a directly elected president with a prime minister elected by a legislature parliament. That could be a compromise.

What about the disagreements regarding ethnic federalism?
It has already been agreed in the legislature parliament that the basis of federalism would be both identity and economic viability. So these are unnecessary disputes, and there is no point in raising them.

In our previous interview with you in August last year, you said we only need a 'moment of sanity' for consensus, has the moment arrived yet?
In multiparty politics, one has to have patience to bring diverging interest groups to a common platform and that takes time. But we are moving in the right direction and a new constitution by 27 May is possible.

1. Urvashi Sharma
Politics in Nepal is a dirty business. Its the same way even in India and USA. The Party leaders quarrel and fight and the people always lose. The leaders have big EGOS. Nepal has a Constitution. Remember that anyone. We do not need a brand new spanking Constitution again. The illegal and immoral CA and the corrupt Maoist Govt has to go.  BRB and Dahal have lied too many times for they have no shame. If the NC is really a Party of the honest people, then it will make sure we go for new polls. The people will banish  BRB and DAHAL to India where they can serve their India masters. They are not welcome in Nepal.

2. Rajendra Shrestha
The Maoist Party needs a makeover really bad.  Their thinking and vision realtes to the past. This is confirmed by their actions and behaviours. BRB and DAHAL have lost all credibilty in the eyes of the public by their blatant lies and corruption. They are public servants that act like Emperors. Who advises the Maoist. Is it India. Do the Indians want a peaceful Nepal or a Nepal that is always in a turmoil. Why do the Nepali people hate them. The Indian domination has to end soon. No extension of CA, I agree that we need a fresh mandate. After all, it should be the government of the people, not a party of criminals and crooks. 

3. Mahendra Nepali
Finally, the Maoist are in a corner. Their Party is in disarray. Their leaders are openly fighting with each other. They have earned the reputaion as  killers, liars and looters. The people are disgutsed and fed up with the Maoist thugs. BRB's days are now numbered. The NC and the UML will not allow the Maoist loot to continue anymore. The CA will not exist after May 27.  We cannot run a country from the barrel of a gun. The Maoist revolution has failed.  

4. Umesh Rai

How can any decent honest person believe the lies of Baburam. If he loved Nepal or the people of Nepal, he would not have the jumbo jet gangs of looters as Ministers. Actions are louder than lies and speeches. The poor people of Nepal have put up with the immoral C A of 601 do nothing Assembly. Dahal or Nepal, Bhattarai or Koirala, they are all the same. They are in cahoots, scratching each others backs. But, the times they are a changing and the answers for peace and progress for Nepal is blowing in the winds. Just Listen.  The Civil Society will bring forward this change. The naked Emperors of the Maoist will soon realize that they have no clothes. Enough impunty, murder, extortion, loot and abuse of the power and position these Maoist currently have. How can Dahal, a ghost from the past compete with a Instant message and I- Pad generation. Besides,  NEPAL ALREADY HAS A CONSTITUTION.                

5. Poudyal

.... The war was not personal, it was a gainst the system, it is unfair to demonise individuals.  

With somuch corruption goin on I wonder.......

Mr. Bhattari....needs go back and read why the Maoists said they were going to to jungle to oppose the all that,  they have back trcked .....and pursing a different polices...Did we have to kill 16,000. people...admitted on both go and loot the excehquer and Nepalese taxpayers??? 

Why is corruption worse then it was duing the Pancyant system? The blood of the 16,000 people have been wasted and you have blood in your hands which you cannot wash by being the PM.

Remember, out of 16,000 that died, most were Maoist cadres. Does anybody question the brutality of the state?

6. Poudyal

I think in a country like ours we need a directly elected executive. We have made this proposal but the NC and some other parties have reservations about it. So my guess is, we may have a directly elected president with a prime minister elected by a legislature parliament. That could be a compromise.

Be aware......many African countries have had problems because of the Directly elected Presdient and are swining to the other side. Read the Kenyan is a good one!

7. ushaft
Oh Baburam Bhattarai. Again.

Will he ever get out of his illusion that he is the solution to all of Nepal's ills ?

He thinks he is the only good and able person in Nepal and *all the rest* are preventing him from doing any work. Never mind that from the day Madhav Nepal assumed office, he made his cadres throw stones at his vehicle, show black flags, boycott meetings and not engage in any dialogue. They humiliated the prime minister by calling him a *puppet* and the president by taking out processions of people riding buffaloes. I always wondered if BRB's gang was unhappy because a BMW-rider was not a president.

In contrast, people have remained silent to India's blatant involvement in making BRB the prime minister, BRB's shameless lies like "i'll leave the government if it is not a national-unity govt" or "i'll finish the peace process in 45 days." There is no room for complaint for BRB.

The progress in peace process is not because of BRB or his government. In fact the peace process had not progressed because of BRB. For example: it was him who designed PKD's exit from govt (PKD has publicly said it was on BRB's advice that he sacked the CoAS), it was him who opposed when PKD and MKN were agreeing to make progress on peace process, for example by handing over the keys. The only way BRB has helped the peace process is by not obstructing it like before, after he became the PM. Otherwise, there is no more credit due to him.

In plain words, BRB is a war monger. He is a megalomaniac who thinks because of his academic records, he can touch and turn things to gold. He thinks he has a tune to which he can make people dance and a flawless design to which he can lead the country. And no one can question him.

He has been appealing to the middle class and urban crowd all along. Read his articles from war time published in Kathmandu's newspapers and magazines. He constantly assures us of democracy and more freedom. Read the kinds of statements he makes when he addresses them: soft, liberal-sounding and sympathy-seeking "i am only trying to do my best here, but i'm the one being victimized."

Prashant Jha, Aditya Adhikari and since sometime ago, Anurag Acharya are doing all they can to jump high enough in his praise to be seen my BRB and be added to his good books. Power attracts, and if we can collectively help BRB reach his dreams, he will help us reach ours. So, let us write more theory, twist stories, let us have more lies and random interpenetration of history as long as BRB's ego wants to rest.

8. ushaft
To add to my previous comment:
Upon getting any chance, he appeals to the middle class and the urban crowd. It pays to have such people in your side. And they are happy to think there's someone who can lead the country without them having to think or worry much. It helps because some of them will read The Kathmandu Post or the Nepali Times, most of them will read the magazines and newspapers and watch the cable tvs. He makes sure he has enough people at these places to prepare, mend and idolize his image.

Listen to what he says when he turns slightly around where the microphone won't catch his voice. He says a democratic (loktantrik) constitution is not possible (see here). What does it mean? I thought the so called JanaAndolan 2 was for a "loktantrik republic." He says more people will be killed, he says the war is not over and he is on a protracted war.

All these are there in the press and his official documents. Of course he knows the Kathmandu Post crowd won't see it.

BRB says that the right to property is not needed. On the other hand, he says he wants to promote trade and investment. He asks people to be assured that he will provide more freedom and democracy than anyone.

And these columnists want us to believe it. Nicely tried.

9. James Basnet
Do not believe the lies of BRB and DAHAL. The Maoist are thugs. The Maoist have no shame or morality or decency.Nepal is failing each day because the leaders in Nepal have failed the people. That goes for NC and UML as well. The Madhises have only come to power and gone on rampage of loot. Indians must be happy to see the sorry state of Nepal.Deposed Gyanendra is plotting. He wants to use religion to get back in power. Maybe India is helping him. That is what India does. India divides Nepalis and rules over Nepal. Until Nepal has leaders that can take the Indians head on, nothing will change in Nepal. Why.Because India owns all the current leaders of Nepal. Thisis the reality of Nepal.

10. nepali cheli
#9 again the ugly "india is responsible for all the evils in Nepal" type of lame commentor raises his/her empty head. miss or mr james, people like you should just shut up! you add nothing new or dynamic to the discussion. just like BRB and Dahal, you are also a blood sucking leech in this society, we could do without you. does india own you too? is that where all your bitterness stems from? 

11. Subash Sharma


# 10 ... are u an Indian... u must be ... if not then you are a  traitor... James is right, the Indians with the help of Maoist killed 17000k Nepalis... u are the blood sucker of Nepalis not James... you should be banished from Nepal for supporting Indian killers amd Maoist killers... you are a disgusting piece of work. a disgrace to Nepal and a disgrace to humanity. 

12. Pravha Dhakal
In case anyone is paying any attention, Nepal HAS A CONSTITUTION. ARE YOU ALL BLIND.

13. kale
i applaud baburam's aggressive road expansion drive in nepal. He will be remembered for his courageous vision in demolishing houses and widening roads much needed in a metropolis we call ktm. For everything what he'd done in his adminstrative behest is worthy of praise than criticisms we throw at him in our leisure with little or no knowledge of politics. I say let nepal politics take its own course and wait where the country is headed, after all..this is a country of fools like you and me and baburam. 

14. Nirmal
The road expansion drive is just a populist stunt of our dear leader Baburam. Let him give due credit of this but when they are going to be built? Is it like the general politics of Nepal, by now Baburame has expanded the road and when Prachande becomes the PM(or the executive head) he will pitch all of them and make them function properly. By now, I just see how unhealthy those dirts are for general public If it is to stay same for more time without being asphalted. In Ktm there were similar expansions a couple of years ago but instead they have become nuisance for all upto now.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)