Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Operation successful, but patient died

It is unfortunate that the ceasefire has ended. During my premiership, the government and the Maoist rebels first discussed the code of conduct before declaring a ceasefire. The Maoists presented their political agenda even then, but we did not respond to that document. Our idea was to first deal with the areas of agreement, leaving differences for later. The new government did not follow that formula. The concept paper should not have been done so lightly, it is made to establish peace. If we had presented the paper, it would have included the essential points, unlike what the Thapa government submitted. Their approach can be summed up thus: operation successful, but the patient died.

Of course, each government functions in its own way. If there is a new government tomorrow, it will opt for a new way to deal with the rebels. It's better that we refrain from jumping to conclusions about the change in government leading to the derailment of peace negotiations. A few instances of violence marred the code of conduct during my tenure, too. But we had every intention of discussing the matter with the rebels and we were making progress on that front. The Maoists did not break talks while I was in charge, but having said that, the continuous delays in the third round was probably the most detrimental factor.

It is wrong to say now that the declaration of ceasefire was immature. Did we or didn't we need peace? Did the people cry out for peace? I'll admit that an intensive discussion on the code of conduct did not take place, but if it was done in haste the result could have been haphazard. We were looking for a middle-path. We had decided on the extent of our compromises and were waiting for the right moment to act. It's too bad that we never received the chance to present our concept paper.

The controversy of confining the army was born out of mere discussions. The government never agreed and I never received a formal notification if there had been such a development. We thought we could keep that issue on the back burner and go ahead with other matters.

I did my best to include the agitating political parties, but that's all history now. I resigned because I believed my exit would pave the way for a resolution. It was the most I could do. The present prime minister must have his own ideas of how to approach the present crisis. He also must prove the rationale for his continuity. If he fails to do so, his presence will be meaningless.

Constitutionally, I don't think the restoration of the House of Representatives is right, but everything is possible in politics. However, what guarantee is there that all the problems will be solved once the parliament is revived? The problems did not disappear when we had an elected parliament. We cannot rule out the possibility of a constituent assembly. The thing is, if we engage ourselves in reworking the constitution every few years, when do we do real work?

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)