Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Speaking his mind

Excerpts of an interview with Mohan Bikram Singh, general secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unity Centre).

Have your 'disciples' come to their senses yet?
It's not good to categorise people as guru and disciple. For some time in the communist movement all of us were united. Differences and controversy caused the split in our ranks. On the subject of seeing sense, I think it's just a matter of the Maoist leadership learning to analyse situations in a way that we've always done.
We define the Maoists as "rightist opportunists" because they tried to bargain with "reactionary forces" through the so-called "people's war" in an attempt to wrest power by all means possible. This is why we think the main objective behind their current ceasefire is to consolidate power through this method.

What do the king and Maoists want out of the peace talks?
That's obvious. The king wants to strengthen the position of the Royal Nepali Army, thereby consolidating his own position, while the Maoists still want power, even if they have to share it, through whatever way possible. While the Nepali Congress has taken a clear stand on the issue of democracy the UML is still sitting on the fence. There must certainly have been discussions and a written understanding between the king and the Maoists, which haven't been made public. It's not good to veil such moves behind a curtain of secrecy.

Do you think India is taking advantage of the Maoists, especially after the Siliguri meeting in August last year?
India wants to see the Maoists become so strong that the Nepali security apparatus fails to control it and has to seek Indian assistance. And the help they lend Nepal would be motivated by their own interests.

Are the peace talks likely to succeed?
The palace, India and the US in their own way are using the ceasefire, talks and other Maoist activities. If it serves their purpose it will succeed, otherwise nothing will come of it.

On what basis do you accuse the Maoists of being pro-monarchy?
The singular aim of the monarchy and the Maoists has been the negation of the achievements made by the 1990 People's Movement. This became increasingly clear in the aftermath of the royal massacre in June 2001. For instance, the main targets of violence have been those who that took part in the pro-democracy movement. Those for the monarchy or the traditional parties have been relatively unscathed. They have attempted time and again to destroy the multiparty system, the present constitution and dissolve the parliament.

Are you alluding to a working arrangement between the king and the Maoists?
They have reached an agreement to finish off the political system that came into place after 1990. Instead of playing the role of a revolutionary party, the Maoists spread terror and destroyed development infrastructure, which culminated in the king's 4 October move.

Could you explain how this is possible?
The Maoists will sign a pact with anybody if it benefits them, whether it is the king or India. In Nepali politics, the king has to weaken the Nepali Congress to become strong. That is why the palace has tried to use anti-Congress forces, including the communists, to this end.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)