Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
“Not until they give up violence”

I had long conversations on the telephone with Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai, separately, while I was in New Delhi. But I did not contact them, they had somehow located my hotel and called me there.

The conversation I had with Prachanda dwelt on issues ranging from the democratic movement in Nepal to the end of the king\'s autocracy and from peaceful movement to the violence of the Maoists. Prachanda told me that his party was willing to participate in the joint movement of the seven parties. He stressed that his party wanted to form a common slogan of 'multiparty democratic republic\' with the parties. I explained that it was not possible right now. As long as the Maoists continued their violent and chaotic ways, parties could not respond to their call for unity.

Baburam repeated what Prachanda had said. He tried to assure me that there was no rift between them and that their strength had increased. He also added that his party was willing to forge unity with the parties and move ahead in a new way under changed circumstances. I noticed a slight difference in the way the Maoist leaders used to speak before and the way they speak now. Earlier, they used to ask us to join their armed struggle and support their demand for the election of the constituent assembly and republican system. Now, they say that we (the parties) need to include them in our struggle against autocracy.

It is wrong to say that the political leaders run to Delhi whenever a political crisis arises in Nepal. We must not forget that there are around eight million Nepalis in India, the UML has a strong base among them. Nepalis have fought in India\'s struggle for freedom and Indian leaders have expressed their solidarity in the democratic movement of Nepal. This has been a cultural tradition between the two countries.

It is not the political parties but the supporters of monarchy and autocracy who often reach Delhi and try to appease the Indian authorities. The stories of their sycophancy are unbelieveable. There are many of them in New Delhi, people associated with institutions like the World Hindu Federation lobbying for their interest. During our stay in India, we came to know that the king himself sought support from Indian leaders, whether it was during the meeting in Jakarta or elsewhere. We also came to know that the king has been sending messages to the Indian establishment through intermediaries repeatedly. Pro-monarchists have been meeting extremists in India requesting them to quell our movement. So it doesn\'t behove them to say that the political parties\' leaders are India-dependent.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)