Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
"We are moving in the right direction"

BBC Nepali: What would you say are the three main achievements of the government under the king in the last six months?
Dan Bahadur Shahi:
The law and order situation has been improving. We have been able to control terrorism. We have been providing efficient public services to the people without any prejudice and they are free of corruption. The biggest achievement is that we have been able to help people lose their fear of terrorism. These are the indications that the objectives for which this government was formed have been met and that we are moving in the right direction.

But the king himself and other members of the ministers' council have admitted that they need time to get things done, which is also what the parties always said. The difference is that the parties kept on saying things and we do things.

But do you have any supporters? Criticism is mounting.
Who is criticising? Is it the Nepali people or is it the foreigners? There is a big difference between what the Nepali people are saying and what outsiders believe.

But how can you claim to know what the people truly believe?
People have been representing themselves now. You will have to talk to the people and find out the truth from them.

When the king took over six months ago, he said he'd bring democracy back on track. All we have seen are crackdowns on democracy.
The parties have been carrying on with their demonstrations and free speech. The sizes of such demonstrations are exaggerated by newspapers. We have not prohibited any publications despite the fact that they have been bringing out incorrect news.

Professional organisations have also accused the government of curbs on civil liberties. In the name of professional organisations, demonstrators are coming to the streets every day with political agendas. We have never tried to stop them. But in the name of democratic rights, if they resort to arson, vandalism and other destructive activities, we can't allow them to do so. No democracy in the world tolerates such activities.

The government has been criticised for making amendments to acts and laws through royal ordinances and not parliament.
You need to make such amendments and ordinances when you have to run the state. And remember, parliament was dissolved by an elected government of the same parties who are protesting today. The government cannot stay with its hands tied just because there is no parliament.

But many say the amendments add up to a plot against democracy.
How can you expect us to allow the civil servants, who are paid from the national coffers, to hold the flags of the political parties?

So, the government believes that the opposition from inside and outside the country to the royal takeover is not justifiable?
I did not say that. I believe that the government too has the right to express what it believes is right in the national interest.

Your government seems to be in no mood to work with the parties, forget about holding talks with the Maoists or announcing a ceasefire. How long do you plan to go on like this?
Who says the government is not interested to create cordial relations with the parties? If the Maoists come forth giving up arms and violence and with a sincere intention to hold talks, why would the government say no?

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)