Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
No apparent leader

Subedi is a former Nepali Congress leader and was a mediator during the first round of peace talks in 2001.

Sanghu: You were active during the ceasefire between the Maoists and Deuba's government.
Durga Subedi:
I used to have regular contact with the Maoists and when Deuba became the prime minister he told me to organise the table talks and I played a mediator's role. I was also involved in many discussions with leaders like Krishan Dwoj Khadga and Mumaram Khanal.

You failed to notice the loopholes in talks when you had played a key role in them?
The problem was that there were people from both the Koirala and Deuba camps in the negotiating team and they had conflicting views. The signs of failure were imminent.

So do you blame Girija?
It was his stubbornness that led to failure in the first round. He had his mind set on crushing the communists. He could not tolerate the Maoists at all and even tried to destroy the UML, which was gaining momentum in the communist movement.

Didn't the Maoists give prior notice to mediators before attacking the barracks in Dang right after abandoning the peace talks?
They had informed me that the talks would end because their agenda had failed. They asked me what to do. I told them to make the best decision. But which underground power will inform you about its planned military attacks?

But you didn't immediately tell the prime minister that the rebels were going underground?
I had already cautioned Deuba as well as Chiranjibi Wagle that there would be no talks if the government failed to agree to a constituent assembly. But they didn't believe me and Deuba told me he had already discussed this with the rebel leaders.

Who should the Maoists hold talks with?
Even within the seven parties, the relationship is not so cordial. Any movement has one commander but the parties have several leaders. When the Maoists join the alliance then the group will become eight parties. When that happens, who will lead the talks with the king?

But who should be the overall leader?
There hardly seems anyone good enough. There is no leader within the seven parties who the public really respects. There are some remarkable members within civic society groups who could properly lead the people, parties and the Maoists.

What about the king?
The king failed to work for the good of his institution. He has to now understand that no regime runs with the help of the gods alone but only by and through the people. No matter what steps the king makes, they only help to strengthen the democratic movement and erode the integrity of the monarchy.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)