The Panchayat regime was dictatorial and unable to develop the country and so it was replaced by a democratic system. Now that democracy has run into problems, the stalwarts of the Panchayat must be very happy.
How can we be happy seeing the problems the country is facing? How can people who have sacrificed their lives for the nation be happy when the state of the country is so bad. I believe that democracy should be successful. I hope the present constitution is successful. I definitely worked during the Panchayat and I am not ashamed, and have no regrets. All the work I did during the Panchayat regime has definitely benefited the nation. After the advent of democracy I have tried my best to work for the benefit of the nation, with sincerity, respect and full responsibility. At present, people who try to do good work are simply not allowed to function.
Your party held its central committee meeting recently and has made public its white paper, but people say it was held in very mysterious circumstances.
There was nothing mysterious. We have made public our report. I do not feel that this far-thinking and far-reaching paper should be called mysterious. It is the responsibility of every citizen to help the nation get back on its feet. If we analyse the serious problems the nation is facing, we will realise the Congress alone cannot resolve them. So all the forces and parties within and outside parliament-including the monarchy-must act together to put the nation back on its feet. Only a joint effort will help resolve the problems.
Does this mean that you are suggesting the king should step in?
You have to understand what we have said about the king and the role expected of him. We have clearly stated that you have to take the king into confidence and put in place mechanisms whereby the king can help. We have not said you should go beyond the parameters set by the constitution. If you study the constitution properly, you will find that the king can play a part in many ways. The king is the symbol of unity. The king is the defender of the constitution and this power has been given to him by the constitution. The constitution also harbours the spirit of the "king in parliament". In fact, article 35 describes the role of the king in detail. All work that is done by the government is done in the king's name. Where is it said that he should not be consulted at all?
Where does the constitution say that you should consult
The constitution clearly states that one must give advice, encourage and give prior information to the king. When all these things are mentioned in the constitution, then one should seek his help. How can you say it is suspicious, when we say that the king should be consulted?
The king is not using the powers given to him by the constitution.
I feel the king has not used the powers vested in him properly. For this to happen, the prime minister must also play his role to help the king. The constitution states that the PM should take the king into confidence, but until now no PM has played a positive role in this matter. Maybe you don't have to discuss minor issues, but major problems faced by the nation should definitely be discussed. The nation is at the edge of a cliff. What is the reason for ignoring such an experienced institution in such difficult times? What we are saying is that not just the king, but all the forces of the nation-the UML, the ML, the RPP and other parties-have to come together. Only then, can we find ways by which the nation can be strengthened again. This nation is between two big countries and if we become weak, others will definitely take advantage of us. Therefore we should come together and find a common ground and deal with the forces working within the parameters set by the constitution.
What is your opinion regarding the biggest problem facing the nation, the Maoist problem?
The Maoist problem exists and it started because of social, political and economic failures. This can only be solved politically and the first step in that direction is to hold a dialogue.
Is this a terrorist problem or a political one?
You have to see and understand it in two ways. The rebellion part is political in nature, while the violence is a terrorist act. You can't say it isn't a terrorist act. Although the problem is political in nature, the ways of the Maoists are those of terrorists.
Could you state clearly whether you think it is political or a terrorist problem?
Nothing stops one from defining a situation in two ways. We can call it both. To strike at the Maoists, the government is planning to mobilise the army.
There must be a national consensus on the issue of deploying the army. On such a serious issue, the government first made up its mind and then asked us for support. Is this a way of finding national consensus? We say emphasis should be placed on holding a dialogue and only then should other avenues be explored. We did not even get to put forward our thoughts.
Is your party, and its members, facing problems because of the Maoists?
Many party members have been killed. Our party workers were killed in Rolpa, Sindhupalchok, Okhaldhunga, Ilam, Sankhuwasabha and many other districts. We are facing many problems because of the Maoists. We have protested against this and we state that the way being taken by the Maoists is detrimental to the country. Everyone should lay down their arms and begin a dialogue.