Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Revolving door governments

Excerpts from an interview with Nepali Congress MP and former minister, Ram Sharan Mahat.

Q. You say that the no-confidence motion is justified, but at the same time you did not vote for the motion. Why?
A. For the sake of party unity, I stayed neutral and did not vote. There are many issues within the party that can only be solved through consensus and this was my effort till the end. However, solutions could not be found. That is why I felt it was not correct to participate in the voting process. The nation is facing many problems, and at this moment the party should be united and move forward collectively.

Q. You were definitely not scared of the prime minister and therefore stood neutral?
A. This is a stupid argument and I do not attach any importance to it. I do not want to comment on such rumours.

Q. Both Koirala and Bhattarai were unsuccessful in providing good governance, controlling corruption and providing security. Will Deuba be successful on these counts?
A. This is not a question of proving one's competence. It was wrong to remove Bhattarai from the PM's post. It has now been proved that the reasons stated while removing Bhattarai were baseless. Therefore this issue has now been raised again. Despite the majority of a particular party, the government is being changed every six months. This is not a good sign; it sets a bad precedent. We have to save the party from this and unite the party. Understanding, consensus, and unity must be developed in the party. For this the party must think with a cool head. The present crisis is not beneficial to anyone in the party. We have to take steps to stop the system of revolving-door governments.

Q. Is your present battle a battle of principles, or a battle for the chair?
The issue of principles is there but I cannot deny the fact that it is also a battle for the chair. Therefore this is a display of one's forces too. To solve all these issues the party should be united, but the tragedy is that in the Congress one's strength is being displayed all the time. It has been reduced to head counts. The party leadership is responsible for this. If peace had prevailed, we wouldn't have had these difficult times. Therefore leaders have to tread carefully and with great understanding.

Q. What do you mean the leadership has to tread carefully and with great understanding?
At present Koirala is leading both the party and the government. The absence of peace and understanding within the party has led to these problems. Every party has many centres of power and this is true for the Congress as well. One has to gain support, handle all of them carefully and move ahead. This is the test of a successful leader and statesman. Koirala has been unsuccessful on these counts.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)