Dil Bahadur Shrestha, former minister, says that the parties, which were rejected by the people, called on the foreigners and put the country at ransom to hide their failures. He opines that the agitating political parties should be banned. Excerpts:
Q. What is your reaction to the new cabinet?
A. His Majesty the King has shown a great far-sightedness. The new cabinet is not only influential, but I believe it will make a significant contribution to bring together all the nationalist forces and to proceed ahead with the political programme.
Q. There are oppositions against the present situation. What do you think about the political future (of the country)?
A. The parties, which were rejected by the people, called on the foreigners and put the country at ransom to hide their failures. They not only brought money from outsiders but also shook hands with the Maoists they themselves had declared terrorists and put bounty on their heads. Their agreement with the terrorists will become trying to put a dam of sand. They will be finished, as the people have gradually understood their motives.
Q. How do you look at the Maoists’ cease-fire? Do you think the government too should follow suit?
A. First of all, it is necessary to understand why the Maoists announced the cease-fire. Is it for holding peace talks with the government with the intention of the peace or due to infighting within their group and because of shortage of money, ammunition or resources and to regain the losses they had suffered? How can the government toe their line without assessing all these things? Again, why would the government announce a cease-fire to make the programme of the Maoists, which are still opposing monarchy and the King and have entered into an agreement with the seven political parties against the country. The Maoists extended their cease-fire by one month only because the parties asked them. The Maoists announced the cease-fire only for their convenience and not for the country’s sake. Unless the Maoists say that they are ready for peace talks, there is no compulsion for the government to follow them.
Q. Then, what could be the solution to the Maoist problem?
A. The only solution is the step taken by the King. The Maoists must say that they are willing for multi-party democracy and constitutional monarchy and are willing for peace talks at any time. I don’t even think that there would be no harm to the country if a cabinet were formed with the involvement or the leadership of the Maoist leaders.
Q. What is the way out to the agitation of the political parties?
A. Does the King have to keep afloat the House of Representatives which was dissolved according to the constitution, as was decided by the Supreme Court and to revive the cabinet which was dissolved according to the constitution? Again does the King have the right to announce constituent assembly for a new constitution when the constitution of the country is still functioning? Otherwise, it is clear that the only way to solve the present crisis is to hold the election and the political parties should participate in the election. The King with a far-sighted vision announced the election to resolve the country’s problem through constitutional means.
Q. What is your opinion to their accusation that the election will be rigged?
A. If any election in this country is to be free and fair there should be a government formed under the King three months before the election and there should be international observers for the election. Even now, the parties can have observers from whichever country they like. But the parties which resorted to massive rigging when they headed the government and the committee they formed to look into the malpractices was fizzled out have no logic and rationale that the election under the government headed by the King will be unfair and rigged.
Q. But the agitating parties not only have said that they would boycott the polls but have also warned that they would obstruct the polls?
A. The government should ask those parties to take part in the polls and if they refuse and try to create trouble in the polls the government should take action against them.
Q. What should be the actions?
A. Those agitating parties should be banned for overtly allowing foreign interference, making agreement with the terrorists, for working under the instruction of the terrorists, asking the terrorists to extend the cease-fire by one month (which the latter did), for changing their party statute against when they had registered the parties. There is valid reason to ban the parties, as they are not registered at the Election Commission and their leaders for strict action for inciting violence.
Q. Do you have anything to say in the end?
A. The King is not the adversary of parties like Nepali Congress, UML or the Maoists. The real enemy of the Nepali Congress and the UML is the Maoists. Those parties know very well that the country’s problem will not be resolved without the King taking a forward step but they are only taking refuge with the foreigners and made agreement with the Maoists under instruction from the outsiders because the people have rejected them. I am confident that all their clandestine activities will be exposed soon.