Govt giving good leadership
to peace, constitution: Paudel
Devendra Paudel is the
chief political advisor of Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai. Maoist
vice-chairman Dr Bhattarai-led government has completed its 100 days in the
office recently. The performance of the government in this period has been
evaluated from different angles. The government has been congratulated for
moving ahead the peace and constitution writing process whereas it has been
criticized for failing to boost good governance. Against this backdrop,
Nandalal Tiwari of The Rising Nepal talked with Paudel, also a Maoist leader,
about the achievements of the government and other related issues.
How do you assess the
performance of the government in the last 100 days?
The government had made its
action plan keeping three points in its top priority. The first working list
was about conclusion of peace process; the second was about moving forward the
constitution writing process by creating a conducive environment and the third
was about addressing the issues related to good governance and providing
minimum relief to the people. Of these three commitments, the first and second
have relatively been implemented or they are being moved in the direction of
success. Hence, I would say that the present government has given a good
leadership to the conclusion of the peace and constitution writing process,
which has been lingering for the last five years.
However, the opposition
parties and other concerned stakeholders have termed the government as a
complete failure in good governance. What is your view in this regard?
Of course, good governance
has been the third topmost priority of the government. I do not think that the
accusation of the opposition parties, not all but a few leaders of such
parties, and the critics holds truth. We should analyse things in an objective
approach. When we see issues related to good governance in this manner, we will
find that there have been some partial shortcomings. The criticism based on
such shortcomings should be taken naturally. However, it is entirely wrong to
label the government as a total failure in good governance.
The government has in fact
assured the people of good governance by taking some promising initiatives. And
there is much to do in this aspect. We know that the people have unlimited hope
and very high expectation from the government and the government has had tough
time to meet all of the public aspirations. The criticism or the accusation of
the opposition parties has come in this context and we have taken such
criticism as publicity stunt and rumour. This makes it clear that we should not
take the present government as a failure.
The opposition parties are
reiterating that they are not opposition in relation to peace and constitution
while the present majority government is making some progress in peace and
constitution front. Given this, how do you see the possibility of and the need
for the formation of a consensus government?
I cannot predict the
formation of a totally consensus government. There has not been any such except
for some exceptions. However, there should be and can be national consensus
among the fundamental and main political trends of the country and the
representative parties of such political colours. With the 7-point agreement
among the major parties, possibility for the formation of the consensus
government has grown high. There have been discussions and processes toward
The formation of a
consensus government is needed as that will make it easy for the political
parties to make agreements on performing the remaining tasks of peace and
constitution. One example will clarify this point - it has been easy for moving
ahead the peace process, specially the army integration process, as the
government is led by the UCPN-Maoist. Similarly, there are some other issues
which could be easily implemented if there is a national consensus government.
How is the possibility of
transforming the present government into a national consensus one? What is the
response of the other parties, the opposition ones?
Some questions have been
raised in this respect, especially in relation to the four-point agreement
inked by the Maoists and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madheshi Morcha plus fringe
parties for the formation of the present government. As the four-point
agreement is the basis of the government, the other parties have taken it as a
moral question to them to join the present government. For this reason, they
have been talking for other options to form a consensus government.
As I see the things, at the
moment there are two options for the change of the leadership of the government
– by tabling a no-confidence motion in the Legislature-Parliament and proving
the majority for the proposal or by the resignation of the Prime Minister on
the basis of consensus. I do not see that either of the conditions prevails at
present. This calls for the formation of the national consensus government in
the leadership of the present government. There have been discussions on terms
to name the government although in nature it will be a consensus government.
Overall, there have been discussions among the parties about how to change the
present government into a consensus government and not the other way round.
It is clear that the
7-point pact of the parties on moving forward the peace and constitution
process is silent about the management of the wounded and disabled PLA members.
How will the government or the political parties address their grievances?
The government or the state
should make alternative arrangement for the disabled and the wounded. This also
applies to those who have opted for army integration but cannot be integrated
due to the fixation of the number. This issue will be dealt with also in the
(Army Integration) Special Committee. Once the People’s War has been accepted
as a political movement, I hope, the parties will find a common ground in this
regard. However, talks are underway that the government should make some
arrangement in this issue.
The government has been
criticized for not extending the tenure of the UN Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR), Nepal. What difference would it have
made had the government extended the term?
There was no concern before
the tenure of the UNOHCHR expired. When the government did not extend the term,
concern has been shown by some diplomatic missions and human rights
organizations in the country. Now all this should have drawn the attention of
the government. The non-extension of the term should not be understood as disrespect
to the role played by the UNOHCHR but rather as a development of new positive
political situation. The UN agency was brought here when the country was
reeling under conflict and that situation has changed now.
You are also a Maoist
leader. How the internal struggle in your party is affecting the peace and
constitution writing process?
It is not that there is
internal conflict only in the Maoists. After the People’s Movement in 2006, the
parties approached the people with their separate agenda. However, after the CA
election, factionalism emerged in different parties owing to difference of
thought and attitude within the parties. The Maoist party could not remain as
an exception to this development. As such, there are groups of thought in our
parties too and they are finding expressions in different manners. We all in
our party are for a general convention to resolve the ideological differences.
However, to resolve the discussions and differences on tactical questions, the
party has called the Central Committee meeting. I hope the meeting will arrive
at some conclusions in this respect.
Regardless of differences
in the party, our party as a whole is implementing all the agreement signed
with the other parties in relation to concluding the peace and constitution
writing. Therefore, I would not say that the internal struggle in our party has
had a negative impact.
Let me change the context.
How are you taking the scheduled visit of the Chinese Prime Minister to the
country, especially at this critical juncture of transitional period?
Asia is a continent of
economic prosperity in the days ahead due to the large population and the
development potential. China and India are emerging as the centers of such
prosperity while Nepal is between them. Because of its social, economic and
political standing, China is moving ahead as a big power in the world. With a
separate identity of sovereignty and nationality, we are adjacent to it. In
addition to visits of China from our dignitaries, the visits of Chinese dignitaries
to our country hold significance in that we feel that we are drawing their
attention to cooperation for our economic development.
It is difficult to predict
the concrete outcome of the visit of the Chinese delegation led by the Prime
Minister. Still the upcoming visit of the Chinese Prime Minister will play a
historic and substantially significant role for the people of Nepal, Nepal’s
sovereignty, nationality and economic development.
Source: The rising Nepal Daily