Separate meetings of the High Level Political Committee and the government have decided to hold talks with the dissident political parties and persuade them to participate in the coming elections. Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist is in the forefront of those disrupting the ongoing voter registration drive launched by the Election Commission. Republica"s Kiran Pun talked with CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya on issues surrounding the coming elections.
Have you received any formal proposal for talks?
-No. We just heard about it via the media.
What would be the response of your party and your alliance if you received a proposal?
-First of all, we will demand the scrapping of the March 14 agreement of the parties [UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Unified Democratic Madhesi Front]. Secondly, a meeting should be called of all the parties to select a government from among the political parties.
Will these two conditions be put forward at the talks table or as a pre-condition for talks?-These are our pre-conditions for talks. These conditions should be addressed first. Then only we will consult our comrades [33 parties in the alliance] to set out our future moves. For this, the decision which is unconstitutional and un-political should be scrapped.
Suppose your preconditions are fulfilled, what would be your agenda for talks?-After cancellation of the decision, we can talk about how to hold the CA elections. The four parties have done various things including minimization of the proportional representation seats. After holding talks among the parties we will move ahead through consensus.
They have already formed the Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi-led government. Will not demanding dissolution of the government before sitting at the talks table only invite confrontation?
-It is not our choice. They headed that way intentionally. When the talks were underway, we [from our party] urged the president to call an all-party meeting to find a solution. But he did not do so. We also put forward such an agenda at the all-party meeting. But they did not respond. They wanted to bypass us. It is our compulsion to choose tit for tat. We did not want confrontation.
First, I don"t think the CA elections will be held. Secondly, if the election is held, the right of the common people will not be addressed. In this situation, the constitution is not going to be in the hands of the people and of nationalists. The situation is not in our hands. So, we have launched a protest program.
So, your party is disturbing the voter list updating process.-Yes, we have directed our people to obstruct the process. It is a symbolic obstruction. We did it so that they would heed our voice.
So, if they call you for talks, will you stop such activities?-We will not sit at the table without our concerns being addressed. We will decide after holding a meeting with our alliance partners.
I heard that the UCPN (Maoist), NC, UML and the Madhes-based parties also want to hold talks with us. What is their legal and constitutional authority and competence for holding such a meeting? Only the president and the chief of the election government have such authority. It is not that we don"t want talks with the parties. We will go for talks but not if there is no meaning to it.
You mentioned that the high-level political committee has no authority to hold a meeting. Who should call the meeting then?-Talks should be for a solution. The concern is whether or not the issues are being addressed. That means, in the existing situation, there is no meaning to talks.
-If the president calls you for talks, will you accept, or what would be your reaction?In this present situation, we have decided to boycott them -- the president and the government. We would not sit at the table without some indication the four parties" agreement will be scrapped.
The major parties went aheaded bypassing your party. Now they are calling for talks. Is there any seriousness in it or is it just a formality?
-I think they are trying to hold talks just for the endorsement of their decision. If they wanted to be serious, they would have done so in the past. Earlier, we had said time and again, mainly to the NC and UML, that if they moved ahead leaving us out, they would fail. They left out a major revolutionary section of the party. How can they move while bypassing us?
And the CA elections?
It should be understood that we have not said we will participate in the election or boycott it. We have said that the election cannot be held in this way. Without addressing the genuine concerns, it cannot be held. The party central committee meeting will also be called soon. We will take a formal decision about the election.
And your announced protest programs?
-They would be continued. After their completion, we will launch more protests after reviewing the political situation.
In your observation, is the country heading the wrong way.
Nepali politics has gone into the hands of foreigners. That is clear. Indian expansionists and other countries lay out the master plan.
Another thing, the national sovereignty of Nepal is in serious crisis. The very existence of the country is in crisis, let alone the strengthening of democracy. Sooner or later the country is going to become another Sikkim. We nationalists, leftists and all the parties should be united to save the country. Also, we should move against the four-party syndicate and their partyless system. If we success in this course, we will save our country and our national sovereignty.