PM Will Quit On Political Consensus: Prachanda
VOL. 06, NO. 04, July 27, 2012 (Shrawan 12, 2069)
After completion of the UCPN-Maoist plenum, party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda Spoke to the media. Excerpts:
How do you see the possibility of holding the elections?
Our party has already decided to hold the elections. We will work now to make them successful.
Do you think the other parties will agree?
There is no alternative before us. It was a decision taken under the compulsion of circumstances. Our party will now go to villages to make the coming elections successful. This is the message of our plenum.
What about the decision of other parties?
It is necessary to find a political consensus to hold the elections. We are going to hold a series of meetings to make the CA elections possible. We need to develop understanding and consensus. We will be more flexible towards this end.
What other alternatives do you see?
All political parties need to settle the issue like identity based federalism, promulgation of new constitution from Constituent Assembly and formation of an all party government. These will be a part of the new road map.
Do you believe the elections will be held?
Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and other parties are also coming closer to an agreement on the elections. This is a good sign. The process to hold the elections for CA is in the final stage. We can hold the elections for the CA and later on the CA will be transformed to a parliament with a five years’ tenure.
How do you see the possibility of CA revival?
At a time when all political parties are gradually heading to hold the elections for CA, there is no sense to talk about the revival of CA. It is an outdated idea now. We will promulgate the new ordinance and amend the constitution through consensus. This will help us hold the elections.
Other political parties are demanding the resignation of prime minister Baburam Bhattarai as a prerequisite to hold the elections. What do you have to say on this?
I don't think the resignation of prime minister can settle any problem of the country. Resignation cannot bring any solution but it will create more problems. After the consensus among political parties, we are ready to form an all party national government under the leadership of Nepali Congress.'
After such a long dispute, what future do you see for the UCPN-Maoist?
Our party has united now and we have decided to hold the national convention. There are no more internal differences among Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and Narayankazi Shrestha and I.
Despite hurling physical assaults against one another, UCPN-Maoist leaders temporarily buried their hatchets of political differences
By A CORRESSPONDENT
Until a year ago, UCPN-Maoist leader Prachanda was regarded as a strong political personality who was said to have the ability to guide the political course of the nation. However, his status has changed so much now. After the plenum of the party, Maoist supremo Prachanda is nowhere near what he was then. Even his personal privileges, including house and cars, have been stripped.
After the split of the UCPN-Maoist, it was Prachanda who was weakened so much that he is now in no position to say anything against prime minister Baburam Bhattarai. “ Demanding the resignation of prime minister is nonsense,” Prachanda said in a press conference. “ There is no question to replace prime minister Bhattarai at this moment.”
The sudden shift in the tone of Maoist leader Prachanda has a certain reason. In the three-day long party plenum, UCPN-Maoist leaders used hate and abusive words against one another. The second day meeting was so tense that police rescued their leaders when followers of UCPN-Maoist leader Prachanda and the prime minister threw stones in the crowd.
The acts of Prachanda’s followers strengthened the prime minister. At the end, aggressive Prachanda had to bow down before Bhattarai, accepting to form a probe commission for the misuse of party funds, return of current residence and end his luxurious lifestyle.
Although Maoist leaders Prachanda and Baburam came out at a press conference shaking hands, hugging and sharing dais as if nothing unusual had taken place a day earlier, prime minister Baburam Bhattarai made a political gain out of the chaos.
Split just a month ago, UCPN-Maoist is, in real terms, under a process of the third split. Although senior leaders agreed on a compromise, inner party disputes have already intensified and nobody needs to be surprised in case of the party’s third split.
“UCPN-Maoist is now united and we have buried all the differences for the sake of the country and the people,” said prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, who is now in dominant position in the party against Prachanda. “We don’t have any groups now and we have only one line of thought.”
As Prachanda was badly humiliated in the plenum, as he was compelled to accept all the demands by the prime minister, now everyone is waiting to see another battle in the next convention unfolding. It will remain to be seen how the crack will further intensify or narrow in the UCPN-Maoist party. The recently concluded plenum has gone to strengthen the prime minister for sure.
"Budget Has Become A National Fairytale”
RAJENDRA KUMAR KHETAN
RAJENDRA KUMAR KHETAN is a well known industrialist of Nepal. Chairman of Khetan Group, Khetan has keenly watched the economic development of Nepal. Khetan spoke to DEBESH ADHIKARI on various issues regarding the on-going state of the economy. Excerpts:
The government brought partial budget against the demands of the private sector. What are your thoughts on the budget and how should the private sector look at it?
There are no reasons for the private sector not to be happy. We as a private sector should not link ourselves with the budget. In fact, if will you go to the origin of budget, basically it is the income and expenditure of the government and we the private sector will look for stability and should not allow the budget to be more fairytale. Budget hardly affects us and private sector should compete in the market rather than chasing and discussing about the budget. Let budget mainly be the priority of the nation on the development side and sources of the fund by which development could be addressed from revenue, aid and foreign support and other local mobilization. I think budget should be limited to that. It has become a national fairy tale story, which I disagree to.
The recent surveys show that the performance of the manufacturing sector has been declining for some time now and Nepal has to mainly depend on the agriculture for national output. What are the main reasons?
Nepalese economy is not competitive because of lack of market, lack of raw materials, because of the size of the market, because the sea port is very far and the backward-forward linkages are difficult, so we cannot be competitive. Hence we have to diversify into area of comparative advantage and there are differences between competitiveness and comparative advantage sector. Probably if we add value on it, it may grow. But, in the mid-term and long term I don’t see the possibility of the manufacturing industry growing much except for those whose raw materials are locally available or for those there is the size of economy which is the domestic size of the market.
Where is the economy actually heading from here?
It is more heading towards the service industry. Manufacturing will stand still, it won’t seize the opportunity, it will not grow, but whatever the growth will be, it will maintain the pie for which there is the raw materials or the local demands.
Is Khetan group also moving towards service industry?
We have already decided that and we have already started that.
In the context of political instability, how do you see the coming days for the Nepalese economy?
It is going to be very difficult. There is anarchism, the bureaucrats are taking a lot of benefits of these political disturbances and exploiting the private sector and it is getting more and more difficult.
What is the state of labor act and the labor act amendment process?
I don’t blame the labor act. It is more or less within the standard. What we need to understand is the weightage should be linked with productivity and that will enable us to be more competent, by paying and by getting the best out of labors, both sides. More production, more benefit to the service men, and more production, more economic growth to the private sector. I think this is the way and for that probably some social security arrangement should be done, but in case there is a company which is not paying the minimum wages, then the labor department should take action.
Given the present state of labor unrest in Nepal, is there the possibility of getting foreign investment?
Forget about foreign investment, there is difficulty even in getting local investment. Foreign investment is basically discouraged in Nepal because the foreign investors cannot pay bribe and without bribe it is very difficult to work in Nepal so foreign companies are discouraged and the demands for bribe is going up every day. For the next 7-10 years, it is very difficult.
You are the president of Nepal-Britain Chamber of commerce. How is Nepal benefiting from this partnership?
We are trying to convince people, they came as a big delegation last year; we are trying to convince them. We are due to go to London and we will soon be doing that, probably either before or early next year. It is very difficult to convince them, but there is growing interest for Nepal, there is opportunity but there is unrest and the climate is not favorable.
Being a member of former of Constituent Assembly (CA), how do you foresee the political scenario in the coming days?
Everybody wants to become the prime minister and there is only one chair, until these issues are resolved, the political stability is not going to be in a very good form.
You did a lot of work during the tenure of CA. How do you think of the documents should be used now?
I think somebody should take the ownership and use it further. Probably the best way is to have an election for the parliament and that parliament should own that document and make a national consensus on that document. A 601 team cannot do this again.