This is a disturbing new interview from Baburam Bhattarai, who is vice chairman of the UCPN(M) and now Prime Minister of Nepal. He takes pains to insure Indian capitalists that their investments will be protected, despite the fact that Nepal has already suffered greatly from Indian economic and cultural expansionism. Unfortunately, he is far less generous to members of the UCPN(M).
Bhattarai discusses the radical left within the Maoist party, saying they will be outmaneuvered and marginalized:
“In a communist party, two line struggles are natural and we have successfully managed it so far and we will manage it in the future. I don’t see much obstacle. Even if some leaders and cadre may oppose or some splinter groups may move out, even then it won’t make much impact on the political line followed by the party.”
Bhattarai also claims that the recent decision to hand over the arms of the People’s Liberation Army to a Special Committee was undertaken at his “initiative”. Interestingly, he doesn’t claim that the decision was made through normal party mechanisms.
The interview originally appeared in The Hindu
‘Nepal won’t jeopardize any genuine Indian interest’
by Prashant Jha
September 3, 2011
In the middle of negotiations over cabinet formation and the future of the Maoist combatants, Nepal’s new Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattaraitook time out for an exclusive interview to The Hindu on Friday afternoon at his office in Singha Durbar, the government secretariat. He spoke about the political challenges, the roadmap to achieve his stated objectives, and relations with India. Excerpts:
You had consistently argued for a consensus government, but are now heading a majority government. Why did efforts at forging a national consensus fail?
I am still for a consensus form of government because according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Interim Constitution, we need to take major decision through consensus. The Special Committee responsible for the integration process has to function through consensus and the constitution has to be adopted through a two-thirds majority. So to complete major tasks of peace process and write a new constitution, we need a broad consensus among the major parties. If we have a consensus government, it would facilitate those two processes. That conviction still prevails. But unfortunately, since that could not happen, the second choice was to start with a majoritarian and work for a consensus government. Even though I was elected by a majority, my efforts are directed towards forging consensus. Immediately after my election, I reached out to the Nepali Congress, UML and other parties. I hope it will bear fruit soon.
But how will this consensus come about?
I want the support of the major parties basically for the completion of the peace process, especially integration and rehabilitation of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) cadres. We have already chalked out a time frame of one and a half months. If we reach broad consensus, we can implement it and stick to the one and a half month deadline. By that time, NC and UML will also join the government and this government will take the shape of a national consensus government. That has been my effort.