Nepali Congress Leader Demands that Maoists “Cooperate”
Posted by Ka Frank on March 2, 2010
This article appeared in Republica on March 1, 2010.
Maoists can lead govt post May 28 if they cooperate: Dr. Koirala
Nepali Congress central member Dr Shekhar Koirala has urged all political parties to be ready to accept a unity government under Maoist leadership after May 28 if the Maoists cooperate to complete drafting a democratic constitution and conclude the peace process by that date.
He is of the view that the present government should continue till the constitution writing is completed by May 28 and the peace process brought to a logical conclusion but after that date it should make way for a unity government headed by the Maoists. Dr Koirala´s floated this proposal as a possible way out of the present political deadlock, in an exclusive interview by myrepublica.com ahead of the crucial meeting of the top leaders on Tuesday.
“It is a sensible proposal. I hope this will encourage the Maoists to become committed to completing the peace process and the constitution writing as early as possible in hopes of seeing a government under their leadership in place following completion of both the tasks,” said Koirala. “Let us sit together and have an agreement to this effect on power sharing.”
Dr Koirala said he has already shared this proposal for ending the present political deadlock with his uncle and Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. “I discussed this proposal with Girijababu even today [Monday]. He told me that the proposal is not bad. I hope the High-Level Political Mechanism will also take up this now,” Koirala said.
Koirala said the NC president is also ready to accept the proposal provided it paves the way to completing the constitution writing on time and concluding the peace process logically.
Koirala disclosed that he discussed this proposal with Dahal as well during the Singapore meeting last November and reminded him of it when he met Dahal again a month ago. Dahal was in Singapore last November to meet intelligence agents, and his visit had coincided with the NC president´s medical treatment there.
“I do not say the Maoists have rejected the proposal,” he said when asked about Dahal´s response to his proposal,”When I raised this issue during the last meeting a month ago, Dahal asked if I continued to stick to the proposal.”
Though his party is yet to discuss this agenda aimed at ending the deadlock and paving the way for power-sharing with the Maoists, he said the Nepali Congress should now take up the agenda. He said a group of Nepali Congress senior leaders has been discussing the proposal informally but the party has not yet discussed it formally. “NC should also be ready to agree to the proposal,” he further said.
Saying that there is growing mistrust between the Maoist party and non-Maoist parties, Koirala said a package agreement on the proposal can dispel the environment of mistrust.
Koirala says that he does not see any prospect of the Maoists joining the present UML-led coalition. Neither does he see any possibility of a change of guard at Singha Durbar. He also rules out a government led by Girija Prasad Koirala.
“There is speculation that Girijababu himself wants to be prime minister. He can be if he wishes even today but his ill health does not permit it,” Koirala, who is a medical doctor, said, “He is really sick.”
When asked about concern in some sections of society that Koirala is not taking the initiative to end the deadlock, he said Koirala wanted to see the constitution drafted within the deadline and the peace process concluded.
In the last meeting of the High-Level Political Mechanism, he asked the political parties to complete both the tasks as early as possible, saying that he was going to live only for a short period. He further says that he is least hopeful of the country getting a new constitution by May 28 if the present situation continues.
When asked about ongoing negotiations on the number of the Maoist combatants to be integrated into national security forces, he said the Nepali Congress president has maintained from the very beginning of the peace process that only 3,000 combatants should be integrated.
“Initially, Dahal was of the view that around 5,000 should be integrated. But he has started to say that 5,000-7,000 combatants should be considered for integration. But this is a matter of bargaining between the two leaders,” Dr Koirala said.