CPN-UML vice-chair Bamdev Gautam
CPN-UML vice-chair Bamdev Gautam

Bam Dev Gautam, Vice-chairman of the main opposition party CPN-UML argues that the constitution amendment proposal was brought not in the interest of Nepali people; rather it is a motif directed by some political groups hugely influenced from foreign powers. He further argues that the amendment of constituent is no possible under any circumstances, even after the third round of local election. He also said that despite pressure from the agitating parties, the election in province 2 will be held no matter what.     

Here is an excerpt from an interview between leader Gautam and Reporters’ Club President and senior journalist Rishi Dhamala:

Will the third round of local election take place in province 2 on the slated date?

Of course it will. And like in the first and second phases, UML is certain to emerge as the largest party.

The agitating Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) is warning to boycott polls if the constitution is not amended. How is election possible?

People in province 2 want election and are showing greater enthusiasm about the upcoming poll. If the RJPN tries to boycott the polls slated for September 18, their own people will chase them away. Election will be held at any cost-with or without RJPN.

Won’t the constitution be amended?

No! Not even after the conduction of third rounds of election. We cannot amend country’s constitution basing on a number of protests from some political groups.

Why has UML stood against the amendment?

There is no answer to why constitution should be amended. Because, no one knows. Mahantha Thakur is clearly conspiring to divide the country into Madhes, Khas and Indigenous factions- which can’t happen. UML won’t let this happen. Our party is committed to fail Thakur from gaining as such purpose.

So far the proposal related to language is concerned; including all the mother tongues in the schedule of constitution is merely a tender to give recognition to Hindi as national language. UML won’t let that happen.

What is UML’s view about the provision related to citizenship?

In India, one has to wait for seven years to get a naturalized citizenship. Nepal’s constitution grants naturalized citizenship as one’s right. Not only that, an Indian citizen can get a Nepali citizenship in direct recommendation from Indian Embassy in Nepal. Then, what is the point for amendment?  The proposal to provide naturalized citizenship by marriage is unacceptable -it’s merely a tout of foreigners.

Why all these haste among the parties to pass the bill?

To please somebody. To present amendment as a gift. And Ambition to impair the constitution. What other reasons could be there!

Most of the political parties are in favor of amending constitution except UML. Why?

Was Terai-Madhes brought from underworld? or heaven? Isn’t Teari-Madhes part of Nepal? Each and every Nepali can stay in this land. Does anyone have the right to drive someone away from the country or let someone live here? Why does one has to do as Madhesh-centric leaders say? The Constitution Assembly decided and promulgated the new constitution of Nepal. Now, all should accept the same.

Doesn’t UML have to win hearts of Madhesi people?

Is Upendra Yadav the soul of Madhes?

Shouldn’t UML give Madhesi people their rights and privileges?

Mahantha Thakur is not the entire Madhes or Madhesi people. How many of these Madhesi people follow them? Sarcastically, the one who is shouting ‘Mashes’ does not have support from Madhesi people. Madhesi people are Maoist, UML and Congress. One who leads a small Madhesi group cannot be or represent the entire Terai-Madhes.

Madhes-based leaders are demanding that the local levels be determined as per the population. What do you say?

On what basis has the number of local level been determined now?

Determined on basis of geography.

Where? In the Hills? Which Province is not demarcated according to geography? Province is not set in the air or under the ocean. A province boundary should be set on basis of both population and physical features of a country. Setting boundaries only according to number of people is a baseless theory since both population and geography are interrelated.

In neighbor India, haven’t the electoral constituencies been determined as per population?

India has Panchayat system where people enjoy coffee sitting on Chautari. There is no local government. A constituency of Uttar Pradesh has about 25 lakhs population, while in Nagaland a constituency has only about 12-15 thousand population. In some state, some constituencies have only about 7 thousand people. What is this ‘population’? Setting constituencies only on the basis of number of people is not possible anywhere in the world.

Leader Rajendra Mahato has warned that they would disallow UML in Terai-Madhes, if the election is conducted without amending constitution. How do you comment on his remark?

It is clear as crystal. If they try to forbid UML, they will forbid themselves. What did Upendra Yadav say about how Mahato got Nepali citizenship? – By deceiving and bribing. He was actually born in India. That’s why he hired people to attack the UML leaders and cadres. But they fled after Nepali people chased them.

Is it about Saptari?

Sarlahi.

Wasn’t UML barred in Saptari as well?

Who barred us?

Wasn’t your mass gathering attacked? Weren’t your cadres driven away?

We weren’t. These are rumors.

But Rajendra Mahato said that people of Saptari drove away UML.

Like I said earlier, Its all fabricated reports. They were driven away. Not us. One who tries to expel us will be banished. We don’t have to chase them away. There is no one individual or a community or any power who exorcize us. The federalism in Nepal has already been institutionalized.

Do you believe Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba can conduct the remaining elections?

Of course he can. He is the Prime Minister. If he can’t, then who will? He should not step back.

Why hasn’t the election constituency delimitation commission been formed yet?

It will be formed soon.

Why is there so much dilemma regarding the number of constituencies?

There is no any dilemma about this matter. Craving 240 units is against the constitution and democratic values. The new constitution envisions 165 electoral constituencies. Election will be held as per the same. If PM Deuba says, he can’t hold election; then he is not capable of the PM’s post.

If the constitution is amended, can the old provision of 240 units retained?

No, it can’t. Political parties cannot modify the country’s constitution just to facilitate their temporary needs and desires.

You have a hand in making the top leaders like Prachanda and KP Oli the prime minister of Nepal. When will you become the prime minister?

When the time comes, of course, I will become the prime minister. But currently our party is focusing on election.

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