KATHMANDU, May 28: Senior leader of Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) Mahendra Raya Yadav has reiterated that the constitution amendment bill must be endorsed at any cost, for which the government must play the guardianship role, otherwise their party would not take part in the election. Here is an excerpt from an interview between Yadav and senior journalist Rishi Dhamala.
Is your party ready to participate in the election?
We have been reiterating that the government first address our concerns and create environment for us to take part in the election. But, such is not the situation now. UML has demonstrated some flexibility lately, but there is no condition we can completely trust them. Also, if the government wants, it is not impossible.
If the government addresses the concerns of Madhes leaving the delineation issues, will RJPN take part in the election?
It is our only wish that the issues of Madhes will be solved.
UML have hinted to stand for the constitution amendment bill in the Baluwatar meeting. What do you say?
Yes, they have. But despite their hints, the problem is that UML don’t keep their words. UML speak many things, but never implement them.
People seem ready to participate in the election. Why is your party not ready?
The opposition parties obstruct the House and the government blaming the opposition for halting parliament business breaks free of all the problems. Then, who is to bear responsibility?
But hasn’t the Supreme Court issued stay order to the government’s decision to add the number of local levels.
What can we say! The court has always overlooked the injustice done the the Madhes. We have never understood why is there such dillydallying on adding the number of local levels according the distribution of population. Disparity toward Mahes has reached its full.
Shouldn’t all follow the constitution?
If we had accepted this constitution, we would not have agitated. We have been repeating that this constitution is full of errors and constitutes such contents that rule out the concerns of Madhes. We have said we will establish political understanding, only if the constitution addresses our demands.
But the endorsement of the constitution amendment bill needs two-third majority doesn’t it?
It is the government’s responsibility to gather two-third support in favor of amendment. We have also been trying. Besides, we, while forming the Prachanda led government, had clearly put that we will take part in the election only if the amendment bill gets endorsed in the parliament. Why did the government stepped away? Why is all this dillydallying? They unite when anything comes up to any of the major political parties, but why is there division when it comes to addressing the concerns of Madhes? Why sort of political character is this?
Is it legitimate to drop cases against those involved in Tikapur incident?
It’s a political issue. Some have been displaced and some are still imprisoned in criminal charges. We expected from the government for nine months. Certainly, the government put some efforts, but our demands could not be addressed.
How can those directly involved in Tikapur incident be forgiven?
Let the government point out the names of the criminals. We won’t leave them unpunished.
Haven’t you demanded with the government to drop charges even against the criminals involved in the incident?
No, it’s not true. It’s only false publicity. We have never asked the government to forgive the criminals. Besides, it’s a political issue and should be taken as the same.
How do you comment on Upendra Yadav’s and Bijay Gachhadar’s decision to take part in the election?
Their parties have been registered. They have election symbols. How do we contest in the polls? And under which election symbol? We have only been rumored as a party who doesn’t want election. What can be done if the opposition UML and the government can’t establish consensus over our simple and legitimate demands, while they find consensus while bargaining the PM’s chair.
If your party is provided with an election symbol, will you go to election?
The government must address all of our demands first.
Has it been agreed to provide you an election symbol in the Baluwatar meeting?
No such agreements have been made. Prime Minister has told us that he would hold talks with the Election Commission.
Has time to make package agreement arrived?
Possibility is low but not jammed. The constitution making parties must become eager for that. We asked to fulfill our demands even leaving out the delineation issues. But what are they doing? I say, it’s possible. The constitution will get its relevance on the day our demands are addressed.
Are secret tricks being set up to defer the second phase election?
We don’t know about that. All we want is that the government addresses our demands and make environment for us to participate in the election. Previous elections were conducted without addressing our concerns. But, today, the constitution is being enforced forcefully ignoring Madhes, which will not have fruitful results. It will only worsen the problems.