CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman and former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has argued that the left alliance was formed not to impose totalitarianism but for ensuring political stability by ending the current political status quo and lead the country toward development and economic prosperity. Also, a left alliance candidate from Chitwan constituency-3, Dahal said that he wants to carry the Chitwan’s agenda to Kathmandu and lead the national development.
Here is an interview between Maoist Center Chair Dahal and Rishi Dhamala focusing on these contexts.
What are your bases to win election in Chitwan-3?
People have realized that they want political stability, development and prosperity in the country. And for that, they want to elect a leader with a national political background of who has already had a crucial role in national politics. People trust me- -which is the strong base for me to win the election here.
What do the people of Chitwan want?
During the election publicity campaign in Chitwan, I have found that people here want to see the roads blacktopped immediately. Next, residents living near the forest area want compensation guarantee of the properties and crops damaged in the wild animal attacks. Further, they seek assurance of flood control and dams in Narayani, Rapti, Khadi Khola. In overall, as Chitwan district has a high possibility of development, they want Chitwan’s prosperity and development. I have addressed these issues during the election gatherings and residents here have taken these issues quite seriously. Moreover, modernization in agriculture and development of Chitwan as center of excellence in education, ring roads and linking roads are people’s demands here.
When I was the prime minister of Nepal, I initiated establishment of industrial area in Shaktipur area. Likewise, construction of a national level football stadium has also started. Also, the process of building an exhibition center has also started in Bharatpur. It has indeed made people believe that electing a national level leader can help a lot in development and prosperity of the region.
Prachanda is a magical person. From the begining of armed people’s war to peace process; and constitution promulgation; and now election, you have had a key role. You contested from Rolpa, then Siraha and now, Why Chitwan?
I am not a magical person. I have had moments to make right and courageous decision according to circumstances. Only a few persons get the opportunity to lead a political movement, peace process and then constitution promulgation. I feel proud to be a part of this. People supported me during the Maoist war, in peace process and constitution writing and its implementation. And now, people want Prachanda to lead nation’s building, prosperity and development. I have always made courageous decisions in favor of people and the country. I would rather not call them some wonders of magic. They are some milestone decisions that I took in interest of people and the nation.
And, about why I chose Chitwan, I have clearly told people… and I want to repeat that… in the first Constitution Assembly election I contested from Rolpa district. I have always wanted to run elections from Chitwan, my home town where I grew up and went to school. But during the Maoist insurgency, Rolpa was the center of revolution and Kathmandu is the captal city. Without linking Ropla with Kathmandu, psychology of people’s war and psychology of capital could not be connected; the peace process could not be concluded. In the second Constitution Assembly elections, I chose Siraha in order to end the increasing gap between Madhes and the capital city and other hilly regions. Only in Madhes, 1300 people lost lives during the Maoist revolution that I led. It was my responsibility to link Madhes with Kathmandu and hills. I wanted to come to Chitwan but I thought it would promote national integrity if I file candidacy from Siraha. I won and became prime minister as well. I had to win the trust of Madhesi people and bring together the revolution and peace process. I want to say that I have honestly worked for people and country.
The nation has stepped away from crisis and constitution is on path of execution. I have realized that I should come to my home town and I should lead the nation building, development and prosperity from Chitwan. I should carry the Chitwan’s people’s mandate to Kathmandu and lead the national development.
But, what was the reason to break alliance with the ruling Nepali congress (NC) and join hands with UML?
First and foremost, I have not deserted Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. We are still in the government and this government has our support. Deuba took away the Maoist ministers’ department though. I have not betrayed NC, neither have I forged left alliance to bring down the NC government. When taking the political ideologies into account, NC and Maoist Center cannot be one party because we have different political philosophy. Only communist parties can unite. In my opinion, if the parties with same political ideologies come together, only then the nation can be led to political stability. There has not been a government for 70 years that has led nation for a straight five years. The parties that split from NC should also unite for sake of the country. Before announcing the alliance with CPN-UML, I discussed with Deuba. I told him about the left alliance and the unification process between the leftist forces. I also suggested him to unite the democratic parties.
But hasn’t Deuba accused you of attempting to impose communist rule and totalitarianism?
It is natural for Prachanda to want a communist government, and same goes for NC as well, which is leading democratic alliance. In local level elections, NC forged alliance with UML in Rolpa, Rukum, Jajarkot, Kalikot, Salyan to counter the Maoist Center. I never questioned NC why they forged alliance with UML. NC and UML forged alliance in various others districts as well. Parties seek poll alliance in election, it is obvious. In local elections, NC refused to ally with Maoist Center in Province 2 because they thought Maoist Center is weak in the region. It is my question why is the alliance between the Maoist Center and UML is wrong? Secondly, the left alliance is not just for election purpose, but for unification between the two left parties as well; and for leading the country to political stability, peace, development and prosperity.
You have a huge support from the voters. Not only here, but you can win election from any constituency. But why Chitwan-3?
You don’t understand. I would be happy if I was contesting against NC. There is no NC in Chitwan. Supporting Congress is a different thing though. Supporters of NC are not happy with the party decision to support and voter Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Democratic here in the constituency.
I want to say that I was one of the signature doers of peace accord. Girija Babu, during his last days, had told me to conclude the peace process and lead the nation. Nepali Congress know this, people know this. Everyone knows what part I played to conclude the peace process. When I announced that I will contest polls from Chitwan. Nepali Congress should have supported me in the constituency in respect that I one of the leading figures of the peace accord. But they didn’t, instead they supported RPP-Democratic. I am okay with it because this is democracy. But it is not correct and it against BP’s ideology. NC walked in the wrong path by supporting the symbol plough. I have not ended cooperation with NC. I have told the NC’s supporters to embrace BP’s ideology and not to vote RPP-D.
Does it mean Prachanda will win the election in NC’s support?
People take me as the leader who has become prime minister for two times, a national leader of national development. I came in Chitwan on the grounds that people want me. I want NC also support me in the constituency because it can help in further cooperation between the two parties.
Will there still be cooperation between NC and Maoist Center in future?
Yes, of course. There will be cooperation and support. UML, NC and Maoist Center co-operated each other during the peace process, in 12 point understanding and in constitution promulgation. There could come situation when all parties should move ahead joining hands together.
What are the bases of the left alliance for garnering two third votes?
Local level election’s results are the bases. We are targeting two-third majority.
But Dueba has claimed that the left alliance will not bring majority.
There is wave rising in favor of left alliance across the country. No one can stop us from bringing majority.
NC has blamed the left alliance of attempting to impose totalitarianism. What do you say?
NC’s accusation is baseless. In the past too, NC spread rumors that if communist government comes, they will shoot the elderly people who are above 60. But after Manmohan Adhikari started the system allowance to senior citizens, it was proved false. When talking about development, after I led the government the economic growth reached 7.8 percent. Hasn’t it all proved who is more committed to country’s development and who is not? Mountain, Hill and Terai got integrated under the communist rule. Hasn’t it been proved? NC has panicked seeing the alliance between two leftist forces. But they should not get worried. After we lead the government, we will lead country to prosperity. And, if we cannot perform to the fullest and meet people’s aspirations, then, might be NC will bring majority and lead the government for another five years.
Is ‘directly elected presidential system’ still your party’s agenda? or have you compromised?
No we haven’t compromised. Raising the agenda of directly election president before the federal and provincial election could have threats to election. We will raise this issue seriously after election. If the agenda gets two third majority, the constitution will be amended, and there will be the system of directly elected President in the country.
Does it mean Prachanda will become the first directly elected president?
The party unification coordination committee has taken both Prachanda and KP Oli as the chief.
Are Oli and Prachanda getting on well together?
Yes of course. We are committed to nation building. Only today morning, we talked about the 32 districts where the first phases of federal and provincial elections were held some days ago. The left alliance will continue. The communists will unite. It has always been my ambition.