Politicizing ideology: Is our foreign policy questionable?

Reporters Club: The recently concluded internal organizational program conducted between the Nepal Communist Party (NPC) and the Communist Party of China has been a much-heated debate. To bring out the real facts three Senior leaders were at the Reporters Club special interaction program yesterday. Nepali Congress was represented by former Minister, senior leader and member of the central working committee Narayan Prakash Saud, while the Rashtriya Janata Party Senior Leader Laxman Lal Karna was present along with Senior leader and the head of the School Department of ruling Communist Party of Nepal.

President of the Reporters Club and journalist Rishi Dhamala asked to clear the misconceptions and bring out the facts of the recently concluded training program between the NCP and CPC, while also questioning the rationale behind such an event along with the current foreign policy aspirations of Nepal.

Former Minister and senior leader of the Nepali Congress N.P Saud took to the dais and spoke regarding the current state of affairs. While he noted that there were several ties that were necessary for a strong foreign policy, and each party had its own ideological stance he questioned the logic behind inter-party ties and the direction it was taking. The former Minister stated that there were several organizations that were a part of larger unions like the Communist International for ideologically similar parties, similarly RIM International, and Socialist International which the Nepali Congress is a part of.

(Former Minister and Senior Leader of Nepali Congress, Narayan Prakash Saud) 

Former Minister Saud also stated that the “CPC is entirely different and follows a part of a larger administration in a one-party system without the tenets of democracy. CPC directly controls the activities of the state including the People’s Liberation Army, there is no reason for the NCP to have a connection given that we are democratic and have a constitution that has a legislature and a judiciary along with a system that is brought largely by the people’s mandate”. He also said that the current government was involved in centralizing power, and it has taken steps that go against the spirit of the Nepalese constitution.

He also said that “the NCP was involved in destroying the democratic fabric of the country. It is necessary for the NCP to specify the reason for the program and invite trainers for their cadres that goes against the spirit of democracy that Nepal’s democracy stands for. We welcome China and it is an important neighbor, but we cannot accept any threat towards the constitution and any measure that is being taken to centralize power as against the people’s mandate”.

Senior Leader of the Rashtriya Janata Party Laxman Lal Karna said that Nepal “follows the path of panchsheel and it treats all its neighbors with mutual respect and trust. But due to the open border system, marriage alliances, and the system of visa-free travel along with work benefits, there are a large number of Nepalese living in India with which our ties are closer. Historically it has been stated as a roti-beti relationship”.

There are several factors in the current constitution that we are dissatisfied with in terms of representation of minority and women rights. It is not that we have not accepted the constitution. We are just against certain clauses that go against fair representation for minority rights.

The preamble of the Constitution is extremely important which we have accepted, and we value the Constitution to what it stands for along with what is given in the preamble. China is our neighbor and we need to learn a great deal as they are developed and have a culture of their own. Their political model is different to ours which of course we cannot follow, one party one leadership. The Chinese delegation, of course, is welcome to Nepal, but at the same time let us not go against the spirit of what is listed in the preamble of the constitution.

(Senior Leader and Member of Parliament of Rashtriya Janata Party Laxman Lal Karna) 

Nepal cannot have a one-party system, and similarly, the training program between the two parties of politically different nations is a matter questionable. Although every nation has the right to partner with whom it wants, whether it be the United States, United Kingdom, Japan or any other developed Nation.

At the same time let us remember what our ideals and values are as Nepalese and let us not betray the mandate of the people by threatening the base of the constitution. Let us hope that Nepal does not go in the development line of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which have had their development efforts by China in a business-like credit model.

We can collaborate and build in the form of aid, but not credit, we must be extremely careful behind the motive of what is going on, and make sure that our sovereignty and national pride is not lost in the process. Nepal is not collateral, it has always been sovereign with a specific and unique culture, let us hope that we keep it that way for the future generation, we should have our own Nepali thought process that will guide this nation forward without any external influence.

Senior Leader Devendra Poudel stated that the matter was overtly publicized in a malicious manner that would have negative consequences for the bilateral relations between the two nations. In the program, he said that it was normal for two ideological parties to have similarities and conduct a joint program without having much to do with influence rather sharing ideas, wisdom, and research for progress and mutual development for both nations.

We have not implemented any particular ideology or thought, in fact, if we look into the study committee for the formation of our Constitution 80% has been derived from the Westminster system, which we as Communists have agreed to. There are many differences that we have in Nepal which includes an independent press, a democratic practice, and we have always safeguarded individual rights.

Even the founder of Nepalese democracy B.P. Koirala was influenced by the teachings of Lenin. Back in the day Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikari attended the Chinese Party convention and these are age-old relations that we have. Nepali Congress too has had its various shares of relationships with other institutions.

“We need to be understanding toward the sentiment of our neighbor and not unnecessarily provoke them he said. They are interested in various projects and collaboration that can take our Nation forward, Kodari highway, new air routes, and other infrastructural projects wouldn’t be possible without Chinese aid.

We can learn from many other developed Nations too and our party does not feel the need to apologize for sharing something that is beneficial for the people and the country. We have to be competitive and constantly educate and train ourselves with changing times”.

(Senior Leader, Head of School Department, Nepal Communist Party Devendra Poudel) 

“After over 2 decades we are going to witness the President of China giving more priority to Nepal. Our policy has always stood for Panchasheel, an integral part of the United Nations, and nation-specific regarding bilateral relations. We need to learn how China took giant leaps regarding the eradication of poverty is the most populous nation in the world. It will completely eradicate poverty well before the planned target of 2035 and achieve its sustainable development goals. It is a huge learning opportunity for us.

Please refrain from politicizing and spreading bogus rumors regarding the current joint program and spoil the atmosphere of a new era of partnership with our neighbor. You are welcome to take action if we have been working against the interest of the country, our main enemy right now is not political, but corruption and we welcome debates, discussions, and also democratic right to protest if one is dissatisfied”.

When asked by the President of the Reporters Club to specify if NCP is an internal structure of the CPC, he said, it is a matter of sharing ideas and education. We have discussed how to control corruption and eradicate poverty, “it is useless to state that we are an internal structure as we have a different structure altogether. NCP has been different, look at the Communists in West Bengal, after 30 years they are down to nothing but they have accepted the people’s mandate. We are in a democracy and parties do have rights which can be utilized for the larger good of the people. We are always ready for discussion, so let me reiterate the same about the NCP and its programs for the people of Nepal”.