People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 28

July 09, 2006

Yechury On Nepalís Journey To Democracy

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, who has been facilitating the parties in Nepal to reach an understanding, has expressed confidence that the countryís journey towards democracy will be fructified in the coming three-odd months.

Speaking to INN after returning from Nepal where he held consultations with major political parties, the government and the Maoists, Yechury said all the parties were moving jointly towards a successful resolution of the contentious issues.

Those he met included prime minister G P Koirala, CPN(UML) general secretary Madhav Nepal, CPI (Maoist) president Prachanda, its ideologue Baburam Bhattarai, and key personalities in the seven-party alliance including the ministers in the Koirala cabinet.

He emphasised that he had gone there on the invitation of the prime minister and leaders of the seven-party alliance for consultations on the latest developments in the country. He reminded that all the major players are in agreement on the four-point formula he had proposed. Immediate restoration of the dissolved parliament and formation of an interim government have been implemented. The remaining two points are under implementation, i.e. negotiation with the Maoists and formation of a Constituent Assembly.

To carry forward these two steps, an eight-point agreement has been reached between the Koirala government and the Maoists. The Maoists have agreed to shun violence and extortion of money, withdraw from local administration and come to the people without arms. These are the major steps that are under implementation now. He expressed confidence that after consultations Nepal would take its own decision on its way to democracy. The other major issues in the eight-point agreement are formation of an interim government and an interim constitution with Maoist participation, dissolution of the parliament after resolving issues for delimitation of constituencies for Constituent Assembly elections.

The other major issue which came up for discussion was that of arms management in the transitional period. Various alternatives cropped up on this issue such as UN arms management, merging the two armies, bringing two armies under a single command, transformation of the Maoist army into a paramilitary force etc. He said that though there are initial hiccups in implementing the eight-point formula with the claims of the Maoists and counter claims of the government over the role played by Maoists in rural Nepal, things are moving in the right direction. He said Prachanda has conceded the fact that there are some disturbances at local level, and these would be sorted out speedily.

There is unanimity of understanding on the proposal that the arms management of both armies should be left to a UN commission. With this they are expecting that they would get international recognition easily. Otherwise there are chances of the international players pointing fingers against the inclusion of Maoists in a democratic government. US ambassador to Nepal had already done so. He also said that after evoking strong condemnation from all quarters in Nepal, the US ambassador in Nepal has backtracked on his statement. The USA still seeks to allow the king to play a role in Nepalís future.

Yechury also warned both Indian and Nepal media to beware of those forces who donít want to see this agreement to succeed and are trying to project differences and splits between the forces seeking democracy while the facts are to the contrary.

He also said that whatever decision the Nepali people take will be acceptable to India which wants peaceful democratic governments in its neighbourhood. In line with this, it wants the consolidation of democratic movement in Nepal as early as possible.

After consulting the key players, Yechury expressed confidence that the main contentious issues would be resolved within the next few months. He said that the Maoist participation in the interim government is sure and both the present government and the Maoists are moving in that direction.

He also discussed various alternative forms of Constituent Assembly which must be representative of various geographical, social and religious divisions reflecting imbalances in the society, thereby giving a chance to the respective forces to have their say in deciding their future.