We have certain political agendas. One political force wants to take the peace process to a positive conclusion and institutionalize these agendas. But there are certain elements that want to disrupt the process and revert to the old state of affairs and power structure. There is a great clash everywhere between these two forces and I take this seriously. Who will be victorious in this battle is of great significance.
That political force has always attacked the 12-point agreement and raised questions over the significance of the Constituent Assembly (CA) and the other established agendas including federalism, secularism, social justice, inclusion and proportional representation. Their argument is that the peace process will not reach a logical conclusion, and a constitution will not be drafted.
There are such people inside and outside the country, inside and outside our party. They believe that the wrong track we have taken will never lead to the right destination. But the road we have taken since the signing the 12-point agreement is in the interest of the state, society and people.
Now the question dogging us is: who will play the decisive role, take the risk, sacrifice the most, and respond to these complex questions. The people have made us the largest political party. It is now our responsibility to play the leading and decisive roles to institutionalize those agendas.
Against this backdrop, as chairman of the Maoist party, I don´t want to act in a hesitant and reformist fashion; we have to break the continuity and begin anew. We should take bold decisions, even foolhardy ones. That´s how the people´s war was launched, the peace process began, and the CA was formed. And that´s how the PLA integration process and constitution drafting will conclude. Call it bold or foolhardy. If I had not taken the decision, things would have become complicated, giving hope to those who are against the current political course. In fact, they have also launched activities to realize their hope. In order to defeat them, I floated the proposal at a four-party meeting and I am happy that I got their support. I take responsibility for almost all the decisions taken yesterday.
There is no need to wait till April 12; it should be concluded today itself. Now we must focus on constitution drafting without nakking any excuses. In fact, positive signs have emerged. I would like to call the PLA decision a break in the continuity. The issue has been more or less settled, but it doesn´t mean the peace process has concluded. We are yet to form commissions on truth and reconciliation and disappearances, and also launch a post-conflict reconstruction drive. In the specific context of Nepal, constitution drafting is also part of the peace process. But the PLA integration has taken center stage in the country´s political arena. I saw that if the process was not concluded there could be much foul play and it made me conclude that I must take a bold decision to take the process to a conclusion. Some technical issues remain, but there is no point getting confused over the next moves.
The decision I took yesterday will spark debate within our party. The faction of our Vice-chairman Kiran has termed the decision an act of capitulationism, and appealed to the people for resistance. But the people will give the final verdict on whether the decision taken by the Maoist chairman was wrong or right, and whether the decision is in favor of the people, peace and constitution. This can be debated now and debated in future. History will judge my move.
In my view, the decision will lead to a conducive environment for focusing on constitution drafting. I believe the constitution will take into account the established agendas. I think there will be a system for a directly elected president, though that could also be the prime minister. We have already agreed a mixed electoral system. There will be inclusion of workers, peasants and backward classes and regions. There will be compromise if not consensus over the judiciary. But there will not be any compromise on our fundamental principles. Identity will be the major basis of federalism, and there will be no compromise on that.
Kiranji has not called on the combatants to seize the weapons and revolt, though such tendencies do exist. Secondly, the current conflict is the result of serious ideological differences in the party. I fact it is a clash of ideologies. But I don´t think it will take a dangerous turn.
I will be surprised if Kiranji doesn´t object to every decision of the party. I talked to Kiranji over the phone in the morning and he said their protest would be an ordinary-type opposition. He might have wanted to intensify it, but that is not the wish of the people.
The decision on integration was taken in a democratic manner as per the mandate of the central committee. I repeatedly asked them to come to the meeting, but they declined and instead held separate gatherings. Of the 16 standing committee members only five are in favor of what Kiranji is saying. There are seven office bearers in the pary. Kiran, Badal and Gajurel are on one side and Narayankaji, Post Bahadurji, Baburamji and myself on another.
On the issue of constitution we don´t have many differences with Kiranji. The next issue is formation of a consensus government. I hope that will be the basis for unity with Kiranji.
A national consensus government could be formed before May 27 with the NC on board.
Kiranji wants a consensus government without Baburamji and I have repeatedly told him that that stance is wrong. Kiranji knows well what type of character Bhattarai is. We have been together since 1982 and worked in the same committee since 1990. So, it´s not that they know something they did not know while striking the Dhobighat pact.
And, there is an understanding among the party on fundamental issues in the peace process. After the process makes headway, all the parties should make some compromises. I don´t think I took the decision blindly.
(Based on Dahal´s statements made during a press conference)