I joined the government to save country: Chitra Bahadur KC

A staunch anti-federal campaigner, Rastriya Janamorcha Chairman Chitra Bahadur KC is deputy prime minister in the incumbent government. He has often been criticised for opposing federalism while being in the government in contravention to constitutional provision. DPM KC had a candid talk with Sushil Panta for Lokaantar Tuesday afternoon.

Your party joined the government six months ago. What did people get from this government?

Nothing has been done to make people feel presence of the government because we have no power in the parliament and even no authority in the cabinet. First, you have to understand why we joined the government. Till date Nepal had to take any step following neighbour’s advice and desire. The whole world knows our neighbour’s obstruction in promulgation of people’s constitution, a dream that Nepalis had been dreaming for 65 years. Our neighbour openly came out to punish Nepali people when it could not dictate terms in promulgating constitution that served its interest. But all major parties in the country took united stance in promulgating the constitution. Nepali Congress too stood firm on its ground. NC, UML and UCPN (Maoist) stood together to show their determination in promulgating Nepal’s republican constitution.

But power centres tried their best to halt implementation of the constitution. After the constitution promulgation we concluded that there will be conspiracies in stopping constitution implementation. Due to this reason, we joined the government to implement the democratic constitution.

Yes, we have been unable to work for people while in the government because our colleagues in the government have the same old tendency. Bureaucrats are the same. Environment is not favorable to work for the people. How can we do people’s works in this environment?

Why are you still in the government if things are so bad?

Look, saving the country is the biggest challenge of the time. Only when the country remains intact can we transfer it to the future generation who will develop the country. It is important to save the country for now. Everyone knows who poses threat to our country.

Major political parties are not interested in preserving the country’s nationality, sovereignty and integrity. Government and power are their prime interests. Even if big parties came together for a while to promulgate the statute our neighbour immediately brought discord among them. In contradiction to 16-point agreement Sushil Koirala filed his candidacy for the prime minister.

But foreigners were able to play games here because of weaknesses of national parties. Had the parties prioritised nation and people’s interest, power centres would have been disappointed. These power centres have felt national parties’ pulse.

This is the reason why 21 governments were formed in 24 years since 1990. Power centre forms a government, takes advantage of it and then topples it after having its interests fulfilled. A group lies in waiting to weaken the incumbent government.

As far as providing relief to the people is concerned, we could not do that. But what had previous governments done? Inflation, dearth and corruption were rife even then.

You joined the government to implement the constitution. When will you accomplish the task?

Some things have been accomplished: Presidential election, prime ministerial election and electing the Speaker. Some commissions have been formed as well. Constitution is being gradually implemented.

When will federalism be implemented?

Federalism cannot be implemented at any cost. It is highly difficult to implement it. Those who imposed federalism on us, they want the system as per their interest. Our neighbour wants to separate 20 districts of the Tarai from the hills. They want to ensure this in the constitution. They have separated eight districts from the hills. That was not enough for them and they now want to separate 20 districts from the hills and Sikkimise them.

Big rivers in Nepal enter India through Tarai. They have taken legal control over five rivers. This is the reason they have raised the issue of federal boundaries to separate 20 districts of the Tarai from the hills.

Implementation of federalism is state restructuring as per our neighbour’s necessity. Their first task is to separate Tarai from the hills just like North Sudan and South Sudan. After separating Tarai from Nepal they will have unopposed rule in Tarai and they will play games to make Nepal another Sikkim after creating unrest through local agents.

To stop this we voted against Cabinet’s proposal (constitution amendment) of having electoral constituency on the basis of population.

Some say that this constitution cannot be implemented when anti-republican Kamal Thapa and anti-federal Chitra Bahadur KC are in the same government.

Actually, I did not join the government to implement federalism. I have repeatedly raised voices in the Cabinet to cancel federalism altogether. I have spoken the same in the House. Have I done hidden politics?

Should we agree to anti-national issue in the constitution just because statute has to be implemented? Has not UCPN (Maoist) tabled a note of dissent to the constitution? It too calls for directly elected president. CPN-UML has called for directly elected prime minister.

I have opposed federalism from the very beginning. How can I endorse this system that will annihilate the country? Be assured, federalism cannot be implemented in Nepal. How can you implement it when incorporating it in the constitution was a tough nut to crack? Development and peace is not possible unless federalism is dropped altogether.

Grapevine has it that you have convinced the prime minister to agree to your agenda.

That would be my great achievement. When anyone asks what you did in the government I would say I have convinced the prime minister against federalism. Even NC has said that federalism should be reconsidered.  Both NC and UML are reluctant federalists.

Leaders have been running to Delhi. Is it preparation for toppling the government?

Delhi is Mecca and Medina for Nepali leaders. Who can deny it? Different waves appear after leaders go to Delhi. People smell rat in leaders’ race to Delhi which is true because many things are fixed there.

What is stopping you to hold elections to the local bodies if federalism is not implemented?

Power centre has stopped elections to local bodies because it would make implementation of federalism difficult. Political parties are not against it. Local elections should be held at any cost. I have been keenly watching things. An INGO Crisis Group has written a report recommending that local elections should not be conducted at all.

You have always been in the opposition. How is your experience in the government?

I used to raise anti-government theoretical issues while in the opposition. I have become aware of the government machinery now. We can do small things for the people outside the government. But government mechanism is completely rusted. We cannot work for the people without overhauling it.

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