Interview

We are responsible for country’s ruin: Gokarna Bista

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Gokarna Bista is a popular young leader. He won people’s heart during his tenure as Minister of Energy in Jhalanath Khanal-led government by carrying some remarkable deeds. At a time when efforts for toppling the government and dissolving the parliament created political vibrations CPN-UML Secretary Bista said that deciding for dissolution of the parliament would be a disgrace for CPN-UML for a long time to come. Bista spoke with Bimal Gautam and Sushil Panta for Lokaantar before UCPN (Maoist) withdrew its decision to discontinue support for Oli-led government. Excerpts of the interview: 

How did the latest political developments occur?

Many rumours regarding the change in government are doing the rounds. News was published quoting UCPN (Maoist) chairman about regime change and even views expressed by UCPN (Maoist) parliamentarians in the House suggested that. Now I hear this government will continue till its announcement of policies and programmes and annual budget. CPN-UML’s role is equally important to move ahead on the basis of national consensus. Maoists too realised that UML should not be ousted from the government till budget announcement and politics took a course afterwards.

Could not CPN-UML take UCPN (Maoist) into confidence?

They have been alleging the government of not playing a positive role in concluding peace process. CPN-UML is clear about completing remaining works in peace process in the spirit of Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The country should not face another violent conflict. It is UML’s duty to balance partners in the government. Despite UML’s efforts if UCPN (Maoist) tries to exit the government only time will tell whether that is its original proposal or it was influenced by someone else.

Why does this repeat in Nepal? Why should there be external influence in government formation?

First, governments change and new governments are formed due to party interests and some people’s ambitions. Second, a single party cannot secure necessary numbers to form the government on its own. It has to take support from other parties and the agreement can be broken any time. Third, Nepali people and parties have not been self-reliant in building country’s policies. These things have significant impact on the country.

UCPN (Maoist) leads Home Ministry. Why did UCPN (Maoist) get anxious once Truth Commission started taking complaints?

All partners in the coalition government have equal responsibility in completing remaining works in reconstruction, management of supplies or conclusion of peace process or alleviation of poverty. UML leads the government and UCPN (Maoist) holds important ministries. Therefore, both the parties have to be responsible. If they are giving this lone reason to topple the government, it goes beyond logic. Something is going on behind curtains but things cannot remain hidden for a long time. Whatever must be the reason behind their decision, constant change in government will have adverse impact on Nepal’s development and effective implementation of the constitution. Such a move destabilises politics. People’s basic needs cannot be fulfilled if constitution is not implemented. The country will remain in a painful condition.

Leaders like you said at the time of constitution promulgation and government formation that Nepalis have become able to take political decisions on their own. But foreign interference has not stopped.

We cannot strengthen our national independence until we are aware of our country’s fundamental needs, the ways to address these needs, psychological unity of the people across regions along with economic progress that includes social justice. To be brutally honest, we are responsible for our country’s ruin. Political parties’ and leaders’ weakness is that they talk a lot. We can make the country self-reliant by speaking less. Exploiting our tourism potential is one step towards self-reliance. There is the need to inspire Nepali youths to invest their labor and skills for Nepali products and nation building. The same youths who do not want to work here are ready to toil hard for 18 hours a day in hot desert. Something is out of sync. Unless political leadership implements policies, methods and processes in an appropriate manner, country will remain in pathetic condition.

UML formed three governments after the country became republic. It could do nothing significant.

Not only CPN-UML failed. But you have to remember that UML’s nine-month government after multiparty system in the country became popular by implementing effective economic and social issues. That government’s budget strengthened social security. Succeeding governments, however, could not properly address people’s needs. That is why none of the governments could win people’s appreciation. The need of the day is effective implementation of the constitution and economic development of the country. Everyone should do their best in developing the country.

The issue of regime change gained momentum after Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba returned from India. Is this mere coincidence?

There is geo-political influence in Nepal’s internal politics. But we cannot blame others to prove ourselves good. We have to review how political parties are being run and what our decisions are. In all, we can make our country strong only when we seriously assess our policies, behaviours and activities.

The issue of dissolving the parliament came out all of a sudden and there were guesses that Nepal will have political void. Does that danger exist?

There is no constitutional provision for parliament dissolution. Constitution does not allow it. Dissolving the parliament is against the democratic spirit. CPN-UML is a responsible party; it can never take a step that goes against nation and people.

How do you assess Maoist’s role during peace process?

Peace process should not be used as a means to ascend to power. All parties have their roles and responsibilities to take peace process to a logical conclusion. A party which tries to exit the government in the pretext of peace process cannot be relied on. Maoists should not forget that people have been observing their role in an objective manner. I expect a party trying to do long-term politics to establish its credibility in the eyes of the people.

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