National political consensus is the only way out of the present impasse. Be it the question of the new government or the constitution, there is no alternative to finding the consensus first. The country’s problems are not just about making a government. Governments were made in the past and it can be made even now. The country cannot be without government. We have now a caretaker government, which the president has confirmed of himself, and this will exist until the formation of the new government. Demands for the resignation of the PM, therefore, are irrelevant and unnecessary. We have to sincerely work to make a national government. There are only two ways to change the government, and they are either through national consensus or through the elected parliament. Nobody else can make the government. I don’t think any street agitation will topple the government. National political consensus does not mean the consensus between Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, because there are many other political forces. This is a legitimate government. It is also wrong for the prime minister to claim that this government will last till the holding of the new elections. Such statement will widen political differences.
The consensus should not be sought only for making the government. If we make consensus for formation of a government by ignoring broader issues, including the new constitution, it will only open the game for changing the government. Our challenge is to write the new constitution, not to change the government.
Revival of the Constituent Assembly is not a political solution. I don’t think even the elections for CA is a political solution. Our past experiences have already shown that the number alone cannot make the new constitution. Had it been so, the new constitution would have been promulgated more than two years ago. We failed to promulgate the new constitution even if 417, or more than two thirds, of CA members were in favor of promulgating the new Federal, Republican Constitution of Nepal. There were 417 CA members in favor of 10 or 14 provinces. Even with such a majority, we were unable to make the new constitution because our inability to find a new consensus. If we are unable to have political consensus, we cannot not make constitution even if we hold the elections for another fifty times. There is the need of a political consensus for Constitution of federal democratic republic Nepal. Our federalism must be based on single ethnicity and single identity. There must be the right to self determination. First of all, there is the need to have a consensus for constitution. Then the question of CA will come. If there is broader consensus and consent from court, we can also revive the CA just to promulgate the new constitution and go for fresh elections for parliament. If there is no broader consensus to write, the constitution and court declines to permit revival. There is no alternative to elections.
I don’t’ think revived the CA can promulgate any constitution because it was dissolved after failing to bring a constitution. We have still more than 118 differences including the core issue like restructuring of state. Once the CA revives, all these differences will appear again. I don’t think revival of house can solve any problems without political understanding. If there is political understanding, we can even go for fresh elections or to seek fresh mandate.
I am elected member from my constituency, and I prefer to seek fresh mandate. I don’t understand the rationale behind democrats drumming up against elections. It exposes Nepali Congress credentials as an oldest democratic party and CPN-UML. Had they agreed on the single identity based federalism, the constitution would have been promulgated a long time back. However, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML took a stand against identity based federalism and this is the reason behind the expiry of tenure of CA. There is no reason to revive the CA just to fill perks and purse of NC and UML leaders and members without their consent on identity based federalism. Sooner or later we have to go to elections for CA and parliament to bring political stability. Madheshi people want their genuine equal rights through the new constitution. Our demand for one Madhesh and one Pradesh is the aspiration of the people. I am confident that we can establish Madhesh as a separate province.
Shrestha is a NC Central Committee Member
(As told to New Spotlight)