"Don't blame foreigners": Rajendra Mahato

Leader of Nepal Sadbhavana Party and Minister of Health and Population Rajendra Mahato argues that the only way out of the current political stalemate is to hold the elections under the chief justice-led government. Mahato spoke to New Spotlight on v

March 9, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 06 No. -18 Mar. 08- 2013 (Falgun 25, 2069)

How do you look at the present political scenario?

Nepal has been passing through a very difficult political time. We need to hold the elections for the CA to fulfill the aspirations of the people to write the constitution through the Constituent Assembly. People living Madhesh, who have been deprived of their rights for a long time, want the CA elections. Similarly, oppressed, Janajati, Dalits and other backward people also want elections. If we are able to hold the elections, the political process will pass smoothly.

Do you think CJ-led government will hold the elections?

There is no option before us. As there is so much distrust among major political parties, placing a neutral care taker government should be the first priority. There is no one for that role except the chief justice at the present situation.

Civil society groups, lawyers and other political parties have been opposing the move saying that appointment of chief justice is against the spirit of separation of power. How do you look at it?

Nepal is not the first country to hold the elections under the leadership of chief justice. Bangladesh has been practicing this for a long time. Even European countries like Greece have this provision. If these countries see the appointment of CJ under the spirit of democracy, what is wrong for us to follow it? I don't buy the argument that this is against the spirit of separation of power.

CPN-Maoist leader Mohan Vaidya has already said that this is India's proposal. How do you look at this?

It is a typical ploy of radical communists from Nepal to blame India in all the affairs. It was the proposal forwarded by us and approved by UCPN-Maoist. Holding the elections under the chief justice is the best option. We want to hold the elections for us, not for others. Accusing friendly, neighboring countries is not going to benefit Nepal.

As the case is under court hearing, what political move will four parties take in case the Supreme Court issues a negative verdict on this?

As all of us want a political settlement through holding the fresh elections for the Constituent Assembly, I have not thought about a negative verdict. I hope that the chief justice will take the reign of the government to hold the elections as early as possible.

How possible do you see it is to hold the elections in May?                            

We can still hold the elections by May if we sincerely work. Election is just a matter of political commitment. All major political parties want election for CA to write the new constitution for federal republic of Nepal. The time has not gone out.

It is reported that there are differences among political parties on some of the agenda proposed by Samyukta Loktantrik Morcha. What is the main point of disagreement?

The difference is almost settled now. As we are going to hold the elections for CA, we don't want to deprive the people from voting. All Nepalese, who are born in Nepal, should be given the right to vote. This is the bottleneck. However, a provision in the citizenship law denies the right of the children of citizens living in Madhesh. We want the removal of the anti-Madheshi provision of Citizenship Act and all the citizens of Nepal living in Madhesh should be allowed to vote.

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