Don't Impose Constitution

RAJENDRA MAHATO, president of Sadbhvana Party, spoke to NEW SPOTLIGHT on contemporary political issues. Excerpts

July 4, 2015, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 09 No. -2 July. 03- 2015 (Ashad 18, 2072)

How do you see the current political scenario?

What I can say is that the politics is heading towards a wrong direction after the People’s Movement II. If things remain same, they will create more trouble in the future. I have not heard the word in any part of the world about making the constitution through a fast track. It is a laughing stuff.  

What do you mean by a wrong direction?

The behavior and dictations of three parties mainly Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist show they are imposing their will on the people even discarding the fundamental principles of Constituent Assembly and people’s right to write the new federal, inclusive, republican constitution of Nepal. If these three parties don’t change their current style, it will push Nepal into another round of political chaos.

As the leaders of four political parties have been saying that their voices are the voices of the majority of the country, nobody can now stop them from making the constitution. How do you look at their statement?

This is very unfortunate. They cannot dictate to people. This will lead to another agitation and bloodbath in the country. Of course, they hold the majority in the CA; but it does not mean that they can impose the constitution on their own.

What is your stand on the 16-point agreement?

Since the issue has already been taken up by the Supreme Court, issuing a stay order in the name of political parties not to act on the basis of the agreement, it will be a prejudice to issue a statement on it. We oppose the 16-point agreement and some clauses in it, particularly on the issue of name and demarcation of provinces, electoral process and others. We also oppose the proposal that the province should be named on the basis of capability not on the basis of identity.

Don’t you think there is a possibility to put your point through the process proposed by the four parties?

Announcing the 16-point agreement, the leaders of the four major political parties have shown that they are not sincere to federalism. Had they been sincere to federalism, they would have agreed to name and demarcate the provinces by the CA at the time of promulgation of constitution. Forming the committee to demarcate the boundary of provinces and giving power to name the provinces to elected state legislature, the four parties have shown that they don’t want the federal constitution. We want state restructuring to make the state inclusive and the right to oppressed and marginalized communities including Madheshis and Janjatis. The demand of federalism comes from Madhesh and Janjati Andolan to end the century long discrimination against them by certain groups and communities. Thus, federalism should address the concern of these two major groups.

Given the statement of current leadership, do you think they will accommodate your views?

They have to accommodate our views. For instance, they don’t have any right to decide the number of provinces in Madhesh and hills. The right to take the decision should be made on the consultation of all forces. Since this is a constituent assembly, there is the need to respect the voices of others. If major political parties want peace and political stability in the country, they have to accept our views.

What would be your next step?

If four parties continue to pursue their own views and ignore our opinion, we may go for mass resignation. We are preparing for everything. However, we will do the utmost possible efforts to put pressure on the four parities to listen to our voices. It is in the hand of the four parties now, whether they want new constitution guaranteeing rights for marginalized Madheshis and janjati communities or just for the same class of people.

What do you want to say to these parties?

Instead of going in haste suspending all the process and principles of constitution making through the Constituent Assembly, the parties have still time to correct it to pave the way for making the people’s constitution.

The four parties have said they have the mandate and strength to write the new constitution. What do you say?

Of course, they have the numerical strength. Numerical strength does mean the mandate. Since CA is for constitution writing, the constitution should be a document accepted by all.  They cannot write the constitution on the numerical basis. It must be an accommodative and accepted document. Just promulgating constitution cannot bring political stability in the country.

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