Nepal Today

Monday, August 12, 2013



Kathmandu, 12 Aug.: Bird flu was found at five more farms in Bhaktaur Monday.
Farmers resisted culling efforts Sunday by killing all birds in the district..


Kathmandu, 12 Aug.: Nepal Investment Bank recorded a net profit of
Rs,1992.6 million in the fiscal year 2012.13  ending 15 July.
The bank increased earnings from the previous year when a Rs. 1039.2 million ws recorded.


Former Home Minister Kamal Thapa is Chairman of Nepal’s only openly royalist party, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N). Amidst preparations for elections in November, the RPP-N recently made news for an alleged alliance with Mohan Baidya’s far-left party, the CPN-Maoist, which is opposed to polls. The Post’s Kamal Raj Sigdel and Pranaya SJB Rana spoke to Thapa about his party’s controversial demands for the revival of the monarchy and a Hindu state and his association with the Baidya Maoists.
Are you prepared for the election?
As the election is our party agenda, we are actively preparing for it. Two years into the old Constituent Assembly (CA), we knew that that it would not be able to write a new constitution. So it has been many years that we’ve been demanding elections to a new CA. Our agenda is to build a prosperous Nepal on the basis of a Hindu nation, a democratic set-up that includes everyone from the king to the Maoists, national sovereignty and a free market economy.
Isn’t the reinstatement of monarchy a far shot?
We are talking of a democracy that also includes the monarchy, not an absolute monarchy. But first, there is a myth that needs to be addressed. The monarchy has not been permanently removed; it is only temporarily absent and this absence has not been institutionalised. As we currently stand, the monarchy and republicanism both have the same political privilege. The republic is based on the Interim Constitution and by its very name, the constitution is interim, temporary and prone to change. In reality, the agreement that was signed at the end of Janaandolan 2 between the dissenting parties and the king was to hold elections to a CA, which would write a new constitution. But unfortunately, unilaterally and conspiratorially, the monarchy was removed in order to affect elections.
Do you believe that the people still want the monarchy back after it was voted out by a resounding majority in a sovereign CA?
In recent times, many important leaders, including Sushil Koirala, Laxman Ghimire and KB Gurung (all from the Nepali Congress) have categorically said that the removal of the monarchy was a mistake. At the same time, there are other parties, like the Baidya-led Maoist party, who have said that there is a need for cooperation between the monarchy and nationalist parties to strengthen nationalism. This proves that the relevance of the monarchy has not been fully exhausted.
But what about the spirit of the Janaandolan that removed the monarchy?
First, the Nepali people have never voted to remove the monarchy. Second, the Nepali people did not launch a revolution to remove the monarchy. If we look back honestly at the events that transpired, it will be clear that the Nepali monarchy was made a victim of a conspiracy led by external forces and the tactical planning of extreme left forces. The second Janaandolan ended after a royal proclamation by king Gyanendra, which was a document of compromise between the palace and the agitating political parties. The draft of the royal proclamation was made at the home of Girija Prasad Koirala, who was the commander of the agitation. After the agreement, the king reinstated the Parliament and appointed GP Koirala as prime minister. After a few weeks, the Parliament passed a resolution and newspapers ran the headline: Nepal’s magna carta. This resolution cut down the monarchy’s powers but decided to continue with the institution of the monarchy. Not only that, it decided that from now on, even if the king’s firstborn is a daughter, she will be eligible to sit on the throne. How have people forgotten that this decision took place many weeks after the Janaan-dolan? We can still ask the people. Let’s go for a referendum on the monarchy along with the election in November.
Could you elaborate on who the actors were in the alleged conspiracy between external forces and the extreme left?
Obviously, there is India, who manufactured the 12-point agreement on one side and the Maoists on the other. The current president of India, who was foreign minister at that time, has categorically stated in their parliament that India is responsible for bringing the Maoists into the mainstream and that they created the 12-point agreement. But right now, there is no point in blaming others. We, the internal forces, have to take responsibility for this ourselves.
Now you are planning an alliance with extreme left forces yourself?
Baidyaji said that there is a need for cooperation between nationalist forces to strengthen nationalism and I agree. This is very positive. In the last seven years, Nepal’s nationalism has been especially wounded. In order to safeguard nationalism, we will positively consider suggestions for cooperation from any nationalist party.  But there is nothing concrete yet. We have not entered into any alliance.
Why do we need the monarchy, an obsolete institution, right now? Are we not going back?
Due to Nepal’s geo-political situation, it is natural for both our large neighbours to take interest in our affairs. And in a situation when Nepal’s political forces constantly seek external help, we need an institution that rises above party politics to preserve our sovereignty. The events of the last seven or eight years have made this extremely clear. At a time when we are going to hold elections, shouldn’t our leaders be visiting the people? But they are going somewhere else. In order to stop this from happening, as the custodian of national interests, we need the monarchy. But I am not saying that the monarchy is a panacea for all ills. Our main agenda is economic development. Once we have sovereignty, democracy, monarchy and a Hindu nation, then we will have the minimum political ground for peace, stability and a democracy.
Could you explain where, in a modern world, a Hindu nation fits in?
In Nepal, we have 81 percent Hindus, 9 percent Buddhists and 3 percent Kirat religions. That together makes 94 percent. So it is about addressing the identity of this 94 percent. In fact, secularism was not an agenda of any revolution. This is an agenda imported from Western countries who want to increase their cultural influence here, again through extreme left forces.
The primary goal of secularism has been to weaken Nepal’s religious identity, carry out systematic proselytising and segregate Nepal’s various religious groups. Now there is propaganda that if Nepal is declared a Hindu nation, religious freedoms will be compromised. More than 70 nations in the world espouse the Christian faith and more than 40 nations the Muslim faith but when Nepal is the only Hindu country we are supposed to be compromising religious freedoms. When Nepal was a Hindu kingdom, there wasn’t even a debate on religion. Everyone enjoyed their religious rights.
The Panchayat systematically muzzled religious freedoms. Isn’t it a lot better to adhere to the democratic principle of separation of state and religion?
That is the history of Europe. There has never been a conflict between the state and religion in Nepal. For thousands of years, there has been religious tolerance. But many theocratic states are now spending thousands of dollars to push for secularism in Nepal. For example, countries like Norway and Denmark. Most of the NGOs that are propagating conversions are funded by these countries.
Where do you stand on federalism?
Simply put, federalism is not our agenda. However, federalism is an issue of debate and we are willing to hold discussions on it. And if necessary, we can compromise.
On a final note, will elections happen in November?
Looking at the activities of the four parties, there is room for suspicion. But as there is no alternative to elections and because of strong pressure from the people, this election will definitely take place. We are the only party that is ready and already campaigning on a large scale for elections. Since the establishment has failed, the people will vote for the opposition. We are the only political party to offer an alternative roadmap to prosperity and governance.



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