National consensus govt. is in the interest of Nepal-India ties: Former Nepal P.M.

Bhattarai says discussions on govt. formation will begin soon

Forming a national consensus government in Kathmandu is in the interest of Nepal-India relation, said former Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai here on Monday. In an interview with The Hindu, Mr. Bhattarai said a national consensus government will be able to amend the Constitution of Nepal to make it more representative and hold more effective dialogue with India on difficult issues.

“Earlier in 2008 when the Maoists joined the peace process and had a comprehensive peace agreement with the parliamentary parties, we had an understanding to form a consensus government. Unfortunately, it broke down. As a result, parts of the peace process was left unfinished. Secondly, the Constitution we made has not been owned by large sections of the people like the Madhesis and the Janjatis. With a national consensus government we can speak in unified voice with India and find a solution to the boundary dispute as well,” said Mr. Bhattarai, arguing that he and other leaders of various political formations will begin discussion for a new government once Parliament convenes on March 7.

Mr. Bhattarai said Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has not shown respect to the ruling of the Supreme Court which reinstated the lower house of the Nepalese Parliament (Pratinidhi Sabha) on February 23.

No-confidence vote

“Prime Minister Oli has refused to resign and if he continues with this position, then Parliament will move a no-confidence motion to remove him.” He said there are four political formations in Nepal at present. The first two are led by the two factions of the Nepal Communist Party of Mr. Oli, and his rivals party co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Madhav Kumar Nepal. The other two formations are led by the Nepali Congress and the Janata Samajvadi Party (JSP) of Mr. Bhattarai.

Mr. Bhattarai said his party is calling for the amendments in the Constitution to make it more representative. “Nepal is a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual state. My party JSP is open to amendments. Almost one-third of our population is not adequately represented in the Nepali Congress and the Nepal Communist Party. But in my party, we have made that possible. I fully agree with the Madhesis. If we have a national consensus government, then we can complete the peace process and we can also amend the Constitution.”

Mr. Bhattarai said that in near future, Nepal may even discuss the Hindu culture of the country at a political level but asked not to conflate monarchy with Hinduism.

“Hinduism and monarchy are two different things. Monarchy is an autocratic outdated system whereas Hinduism is a culture and religion. If people have some reservation about culture and religion, then that can be discussed under our Constitution. In a democracy, people have the right to decide what they want. But Nepal will not go back to monarchy. Monarchy is part of the medieval ages and the Nepalese people cannot think of it.”

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