CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal has refuted allegations that the party has voted for Pushpa Kamal Dahal government during the floor test to try to remain relevant.
“Our party has its own status and has self-respect with self-respecting leaders who have historical heritage. They don’t need to be connected with anyone to save their status,” Nepal has told Setopati in a video interview.
He has also claimed that he did not demand the post of prime minister (PM) proposing to take turns with Maoist Center Chairman Dahal and Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba pointing that he is very careful about making unreasonable demands especially after the party’s poor performance in the election.
“Government/power is not a big thing for me. Money has even less meaning. Values and norms are everything for me…But the thing is there were talks about sharing of powers among the three leaders.”
Dahal quit the coalition with NC and CPN (Unified Socialist) and became PM on December 25 with support of CPN-UML, Rastriya Swatantra Party, RPP, Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP), Janamat Party and Nagarik Unmukti Party after Deuba refused to make him PM first.
Nepal has blamed CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli for taking Deuba for a ride to break the previous ruling coalition without taking the name of his bete noire. “Deuba seems to have believed that he would become PM. Someone may have assured him that Dahal would not be made PM at any cost…He was in illusion as a result. He seems to believe that he has been betrayed as he was in illusion.”
Nepal, who had lashed out at Dahal immediately after the latter quit the erstwhile coalition to form one with UML for not even asking him once to join the alliance with UML, seems to have got over that by now as evident by the party providing vote of confidence to Dahal. He has blamed Oli even for that again without taking Oli’s name.
“What I can guess in that is someone must have told Dahal to not even take name of Unified Socialist and Madhav Nepal. And Dahal only looked at the chair of PM. I understand that he would have his limits feeling that even that can be snatched,” he has added when asked why Dahal left to ally with UML without even asking him. “Dahal was under limitations. It would not be nice for me to say what created that compulsion. I believe that it will come from his own mouth some day.”
He has defended vote of confidence given by the party and NC to Dahal despite not joining the government, and has insisted that the two parties are still opposition parties. He has also refuted allegations that the two parties are trying to elbow out UML from the current ruling coalition taking another swipe at Oli who called NC’s decision to give vote of confidence trying to cast net to catch fish.
“One does not necessarily have to always oppose when Dahal’s name arises. One party joins the government and the other remains outside the government and looks on the basis of de/merits. That is called constructive opposition. Another is destructive opposition that smashes chairs.”
He has pointed that the party still has organizations across the country and has presence in all seven provincial assemblies and can build on from there despite failing to become a national party crossing the three-percent threshold in the Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system.
“We could have secured 500,000 to one million votes with better mobilization. But I could not go to many places. I had to focus on my constituency as there were immense efforts to try to defeat me…We could not cross the PR threshold by a few thousand votes. It has become sort of tasteless curry without salt.”
He has acknowledged that alliances cannot be ruled out in politics but stressed that there can be no unification with UML at current situation. “Nothing is impossible in politics. There are no permanent friends and enemies in politics. But there are no such things about unification with UML now.”
He, however, has acknowledged that the party has written to Janata Samajwadi Party about unification and then pointed out that the unification will be difficult now that the latter has decided to join the federal government.