Nepal PM refuses to ‘turn tail’
Utpal Parashar,KATHMANDU(HT): Despite mounting pressure from opposition parties for his removal, Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has refused to make any such move—at least for now. In an interview to ‘Republica’, Bhattarai stated that he needs to stay in his position to prevent a political and constitution crisis and safeguard democracy in Nepal. “Constitutionally speaking, there is no alternative to this government. Will ‘loktantra’ (democracy) be strengthened by inviting political and constitutional crisis?” he questioned.
“Isn’t it my responsibility to safeguard ‘loktantra’ and constitution at this critical juncture? Will it be an appropriate move to run away from the responsibility?”
Terming Bhattarai’s move to announce fresh elections as unconstitutional, 19 opposition parties including Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) are demanding his removal and have expressed unwillingness to take part in the next elections.
Airing his views on the events that led to dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and announcement of elections in November, the PM blamed NC CPN (UML) for the debacle.
“The talks broke down after NC and CPN (UML) opposed caste-based federalism and Madhesis (parties from Terai region) and Janajatis (caucus of indigenous communities) vowed to reject the constitution without federalism,” he said.
Bhattarai said that he had also thought of promulgating emergency to extend the CA tenure, but since NC and CPN (UML) were against it, he had no option but to announce fresh elections.
Commenting on President Ram Baran Yadav terming his government as ‘caretaker’, he said there was no such word in the interim constitution and it still has all executive powers.
Terming suggestions made by some parties to reinstate the CA as inappropriate, Bhattarai informed that he has taken initiatives to forge consensus among parties for holding of the next polls.
“I am ready to sit for talks, but there should not be any precondition. I am ready to make sacrifice,” the Prime Minister stated at the end of the interview without clarifying what that sacrifice would be.