There’s a crisis in Nepali Con-gress in the Madhes, agreed?
Even non-Madhesis in the Nepali Congress have been saying that the party hasn’t been able to understand Madhes. This is true to an extent. Within the united Congress, those who came from the Nepali Congress-Democratic appear to be more committed to the issue than others. The party itself adopted it only after the Madesi Andolan. That might be the reason for the perception. Also, let me point out that the Maoists did not bring up the issue of federalism and Congress tagged along. The Maoist concept of autonomous states was not based on federalism; they were based on the theory of communist structures.
What are your views on the number of states in Madhesh?
Madhesi Morcha has been demanding for One Madhesh One State since the beginning, something which Congress opposes. I personally think that four or five states in the Madhes will be better for rights and welfare of the Madhesis, in terms of their reach in Nepal’s national politics, inclusion and opportunities. But this is my personal view.
Some, such as SD Muni, who is considered an expert on Nepal in India, say that it might be Sushil Koirala.
I don’t know who SD Muni will make the next prime minister (laughter). But Sushil Koirala is a tyagi, someone who sacrifices a lot. Although he is the party president, so far, Koirala ji hasn’t told anyone that he wants to be prime minister. He recently said in Khotang that our party’s candidate is Ram Chandra Poudel. So, officially, there are two candidates—Poudel and Deuba.
Whenever there is a change of government in Kathmandu, there is a lot of talk about Indian influence in Nepali politics. Did you notice it this time?
Let’s be clear on one point. On matters related to Nepal’s peace process
and constitution—how the state should be restructured, form of governance, nature of states, women’s rights, citizenship rights—all the embassies in Kathmandu like India, America, Finland, Switzerland, Norway and France make experts in their countries available to our politicians. Billions of Rupees has been spent on Nepal’s peace process—on politicians, CA members, political scientists, experts, and, of course, journalists. There is no sector that isn’t willing to receive support from the international community. So let’s accept that the diplomatic community in Nepal is directly and indirectly involved in the peace and constitution-writing process. All ambassadors, whether Indian, American or Chinese, meet political leaders to inform them about their government policies and learn about Nepal. This is the right and duty of the diplomatic sector. from the interview in Ekantipur on 7th may.