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Interview

People in Gorkha-2 voting for next PM: Dr Bhattarai

Sitaram Baral

Sitaram Baral

 |  Kathmandu

Nepal Samajbadi Party Chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai. (Photo: Bishal Karki)

Nepal Samajbadi Party (NSP) Chairman and former Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai was in home district Gorkha last week. He reached Gorkha during the election campaign of Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, the chairman of the CPN (Maoist Center) who is a candidate from the ruling coalition from Gorkha-2.

Bhattarai, who left the then CPN (Maoist) on September 26, 2015, a week after the promulgation of the constitution, openly criticized Prachanda even when he was in the party. After abandoning the Maoist party, it was natural to be more critical.

Doing a U-turn, Bhattarai in the recent election campaign, described Prachanda as ‘more dynamic and progressive’ compared to contemporary leaders claiming that Prachanda will become the next Prime Minister following the November 20 elections.

Upon his arrival in Kathmandu from Gorkha, Nepalkhabar caught up with Dr. Bhattarai for his statement about Prachanda he made in Gorkha. Excerpts:

Is it only for election campaign or has your assessment about Prachanda changed?
In the current political spectrum in our country, Prachanda is comparatively more dynamic than other leaders. He is a daring and innovative thinker, too. He is dynamic in that sense.

We have worked together. So I am aware of his shortcomings, too. However, the dispute between us is not a personal quarrel. That was an ideological debate. It does not mean that he has no other weaknesses. Being a human being, he also has some weaknesses.

You used to criticize Prachanda harshly in the past, but now, making a U-turn, you have praised him?
N
o, no. Don't misunderstand. In philosophy, conflict and unity are two sides of a same coin. Unity, struggle and transformation keep happening. I do not consider myself to be God. I am a man. I know the positive and negative things in me. Every person has both vices and bad virtues. We have to help cultivate the virtues. Defects should be corrected through struggle and criticism.

Criticizing someone does not mean badmouthing them. Rather, it is meant to help minimize the demerits in them.Yesterday I criticized Prachanda's inherent weakness. Appreciating his strong side now means promoting his strong side and helping him progress. It goes on continuously, it should not be taken otherwise.

Is Prachanda's candidacy in Gorkha-2 your desire or is it a product of his insecurity in Chitwan-3?
I had been making up my mind that I should approach electoral politics in a different way. I also wanted not to contest the elections. Secondly, during the conversation with Prachanda, it was said that it is possible to polarize socialists in a new way.

In that case, why does he not contest elections from Gorkha-2? Because it is comparatively more secure place, too. Further, I contested elections 2 to 3 times and laid the foundation for building infrastructure, but there are still many things to be done.

If Gorkha gets Prachanda as the leader, it will also help create our collaborative environment and his leadership will help in the development of the infrastructure. The relationship between Prachanda and Baburam is a relationship of unity and struggle. We are again moving into a new phase of unity. Hence, I proposed him to contest from Gorkha-2.During the election campaign you announced that Prachanda will become the Prime Minister after the election.

Has there been an agreement within the ruling alliance to make Prachanda the prime minister following the election?
I am not even a participant in the internal discussions of the ruling coalition. I have only looked at it closely.However, there is a general assumption that a coalition government will be formed after the upcoming elections. Nepal Congress becomes the largest party. Then the Maoist Center becomes a big party. This is almost obvious.

In that case there is definitely a power-sharing. There is definitely some mutual understanding. Based on that, Prachandaji's turn will also come. In that sense, I also said that the Gorkhali people are assured that the person whom the Gorkhali people are voting for is the person who will become the prime minister tomorrow.

What will be the election results?
In terms of political necessity and social justice, regressive forces should not be allowed to come forward. If the regressive forces come forward, the achievements made so far will go in vain and the country will become more unstable. Nepal is undergoing complicated geopolitics and it is going to get more complicated in the coming days. If the instability continues, there will be a bigger crisis in the country in the coming days.



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