Country will move toward confrontation if polls not postponed

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Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJP) has said it will not participate in the second round of local election if the constitution were not amended and number of local units not added in tarai in proportion to the population there. It has already announced protest programs to disrupt the election. The government after holding a meeting with the main opposition CPN-UML on Tuesday has called RJP for dialogue on Wednesday. Our correspondent Sanjib Bagale talked with RJP leader Rajendra Mahato, who is in Biragunj now, over the phone about the current political stalemate. Excerpts:-

Have chances of an agreement ended?

There is always a possibility in politics. It never ends. We can find a way if we look for solution. Conflict will escalate if a way out were not found. It is up to the government to escalate or douse the conflict. We have always been telling the government to create an environment for election by addressing the demands of agitating parties and let us participate in the election. We have rather said don’t close/obstruct the way to election. The government must pave the way toward election by creating environment. There will be conflict if it doesn’t do that and merely insists on filing nominations.

The government has still called you all for dialogue.

What is the dialogue for? Is it necessary now? Nominations will be filed on Friday. Why should we negotiate now? They should file nominations on Friday if they want confrontation. If not, they should find a solution and hold election. There must be an agenda for dialogue. What agenda does the government have? The government must, therefore, go ahead with filing nominations on Friday or go to the election by addressing the agenda of agitation. The government has two options. The choice is its.

Has the relevance of dialogue ended?

What should the dialogue be for? We cannot participate in this election. Our agenda has not been addressed. The problem has not been resolved. Merely asking to file nominations on June 16 will not suffice. We have already started protest programs including disruption of election related activities saying we will not participate until our demands are addressed. There will be protests until our problems are resolved. The government will not unilaterally address our demands. We will tell the government to either file nominations on Friday or hold election only after resolving the problems. What is the point of dialogue when we are not in Kathmandu? We are not running away from dialogue but as I said earlier what should the dialogue be for?

What should the government do?

The government must resolve the problem.

Can the problem be resolved in two days?

The court has already stopped it (vacation) yesterday. You tell me, how is it possible in two days. It is impossible. The court has rejected the government’s application. How can the number of local units be increased now? There is no two-third majority in support of constitution amendment. The government has not done even what needs to be done. Cases have not been withdrawn. The problems, therefore, cannot be resolved in two days. It will be ideal if the government were to do so, but that is not possible.  

So, the only options now are postponement of election or confrontation?

Yes, there are only two options. We don’t care whichever option the government chooses. We are ready to fight. We are also ready to participate in election. It is up to the government to decide what it wants. It should be ready to fight if it talks about filing nominations on June 16. We are also ready to go for election if it wants a solution. The government must be wise now. Nobody will gain by moving toward confrontation. How many people should be sacrificed in the name of election? The country will move toward confrontation if the election were held (without resolving the problems). Our party has adopted the policy of disrupting the election. Our cadres and people will go to disrupt election. The government has guns. It uses the guns even without any reason. It will definitely use the guns on the persons coming to obstruct election. We can’t imagine the level of casualties. The country will be mired in a violent conflict.  

What is the way to resolution now?

There is only one way for resolution now. The election should be held only after resolving the problems. Efforts must be made to resolve the problems. The government must think toward that end. It should either postpone the date for filing nominations or the election itself. We don’t demand postponement of election. Our demand is resolution of the problems. The government is to blame if it doesn’t find time to resolve the problems.

Is it possible to hold the election on June 28 by addressing your demands?

That is not possible in any manner. It is not possible to file nominations. The government, therefore, must choose the option of confrontation or postpone the date and hold election after resolving the problems.  

What will happen if the government were to hold election and all the other parties except RJP participate? The people also want election.

The people of Madhes want rights, not election. We know that and the Madhesi people also know that. The Madhesi people will show when the election will be held (without resolving the problems). We have not raised our demands after announcement of election. We have been fighting for that for a long time. We have been fighting against this constitution. This election is just an effort toward implementation of the constitution the people sacrificed their lives against. The people, therefore, have gone against the election.

A few supporting the movement have betrayed the people but the people have not tired or lost. The people fought for their rights in the past, have been fighting now and are ready to fight even in the coming days. The people never accept defeat. A person can betray, a party can become traitor. But the people will keep on fighting for their rights and identity. The Madhesi people are for that. The people will not go for election when a few parties go. The people who fought in the past are still fighting.

So, you deem there is no meaning of sitting for dialogue called without postponing election?

Nominations will be filed on June 16. What should we go to the dialogue for when there is no way the government can fulfill the demands by Thursday? There is no use going to dialogue for agitation. The government did not create environment to take us to election on June 28. The talk of dialogue, therefore, is deceit. What is the use of an impertinent dialogue? How can we come for dialogue when they call for one when we are into agitation?