Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Nepal Interview with the leader of CPNm, Mohan Baidya and Secretary, Dev Gurung.

13. March 2014
The maoist party that led the People’s war from 1996 to 2006 and thereafter made a Peace Agreement with the most influential parliamentary parties in Nepal, has split. There are now two parties: United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Abbreviated UCPNM and CPNM. The UCPNM participated in last year’s election for yet another Constituent Assembly. The CPNM boycotted the election. The Healthteam for Nepal supports the democratic revolution in Nepal and does not take a stand for or against the one or the other Maoist party. We collect money in support of Martyr Foundation Nepal, where both parties have influence.
Two central leaders from CPNM, leader Mohan Baidya and Secretary Dev Gurung, visited Europe this winter and Johan Petter Andresen from the Healthteam for Nepal met them in Antwerp on the First of February and made this interview.
From the Annual General Assembly of the Nepalese People's Progressive Front, Belgium, February 2014. It was chaired by Baidya and Gurung
From the Annual General Assembly of the Nepalese People’s Progressive Front, Belgium, February 2014. It was chaired by Baidya and Gurung
You are initiating the establishment of United People’s Councils (UPC). Why?
-The UPC is a united front. We are nominating Dev Gurung to be the leader of this front. The establishment of UPC will happen in the very near future. The UPC is a means of struggle and has as its primary objective to give volunteer service to the people.
Will the UPC include many parties?
-Right now we have not seen any chances for a united front with other parties. This will be a united front with our own mass organisations. It has strategic importance and not only tactical one.
Do you have any concrete conditions for starting a process of unification with UCPN(m)?
-The UCPNm has already made many mistakes during the last years. A main criticism is of the 7th congress where they made a document they mention the new democratic revolution as being completed and that they are now preparing for socialist revolution. We disagree with this political line.
-UCPNm has a serious political deviation. Nepal is still in a semi-feudal and neo-colonial situation and under international interference. Their wrongful analysis shows that they have deviated from the new democratic revolution and to national surrender. They have liquidated their politics, ideology and organisation. In the document they are also proposing a peaceful transition to socialism. All the achievements of the people’s war have been liquidated. We cannot expect unity with them. But there is an internal struggle in UCPNm. Some of the cadres want to review the documents of the Hetauda congress. If they should review their policies, then we will see if there is a chance for unity.
Have there been any changes in ruling classes the last 40 years?
-Not basically. The semi-feudal condition is the same. And the tendency is that Nepal is developing toward a new-colonial condition. There is not direct interference by the imperialists and the expansionists, but they create their puppets and apply their agenda through them in a holistic way. The main mediators are the political parties. UML has worked as a puppet for many years now. Now some leaders from the UCPNm also are being used as puppets. They made some antinational agreements with India For example: Upper Karnali and BIPPA, renovation of airports by Indian Companies and so on.
Today financial capitalism is the socioeconomic base of imperialism and national capitalism in Nepal is being neglected.
The land question is central to the class struggle in Nepal. Will you start a movement to reoccupy land?
-Of the land that we distributed during the People’s War, some was given back to the landlords. But still there are areas that the people have and we will not give them back. We will advance this movement.
-During the People’s War we captured two types of land. Firstly, we captured the land of people who played a regressive role and suppressed the people, for example small landlords. Secondly, according to the law, a landlord cannot own more than 10 bighas (appr 67 dekar or appr 16 acres).  We captured the land when landlords owned more.
We gave back the land to the regressive landlords but not the land where the landlord owned too much.
-There is a tradition in Nepal that causes problems. The problem is the fragmentation of the land. The business mafias want to fragment the land and then get the farmers to sell the land. So, we have to nationalise the land of the country.
There might be local elections in 2014, what is your attitude to these?
-The main political question is the new restructuring of Nepal. We do not think that the Constituent Assembly (CA) will introduce federalism. We have not taken any position on local elections.
-National sovereignty is being strongly undermined, there is massive interference from outside powers. We stress this issue. That is why we demand a new type of agreement between all the forces in Nepal. If a round table conference is held then we can join the process.
The round table conference will contain the same forces that are in the CA. So why is it better than the CA?
-This can be a more positive platform to base a new agreement on because the forces in it will be selected in a proportional way in relation to the population of their strata .So most of the struggling forces for federalism will be represented on this platform .
-In the CA the reactionaries have a 2/3rd majority. The background for today’s situation is that there has been a People’s War. We must ask: Why was there a people’s war? What matters have to be solved? The new forces have very few seats in the CA. This means the issues raised by the conflict will not be addressed by this CA. Of the forces leading the People’s War, one is out of the CA and the other has no value in CA. How can the issues be solved through the CA?
Has India increased its influence in Nepal?
-Since 1990 interference from India has increased rapidly. During the Panchyat system there sometimes was opposition to Indian interference. But after 1990 the expansionist forces have used the parties to forward their interests. After 1990 the main parties accepted liberalistic policies and the class struggle changed. The financial capitalists and multinational companies have now a dominating role. Nepalese economy is becoming totally dependent. Also the royalist forces have surrendered to international forces. All political issues are decided by the Indian side.  All the top officials have to be accepted by the foreign powers.
What will be the character of the new constitution?
-This CA is in the lap of reactionaries. We also say that it is impossible to expect a peoples’ federal constitution from it. UCPNm is reverting to the parliamentary system.
There are three main forces in the country now: monarchy, parliamentary forces and the maoist forces. Right now the parliamentary forces are neglecting our force and the pro-Indian forces decided to go for elections. We expect that they, on the whole, will mainly revive the 1990 constitution.

The elections in Nepal – The split resulted in a decline in representation for the revolutionary forces.

6. December 2013
By Johan Petter Andresen. Oslo 5.12.2013.
After the peace agreement in 2006 and the election victory in 2008, when the Maoists ended up with over a third of the representatives in the Constituent Assembly, disagreements internally within the revolutionary forces built up, leading to an open split in 2013, in which a large part went out of the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and formed the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (Confusingly: UCPN(M) was named CPN(M) until 2007).
CPN(M) boycott
CPN(M) put forward various demands in connection with the election that was held on the 19.11.2013. These demands were not met. Therefore they took the initiative to an election boycott in which a total of 33 parties participated. A total of 122 parties partook in the elections. That 33 parties boycotted the election must therefore be seen as a fairly high number.
How did the boycott influence the election? Some figures may give an indication. There were 17.7 million registered voters in 2008. For various reasons, those who had turned the age of 18 after December 2006 were excluded from voting. So the number could thus have been higher. 10,700,000 votes were submitted, that is to say approximately 63%. This percentage was considered high as voters had to vote in the village they came from. In Nepal there are a good number of poor who have to travel to cities for work and live there whilst their official address maintains in the village. Nepalese living abroad could not vote either. As many men were away from home, women constituted 52 % of those who voted.
In 2013, the number of eligible voters was 17.4 million. Of these, 12.1 million registered as voters. Registration procedures were much stricter in 2013 than in 2008. But it is impossible to know how many would have been registered if one had followed the same procedure both times.
One million fewer ballots
But we can see that five million fewer were registered, either of their own volition, or for other reasons. This is a big number, which naturally affected the election results. Simply put, one can say that the larger the share of the five million who deliberately boycotted the election, the greater was the decline for the revolutionaries participating in the elections. That is to say, primarily UCPN(M).
The number of the registered persons who voted was considerably higher in 2013 than in 2008. 78 % of those registered voted, compared to 63 % in 2008. This means that approximately 9.5 million voted. This means that there were one million fewer votes than in 2008. This is a strong indication that those who chose to register themselves were motivated to vote, and that the registration made ​​it difficult to register all those wanting to register, but also hindered false registrations.
Neither in 2008 or 2013 could citizens living abroad or those living far from home in Nepal vote. But probably there were more persons in this category that were registered in 2008 than in 2013, as the head of the family could enroll his family members in connection with registration in 2008. This was not possible in 2013. In 2013 one had to show up oneself for registration.
Nevertheless, we have five million fewer registered and a million fewer votes. Naturally CPN(M) supporters could claim that there were at least 5 million that supported the boycott. They can also include the 22 % who did not vote of those who were registered, ie. 2.4 million. But a more sober assessment might be that about two or three million actively boycotted. And it need hardly be said that such a large boycott had a tremendous impact in an election where 240 of the 575 representatives were elected in first past the post constituencies. And of course it was the UCPN(M) that was hurt, not the major moderate parties, the Nepali Congress (NC) or Communist Party of Nepal(United Marxist Leninist) CPN(UML) (Don’t let the names confuse you).
UCPN(M) down by 1,700,000 votes
Comparing the number of votes that the three main parties received in 2008 and 2013 might also provide a clue to the effect of the boycott campaign: Nepali Congress got 2.4 million votes in 2013 and 2.2 million votes in 2008. CPN(UML) received 2.2 million votes in 2013 and 2.1 million votes in 2008. UCPN(M) received 1.4 million votes in 2013 and 3.1 million votes in 2008. Otherwise, the Royalists increased their support by half a million votes. If we view UCPN(M)’s decline by 1.7 million votes, while the other two major parties had about the same number of votes both times, this suggests that the boycott must have had a decisive effect.
Dissatisfaction in Nepal is not only directed at UCPN(M). It’s just as great when it comes to the other major parties. It is also rumored that some revolutionaries that supported the boycotting parties took part in the elections and voted for Nepali Congress or CPN(UML) to punish the UCPN(M), not because they support the other parties.
Election results so far suggest the following allocation of seats in the new Constituent Assembly: Nepali Congress will get 196 seats. CPN(UML) will get 175 seats. UCPN(M) will get 80 seats. The two royalist parties (RPP and RPP – N) will have 33 members. Together, the new Constituent Assembly will have 601 representatives.
The election results mean that the Maoists have no chance of attaining their goal as to the content of the new constitution if they concentrate solely on parliamentary activity. Most likely, the NC and CPN(UML) will probably advocate that the new constitution should be similar to the one that the Maoists went to war against in 1996, but without the king.
Election Fraud?
There has been criticism of this year’s election, especially from the losers. UCPN(M) has appointed an investigative commission and has announced that they will not participate in the new Constituent Assembly until further notice. That there was some cheating is beyond doubt. A good indication of this is that of the 122 parties that were approved for election, 78 won less than 10,000 votes. Compared with the requirement that the parties, in order to be eligible, had to submit 10,000 signatures, must mean that many of the signatures were fake and that the control of the submitted lists was not good, to say the least. But it is difficult to see that there was more fraud in 2013 than in 2008. One factor that has been highlighted is that in 2008 the polls were guarded by designated representatives of the major rival parties. This helped secure against fraud during the period from when the voting ended and until the count began the following day. In 2013 it was the army that was responsible for guarding the ballot boxes during transport to the district centres where the counting was to take place, and until the counting began. The Maoists claim that a lot of fraud happened in those hours (between 10 and 15 hours), the question then becomes why the UCPN(M) had not insisted on another system, for example like the one in 2008. Why leave the ballot boxes in the hands of the reactionary army?
What does the loss of votes mean for the ​​UCPN(M), CPN(M) and for the democratic revolution in Nepal? This is not easy to say. The 33 boycotting parties will oppose the newly elected Constituent Assembly and will call it illegitimate. Neither will they accept the new constitution as legitimate if it is passed without their participation. UCPN(M) will surely be against the new constitution. With their 80 votes, they will not have much to say in parliament. Therefore the democratic revolution will move more out into the streets, workplaces and village squares.
Corruption AllegationsUCPN(M) has been accused of having degenerated into a regular parliamentary, corrupt party. There is no doubt that corruption exists at all levels of UCPN(M). There is also no doubt that the UCPN(M) leadership has weakened the party’s grassroots organizations, abandoned the ” mass line ” and concentrated on participating in the exercise of power in the cities. But now, when they have been punished so hard, there will have to be a cleansing of the party. And here the new CPN(M) will also play a role.
The political development in Nepal after 2006 has stagnated. It is not normal that the Constituent Assembly elected in 2008 did not manage to make a new constitution. Nothing important for ordinary folk in the Peace Treaty of 2006, has been realized. Most importantly, the point about land reform has in no way been realized.
The main change is that the form of the state is more democratic in that royal power has been removed. But the army is intact with a very small proportion of former Maoist soldiers having been incorporated. The Maoist army has been disbanded and closed down.
All in all things looks bleak considering how high people’s aspirations were both internally and internationally for the Maoists representing something new. Historically, both the Nepali Congress and CPN(UML) led armed rebellions that ended up with parts of their armed forces being incorporated into the army or the police and the leaders becoming part of the upper class in the towns, and especially in the Kathmandu Valley. And so it may seem that things can develop this time too, but not necessarily.
Firstly, there is an organized left opposition in the form of CPN(M). Second, there is still a struggle over political line in the UCPN(M).
CPN(M) lacks a credible alternativeRegarding the CPN(M), it is not possible to perceive a real alternative strategy to the UCPN(M). Before the election, their main demand was a round table conference where all the major political forces in the country were to gather to agree on fundamental issues.
But that this is an alternative strategy to the elections that have been held is hard to see, as a round table conference would involve having to agree with Nepali Congress and CPN(UML) about important issues. This does not seem realistic. Both these parties stood on the opposite side during the People’s War.
The split itself appears to have led to diminished overall Maoist influence. But time will tell if the internal political struggle concerning the best way forward, will provide better solutions on how the revolution should be pursued.
Seen from the outside, the weakening of the grass root organizations of the UCPN(M) and lack of interest in the common day to day struggle to improve people’s living conditions, are key mistakes. There is no doubt that UCPN(M) and CPN(M) together represent a large popular movement. The inability to develop this movement after the Peace Agreement in 2006, shows that the leadership was good at war, but has so far lacked the ability to lead the fight further for organized people’s power.

Elections for a new Constituent Assembly on the 19th of November. Interviews about UCPNm and CPNm.

30. October 2013
The Health Team for Nepal (HfN) supports the democratic revolution in Nepal and has not taken a position concerning the split that has led to the formation of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPNm) as an alternative force to the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPNm). We are channelling our support to the Martyr Foundation of Nepal where both organisations have influence.
It looks like that there will be elections for a new Constituent Assembly on the 19th of November 2013 where the UCPNm will be participating, while the CPNm is actively boycotting.
As a part of our work to monitor the developments in Nepal and to better understand the political situation as it is unfolding, we have conducted an interview with a representative supporting the CPNm and an interview with UCPNm.
These interviews are published here on our web site in both English and Norwegian.
Interview with Gorkha Bishnu, advisor to the Nepalese People’s Progressive Front Belgium.
HfN: It looks like there will be elections for a new Constituent Assembly on the 19th of November and that CPNm and a group of smaller parties will boycott these elections.
Could you tell us a little about the size and influence of the CPNm and their allied parties?
Firstly, we can say that politically and ideologically the CPNm is sole leader of the movement of New Democratic revolution in Nepal. This movement encompasses the movements for National Sovereignty and People’s Supremacy. There are also other forces that are patriotic and oppose foreign interference in Nepal. It is of course during these times a need to ally with those forces in the struggle against the fascists and national traitors. The drama surrounding yet another election to a Constituent Assembly is completely in the interests of the feudals and fascists of Nepal and their allies, the foreign expansionists. The elections are not in the interest of the Nepalese People or their freedom. The class character of the drama surrounding the elections has been exposed. The CPNm is well integrated with the Nepalese People. So, I could say that the CPNm is the central power centre against the regressive line followed by the so called four political parties and their allies.
The party has successfully formed its organizations on village level and in all districts too. It is now in the position to challenge the regressive forces.
HfN: The CPNm has demanded that the prime minister resign from his post as Chief of Justice. Why?
We struggled hard to abolish Monarchy in Nepal. Many good sons and daughters contributed their lives in this struggle. The so called four political parties dissolved the Constituent Assembly and put the nation in a deep crisis. Consequently, they became political failures. So, they cannot lead the nation. Instead of seeking a new, forward looking democratic political solution, they undermined the multiparty democratic system and handed over the state power to the Chief of Justice. This is practicing fascism and against the people’s mandate.
HfN: The CPNm has demanded a round table conference before the election. Why does this have to be before the election? Wouldn’t the representatives that get elected into the Constituent Assembly be representative of the will of the Nepali people?
A round table conference before the Constituent Assembly can be the best option to reach a broad political agreement. This conference should be a formal and legal institution. It is very important in two ways. Firstly, we need to evaluate the efforts of the representatives in the first Constituent Assembly and to accept the contents of the interim constitution that was already agreed upon. Secondly, the political parties need to seriously realise the mistakes they did in the Constituent Assembly. It is clearly known that the so called four largest political parties stood against the agenda of federalism on the basis of identity and oppressed position. The political parties must promise to agree on the agenda before the conference.
HfN: What would be the agenda of a round table conference?
A roundtable conference should mainly treat the two above mentioned agendas. When we look at the manifestos of the political parties for the new election, we see that they have nothing new in relation to the previous elections in 2008. They look even more promising and are in reality sticking to an anti-autonomous ideology. UCPNm proposes autonomy on the basis of Nationality and exploited region. But history has proven that this party already has left the ideology of the New Democratic Revolution, the road of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. They already follow the revisionist line and openly serve the foreign powers. In the last Constituent Assembly there was a two third’s majority on the proposal of federalism on the basis of indigenous nationality and oppressed regions. In that situation, Prachanda –President of UCPNm and Coordinator of High Level Dispute Committee –and Baburam  Battharai, Vice President of the UCPNm and the then Prime Minister dissolved the Constituent Assembly. This clearly proves that the leaders of the UCPNm themselves acted to avoid the agenda of federalism with autonomy in the interests of expansionist and imperialist forces. So, the four political parties want to form a new Constituent Assembly in which the majority of the representatives will be against the restructuring of the nation. We can imagine the horrific scene of the elections and their results in advance. They are controlled by the military and under the leadership of the feudal PM Regmi. So, the roundtable conference is to stop all the regressive moves and to establish national sovereignty and people’s supremacy.
HfN: The CPNm says that they will boycott the elections peacefully. What type of actions are they planning? Why are they ruling out more forceful actions like disrupting the poll?
As these elections are promoting fascism in Nepal the Nepalese people will oppose and destroy them. There will be massive peaceful people’s awareness programmes and an anti-election campaign throughout the country. If the government suppresses the movement of the people, they have right to resist and revolt. CPNM of course will lead it.
HfN: During the last elections in 2008 approximately 63 % participated in the polls. What kind of turn out do you expect this time? Would you consider that the campaign against the elections has failed if the turnout is 60 percent?
No. If you compare the number of voters in 2008 and 2013, you will find less number in 2013. It is the effect of the campaign. The Government uses hook and crook to increase the amount of voters.  Voters of Indian origin are mainly motivated to register. Thousands of Indian citizens have been granted Nepalese citizenship in the run up to the elections. These elections are absolutely meaningless for the people. In the manifesto of the CPN-UML they mention that if there is no constitution within a year, the country should have a referendum. They, themselves, have no belief in the Constituent Assembly. There is a big section of intellectuals, lawyers, journalists and so on who have not registered in the voters’ list. Politically, the CPNm is already in a winning position.
HfN: A central demand during the people’s war was land reform. There has not been any land reform, even though the Peace Accord and the Interim Constitution contained points on this. On the contrary some of the land occupied during the people’s war has been given back to the original owners without the introduction of a land reform. What is the role of the CPNm in this situation? What are the main paroles and actions?
The contents you mentioned are central parts of the agenda of the new democratic revolution. It took time to understand that Prachanda gave up the revolution and instead created the peace accord and the interim constitution. So, the issue of land reform in the peace accord and interim constitution was not real. Later on, the achievements of People’s War have been given up one by one. When we became aware of the evil intent of Prachanda, we struggled intensely against neorevisionism. We are determined to complete the new democratic revolution in Nepal .It is only this revolution that can solve the problems you mention.
HfN: In the last Constituent Assembly there was almost 30 % representation of women. It seems that there will be a strong decrease in the representation of women after new elections. What are your remarks on this?
In the last Constituent Assembly election, there was a strong motivation from the People’s War for women’s participation. People’s War established different autonomies on the basis of indigenous nationality and exploited regions. Likewise specific rights were given to women and to so-called untouchable casts, Muslims, some diminishing communities, handicapped and so on. The People’s War gave strong motivation women’s participation. Now, they do not believe that they can guarantee their rights through these elections. So, the women’s participation is decreasing.
HfN: An important issue in today’s Nepal is federalism. What is CPNm’s position on the number of states and the relation between these states and the larger national minorities?
As I mentioned above, CPNm is for autonomous regions on the basis of indigenous nationalities and regions having a central role for some years, specific rights for women, for untouchable casts, for Muslims, for some diminishing communities, handicapped and so on.
HfN: The Terai has seen a massive growth in population relative to the rest of Nepal and there is at the same time controversy concerning the Madhesh issue. What is CPNm’s attitude to the Madhesh-question?
We are struggling for the right of the Nepalese People and they are of course Madheshi People too. While restructuring the country, if measures aren’t taken to bring the workers and farmers and oppressed to have the leading role in the struggle for autonomy, the same situation as in the old system will continue to exist. History shows that the ruling class does not let the workers and farmers become rulers. This is the central question of struggle now throughout the nation and the Madheshi people as well.
HfN: How do the CPNm formulate their political general line in the situation in Nepal today? How do they see the rise of people’s power in Nepal?
Politically, Nepalese People should struggle against the neo revisionism protected by expansionism. The goal of holding the elections to the Constituent Assembly in Nepal is to lengthen the time of the feudals and revisionists. So it is the duty of the Nepalese People to resist the elections.
HfN: What is the content of the expression “people’s revolt” that is sometimes used by members of CPNm?
Nepalese People have been living for decades in poverty and misery. They carried out 10 years of People’s War and many peaceful movements to establish their rights. But their efforts all went in vain. In all the historic moments some of the leaders of the political parties betrayed them and their struggle ended without any achievement. This negative history of the Nepalese People should be broken with and the people should revolt themselves in order to have a complete change and shattering the old state . It is a necessary way of struggle and CPNm will lead it. I see a bright future for the People’s Revolt in Nepal.
HfN: Do you see any possibility of party unification between CPNm and UCPNm in the near future?
In this context I do not see any possibility of party unification. If the UCPNm completely realized its mistakes and came to CPNm it could happen.
HfN: How does the CPNm communicate with English reading people on the internet?
The International Department issues a bulletin called People’s Voice.
Interview with Krishna Aryal, representative of UCPNm in Europe.
HfN: What is your main goal for the elections for a new Constituent Assembly (CA)?
UCPNm: The main goal of the election for a new CA is to institutionalize the achievements gained in the past by the 10 years long people’s war and people’s movements. The achievements, like the People’s republic of Nepal, a secular state, rights for the ethnic minorities-, oppressed communities- and oppressed gender, the abolition of regional discrimination: All this must be capitalised by writing a constitution,  “Federalised with the identity and constitution with federalism” based on a fresh mandate. As outlined in the party’s election manifesto, it will be attempted to write the constitution within a year. This is a commitment to the people.  The first half year will be utilised to create a necessary consensus among the political parties. If one fails to get consensus, the next half year will be used to settle the most debated issues by voting. The debated issues are a new governing system, federalism with identity and the capacity and the number of autonomous states. A new rule and order will be made after the new constitution.  The period up to the next election will be used for developmental issues in the country.
HfN: What is your aim as to representation in the CA from your party for women?
UCPNm: The issue of gender discrimination will be addressed in the new constitution. Women representatives must play an active role to address their rights in politics, property, education and employment. Women candidates will be given maximum priority so that they will have a decisive presence in the CA. Some of the most important gender issues are equal rights, equal opportunities and equal payment for the same work and qualification.
HfN: What is your aim as to representation for Dalits and indigenous minorities?
UCPNm: The aim is to have representation for Dalits and indigenous minorities and to address the issues of oppressed and marginalised people in society. Dalit communities, ethnic minorities and other minority groups wish to secure their rights in the new constitution.  This is also important because of the aim of people’s war was to give rights to the Dalits and indigenous minorities. Our party has been struggling for social justice and identity.
HfN: The CPNm and 32 other parties are boycotting the elections. There was a 63 percent participation rate in the elections in 2008. Would it be a victory for the CPNm and its allies if the turnout was under 60 percent?
UCPNm: Among the 33 parties, CPNm, Limbuwan and Khambuwan are active in boycotting the CA election. Other smaller parties have nominal presence.  Some of the parties are taking part in CA election, whereas some of them have strongly opposed the on-going physical attacks on UCPNm’s candidates.  Although boycotting the CA election is said to be remain peaceful, CPNm has been aggressive. There have been many attacks in several districts.  This means that the 33 parties are divided and split among themselves. The government has been planning to provide extra security for the candidates and the people. It is expected that people will be allowed to come and cast their votes freely without any fear. According to the Election Commission and media sources, there are around 12.5 million people registered and have their identity card with a photograph. The ID-card is mandatory for voting. This registered number seems to be about 4.5 million less this time compared to the numbers in the last CA election in 2008. The main reason for less registration is missing the deadline for registration. Many are working in foreign countries. Some people may have lack of interest in voting for new CA due to frustration from the last CA which could not give a new constitution.  Some people may have not registered intentionally to boycott the election.
A person must be present on the Election Day with his/her own ID-card in order to vote.  The voting percentage in the CA election in 2013 is expected to be more than 70 percent of the registered number.
HfN: What is your impression of the size and influence of the CPNm?
UCPNm: CPNm has said “boycott CA election peacefully”. The party CPNm has only a few cadres and supporters.  Boycotting the CA election will have very little influence.  Many of the supporters of CPNm may cast their votes to for the UCPNm and its candidates. On the other hand, people may not cast their votes due various reasons.   Those who are absent from voting, are not necessarily  supporting CPNm.
HfN: An important issue in today’s Nepal is federalism. What is UCPNms position on the number of states and the relation between these states and the larger national minorities?
UCPNm: The election manifesto has outlined 11 autonomous states. Two states are based on geographical regions, whereas nine states are based on ethnicity. These states are: Seti-Mahakali, Bheri-Karnali, Tharuwan, Magarat, Madesh, Tamuwan, Newa, Tamsaling, Kiart, Limbuwan and Kochila as shown in the location map. Under these autonomous states, there will be 24 autonomous centres based on ethnic minorities.  These states will have special rights as to participation in the policy making process. The largest ethnic group within a state will also have special rights for representation as a leader for a limited period.
HfN: The Terai has seen a massive growth in population relative to the rest of Nepal and there is at the same time controversy concerning the Madesh issue. What is UCPNm’s attitude to the Madesh-question?
UCPNm: The Terai region will be arranged into three major autonomous regions: Thauruwan in the west, Madesh in the middle and Kochila in the east. The Madesh state will have three sub-states: Awadh, Mithila and Bhojpura.  The ethnic minorities will have special rights to participate in the state power. The biggest ethnic group within a state will also have special right to representation as a leader. Madesh issues will be solved when the federal system based on identity has been established. It will be solved by Nepalese people without any assistance from external forces. Madeshi people will have their respect in society and educational and employment rights.
HfN: In the party programme from the 7th Congress, one of the points is the development of cooperatives in many economic areas. How far have you advanced in this programme?
UCPNM: As per the party programme from 7th Congress, a few cooperatives have been started in some economic centres. The plan is to extend into new areas. There will be at least on cooperative established in each electoral centre. There are at the moment 240 electoral centres. Farmers and local industries will be encouraged to participate in the cooperatives.  The state under UCPNm leadership will support the  operation and management of such cooperatives.
HfN: What is your goal for the cooperatives role in the economy in relation to the other forms of economic activity like capitalistic firms, state-controlled firms, etc?
UCPNm: Cooperatives will be the back bone of national development. The plans and policies will be made to run the cooperatives properly. The grassroots people will be encouraged to take part and be most benefitted. The prices of various goods will be regulated by selling products for minimum profit at subsidised prices. There will be a great number of participants through collective investment. These cooperatives will be managed under production brigades by gathering individuals, small scale production enterprises and professionals.
HfN: A central demand during the people’s war was land reform. There has not been any land reform, even though the Peace Accord and the Interim Constitution contained points on this. On the contrary some of the land occupied during the people’s war has been given back to the original owners without the introduction of a land reform. What is your role in this situation? What are the main paroles and actions?
UCPNm: Report from the high level scientific land reform commission will be implemented under the leadership UCPNm. The land above a certain threshold will be taken over by the state and will be distributed among the landless. A revolutionary land reform policy will be implemented on the principle of “land for those who plough it”. Excessive land occupied by landlords will be distributed to the landless people, poor farmers and bondage labours.
Agriculture is the main profession in Nepal. More than 70 percent of the people are engaged in the agriculture. The farming methods are very traditional. Farming will therefore be modernised and professionalised. A new agricultural policy will be formulated with a provision for pension to the farmers. Small scale farmers will be encouraged to organise in cooperatives. Barren land will be distributed to the farmers to cultivate.
HfN: What is your explanation for the increased class differences in Nepal in the period between 2008 and 2013?
UCPNm: The increased class differences are caused mainly because of price increases in goods and land. The cost of daily consumable goods and land has drastically been increased the last ten years.   The high price of commodities has made survival increasingly difficult for the poor people.  There are very few industries that can produce necessary goods for the country. For example, a farmer has to rely on the supply of fertilizer from the foreign countries.
On the other hand, people have very limited job possibilities. As a result, young people have to leave the country seeking for work. This has drained the workforce out of the country. The elderly people cannot cultivate their land which then remains barren. The agricultural production has thus been reduced. This has affected the gross domestic production. These are some of the reasons that the poverty level has increased in the country and the class difference is larger. But this difference is expected to be lowered once a stable government under the leadership of the UCPNm is formed in the future.
HfN: How would you summarize your main political line in this period in the history of Nepal? How do you see the rise of people’s power in Nepal?
UCPNm: The present political situation in Nepal is at a critical juncture.  The transition period has been longer than expected. A new constitution could not be written by the last CA due to larger differences between UCPNm and the parliamentary parties. However, UCPNm has been a major and decisive political force since last CA elections in 2008. Our political line is to lead the country and fulfill people’s desires through peaceful means. Now the party is going ahead rectifying its weaknesses with open politics. Due to lack of political understanding among the political parties, the UCPNm government fell after nine months in power. Later the coalition government could not even bring forward a budget due to opposition. The party will try to establish a good relationship with people as well as with the political parties for a new constitution within a short period.
HfN: Do you see any possibility of party unification with CPNm in the near future?
Smaller parties, party leaders from other parties as well as from CPNm are being united into the UCPNm as an ongoing unification process. A large flow of people have joined the UCPNm just before the new CA elections. This is an encouraging situation for party unification with other parties. However, there is no such party unification possibility with the CPNm. Nevertheless, if the national political scenario changes, there is a possibility of unification with the CPNm in the future. Society cannot be changed without a united proletarian force. All the communist parties must unite and form a united communist party centre. UCPNm is leading the unification process.
HfN: How do you communicate with English reading people on the internet?
UCPNm:  English publications will be published regularly by the international bureau and the publication department under the leadership of the party. However, this has been irregular in the past, but the party will give priority for English publication in the future.

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