Kathmandu : The former prime minister and current NCP chairman, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prachanda’s views expressed in the constituent assembly and the parliament meetings from 2008- 20018 have been compiled and published under the name of ‘First Decade of Republic’ in Nepali vernacular.
Published by Pragyan Memorial Academy, Khumaltar, Lalitpur, the book consists of 364 pages. According to a political analyst, Jhalak Subedi , this book is basically a document of political debates and turmoiled period of our history from 1995 to 2015.
Critiquing the book, Subedi opines, “This will remain as a historic document of a particular era of Nepalese history”. After one goes through the book, he/she can understand Prachanda’s personality, role in Nepalese politics, political journey, challenges he faced during a decade long Maoist movement, his desire to build new Nepal, flexibility, oratorical skill, and convincing power. The book is going to be published in the English language very shortly keeping in view of foreign readers and intellectuals. For the kind information of our readers, the first section of the unofficial translation of the book has been presented here.
We are in the Process of Building an Era – Prachanda
Mr. Speaker, present in this house in the capacity of the speaker and dear parliament members present in the capacity of the member of legislature parliament!
I am going to present my views in this historic parliament meeting for the first time from this rostrum. First of all, I would like to sincerely congratulate and salute all members of constituent assembly.
I have come to this rostrum to present my views being centered to the concern of all of us which is quite sensitive and is an issue of our common concern. I would like to have your approval to allow me to present my perceptions since it is the first time that I have come to this rostrum.
We are on the process of epoch-making change in the history of Nepal. We accomplished our prime responsibility of holding the historic constituent assembly election as the result of decades-long different armed and peaceful struggles of Nepalese people. We implemented the declaration of the republic through lawful abolishment of the autocratic monarchy after the long struggle of Nepalese people against it that had been the expression of a centralized feudal regime. These process in themselves are the process of an epochal change. I am not willing to explain these issues this time. However, I would like to say something on the process of how this constituent assembly got formed and the way it has represented Nepalese peoples.
If it viewed in perspective to the representation of oppressed class, we, the representatives of the most backward, oppressed, and exploited bonded laborer are here in this constituent assembly. If we viewed it in terms of caste, we are here as the representatives of the castes and community being oppressed by feudal power. If we view in terms of setoral representation, we are here as the representatives of the oppressed sector by the old regime and if we view it in terms of gender, we are here as its representative.
Here, we have the representation of the most inclusive and proportionate character across the world coming to the first decade of 21st century. Our constituent assembly has the inclusive and proportionate character necessary for Nepal. People kept on claiming that Nepal is a garden. But only a single flower was given full care whereas, other flowers were not given to bloom for a long time and efforts were made to snatch them instead. Coming to this structure of constituent assembly election for the first time in the history, Nepal has been seen as a garden of various class, castes, sector, section, and community. For the building of new Nepal, thousands of people sacrificed their lives in course of armed and peaceful movements, many warriors remained disappeared, seriously wounded, and set records of devotion and penance. All these penance, devotion, sacrifice, and record settings have been synthesized here in this meeting.
The dream that we dreamt in course of movement for the overall change of new Nepal to ensure the rights of poor, working class, peasant, patriot, oppressed caste, ethnicity, indigenous, Dalits, women, Muslim and the people from oppressed section has been materialized now. As I saw two hundred-woman representatives in number here, I have felt somewhere new pride in terms of thought and feelings and somewhere the feeling of a relation of thought and feelings no matter they represent Nepali Congress, CPN, UML, CPN Maoist or other party. Despite political and ideological differences among us, we have been linked to the devotion and sacrifice of our great common martyrs in this process of representation.
We have common nation building goals. We are trying to design structure of new state through constituent assembly. We have a wonderful representation of democratic, inclusive and proportionate character in the constituent assembly in course of forming a new state structure. I trust, we can move forth united being centered to similar thought and feeling for the materialization of our expectation to build new Nepal. Sometimes I feel whether we all have become leaders of all and activists of all activists.
Dear members of legislature parliament!
The way how Nepalese people accomplished the prime responsibility of holding constituent assembly election and established republic after a long struggle, we know, has centered the attention of the whole world towards us. The CA election got accomplished amidst great joy and enthusiasm, despite suspicion in and out of the country. However, Nepalese people accomplished the CA election in a grand manner providing a powerful reply to all those suspicions. Behind our electoral success, the role played by people’s war in the course of building infrastructure, the twelve-point agreement and 19-day long historic movement is significant. This had really attracted the attention of the whole world.
We, all know that Nepal had become the center for talks and discussions during our 19-day long movement across the world. We initiated and intensified peace process in our own capacity and conscience. In the process of forging comprehensive peace accord and the making of interim constitution, the situation became such that the whole world eagerly and enthusiastically had to view the conscience and mutual effort of Nepalese people and political parties. We presented an example of our ability to initiate the peace process independently and easily resolved such a great issue without anyone’s pressure and intervention.
There are countries that talk about peace and initiate to take it to conclusive end but we have a multitude of examples of their failure and less development in it even within a decade. However, it has been an exemplary event in itself for all to see our success to come to this juncture and the model that we are trying to present within two years of the beginning of the peace process in Nepal. Holding constituent assembly election was an unbelievable issue for many people, but it has been historically accomplished. Coming to the post-CA election, Nepalese peoples’ awareness, initiation, and ability positively impressed people across the world and this wonderful initiation of Nepalese people disseminated, somewhere, a new type of message to super power centers. As Nepalese people sent us to this place with great excitement and trust, the whole world looked us seriously and has been watching us these days even with the same gravity and curiosity. We could have seriously addressed people’s enthusiasm, initiation, and expectation with the sense of full responsibility, but three months elapsed aimlessly. We have not been able to move forth with fast pace as we should have in context to the leadership, agreement and collaboration among all political parties, statute writing process and taking the peace process to the conclusive end.
This certainly perplexed all of us, members of legislature parliament present in the constituent assembly. General public who had been quite happy and excited during the CA election are getting somewhere frustrated and signs of dejection and suspicion are getting surfaced on their faces. Moreover, the problem or hindrance seen in the general process of constituent assembly for a long-time intensified perplexity everywhere. We know that we have comfortably resolved numerous strategic issues with long-term significance. But sometimes we are deluded and problematic in trifle technical issues. For us, it seems to be a strange contradiction. We give a message to the world solving big issues but we are entangled into small insignificant issues. I think, this may be the dialecticism of the development of a society.
Anyway, we are on an epoch-making process coming to this juncture. We have left behind an era and entered the new era. The reminiscence of the old, the traditional way of thinking, and the working style have not left us. The new one born recently has not yet been established. Therefore, this is probably a natural process of the transitional situation of epochal change. Instead of being too much perplexed, we all should be centered towards acknowledging its rules, relations and identify contradictions and resolve them. We have carried intensive discussions in leadership level of political parties for the last few weeks (2008 May/June). Certainly, it took a bit long time and naturally it created perplexity in general public.
Nevertheless, it has a positive facet too, in my opinion. This process of debate and interaction has built an infrastructure to understand the depth of issues and various dimensions in constitution writing process comfortably, and take the peace process to a conclusive end. We have already been convinced in some of the major issues in course of this constituent assembly like, the country will be a federal republic state and it will be restructured as a federal republic. We have clearly mentioned these issues in our interim constitution. Meanwhile, all the movements, devotions, penances and sacrifices made for federalism, autonomy, and building of Nepal’s new state structure have been synthesized. The constituent assembly that had been expected by Nepalese people through various movements initiated around 1950 in the history of Nepal has now stood before us. We have clarified in our interim statute that political agreements and understandings that the final settlement of all issues will be made in the constituent assembly because it is the most powerful apex democratic institution. There are no other institutions above it. This is the only institution that has right to finalize issues like, “What will be the structure of Nepal like? What type of constitution are we going to promulgate? and What will be the overall structure of our state?” We prefer and must prefer that its dignity, weightage, and underlying meaning should not be controverted from any corner. Let it not be devaluated and everything be finally settled through it. We have kept on saying that we could show a model of peace to the whole world. At this juncture, there is a historic opportunity on our generation’s shoulder to exhibit our model of peace leading it to a conclusion end. Likewise, we are on the historic opportunity to present a model of what will be model of people’s real democracy through institutionalizing democratic system in new manner. The opportunity that we are getting in the circumstances of the first decade of 21st century is full of challenges and it will not be easily moved without any challenge.
As the leader of the largest party of this constituent assembly, I am fully committed to federalism, federal republic state, and the making of new constitution. This constituent assembly has become a colorful floral garden. There is a strange and unique type of representation. It has a representation of people from all class, castes, section and gender-based community ranging from the poorest one to the national capitalist. I would like to reiterate my commitment once again to the course of understanding and collaboration. Friends from Madhesh based parties had demanded to include points of their demands that had been agreed through the agreement forged with them on 28 February in the interim constitution. We have faced a new kind of contradiction along with that demand. The government, in the past, has made numerous agreements with indigenous people and institutions.
Although Madhesh based parties and friends raised issues coincidently, they are not only their but of whole Nepal. That issue is related to federalism, autonomy, state restructuring, and the formation of inclusive and proportionate state. The issue that we have raised regarding the representation of oppressed caste, community, class, section and gender is the issue of whole Nepalese people.
The agreement forged with three Madhesh based parties under Madheshi Samyukta Morcha has been significant in itself. There may or may not be our consensus. As per the provision in the interim constitution, government has to settle the problem with the consensus of Seven party alliance, but there remained contradictions with in seven party alliance in some of the points. That had been politically clarified during the forging of consensus. In one hand the movement had been continuing in Madhesh under the leadership of Morcha and the movement was gaining pace, the process of nomination for constituent assembly too had begun. The situation was really complex. Had we not been able to reach an agreement that time, the whole elections of constituent assembly could have certainly influenced. Therefore, there was an active participation of Nepali Congress, CPN, UML, and our party, CPN, Maoist while forging an agreement.
We have already made a declaration of an epoch changing republic after that agreement. Our party is clear on the issue that the result that we have received so far was in itself a historic agreement. I myself had played an active role to establish that agreement. I would like to reiterate the same point in this assembly. Friends from Madhesh based parties had proposed for the immediate amendment of constitution on the ground of that issue. The then prime minister, Girija Prasad Koirala, CPN senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and myself had convinced them regarding the impossibility of immediate amendment of the constitution citing the difficulties to postpone the date of CA election. We assured them to make amendment of the constitution in appropriate time and urged them to untie the knot of problem.
We have found the same spirit in the agreements made with indigenous people, other organizations and institutions, suppressed section and Morchas. That time an intense discussion was carried regarding the independent province, and came to know that there were clearly two streams. One belonging to the Morcha and they were in strong favor of ‘One Madhesh one Province”. We seven parties including Nepali Congress, UML, and Maoist were not in support of their demand. During our hot debate, we had made an understanding to seek a middle language so as not to show complete ignorance to both sides’ views.
As our party was not ready to come down even half an inch to republic during 12-point agreement, some of other parties were in the position of taking the stance for the end of monarchy and immediate establishment of republic. We had used a terminology of ‘full democracy’ that time. We had forged an agreement to define the terminology in our own convenience like it could be defined as republic or the pro- monarchy parties might define it as per their own convenience. The same incident repeated this time too. There had been discussions to finalize the issue from the constituent assembly. Consequently, terminologies like Madhesh autonomous province and autonomous Madhesh province have been used. We have still need to move forth in accordance to the spirit and provision of interim constitution and consensus of seven party alliance because we can’t devalue the role played by them in the history. Unless this constitution is amended, there is still a need to internalize the spirit and underlying meaning of interim constitution.
There are two issues in point number 2 and 5 of the agreement made on 28 February,2008. The one is related to the issue of the restructuring of province and state and the other is related to giving national form.Their main demand was to let it be included during the amendment of the constitution. Meanwhile, discussions were carried with friends amidst many ups and downs. We understood friends’ interest to get their sentiments and underlying meaning incorporated during the amendment of constitution. Proposal for the amendment of constitution has been presented here in accordance to the consensus of seven political parties though some of the parties within seven party alliance are against the proposal. Friends from Madhesh based parties are also not happy. Since articles 144 and 138 of interim constitution are open and constituent assembly deserves the right to have final adjudication, we have a condition to carry sufficient discussions in constituent assembly.
Their demands that have been incorporated have opened discussions as per their demand, spirit, and feelings. They are not opened but also amended. That has clearly addressed the desire of autonomous sector of indigenous people, backward sections, and other sections including Madheshi people. Similarly, the spirit to provide national status to the Nepal army has also been incorporated through legal provisions on the ground of the principle of equality and inclusion. Moreover, our understanding and unity is not determined only through single agreement. What I remember is that the issue of federalism was a terrible issue for political parties of our country in the past. To talk about federal state was almost impossible. The issue of autonomous province in the past used to seem almost impossible. For many political parties it used to be difficult to even imagine the probability of autonomy republic state in Nepal but we have come to this juncture now. We can reach the agreement with Madhesh based parties through discussions in the constituent assembly to incorporate the feelings and demands of Madheshi people in the days to come. we can reach to the destinations as demanded by friends belonging to Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) and we can also reach the destination as demanded by the people from oppressed and backward area.
At last but not least, as the largest party of this constituent assembly and as the party that declared publicly the need of federalism, autonomy, and right to self- determinism and struggled and sacrificed for their cause, our commitments towards them and our initiations will move forth with continuous discussions with you all. In course of our talks I have also told friends that the issue of Madhesh autonomous province is already declared issue for us. Therefore, we don’t have any objection in making Madhesh autonomous province and we don’t have objection to form autonomous province for indigenous people on the ground of caste either. We fought for their cause. Since we have adopted a clear policy to provide autonomy to the people from oppressed and backward section of the society for years, I would like to repeat commitments I made with people from oppressed caste and community in the past.
New Nepal depends on our unity, collaboration, and scientific debate and discussions. To accomplish the historic deed and make new constitution, there needs our historic unity. The historic responsibility to decide whether we intend to transform our country to a great nation or take it towards the course of dissolution and disintegration as some of the people have thought is upon our shoulder. I would like to conclude my speech at this juncture expressing my commitments to move forth joining hands with you all for the positive transformation against that negativism.
 The first speech made in the constituent assembly, legislature parliament meeting held under the chairmanship of the senior most member Kul Bahadur Gurung on 9 July, 2008 at 6.30 PM.
 CPN Maoist had become the largest party in the constituent assembly in the CA election held on 10 April, 2008. Nepali Congress and CPN, UML had been the second and the third largest parties respectively.
 An 8-point agreement had been forged between the government and three parties, Sadhvavana, Madheshi Janadhikar Forum, and Nepal Terai Madhesh Democratic Party on 28 February, 2008.