"I stand with the revolution"
Interview with Maoist leader Ram Bahadur Thapa in Nepal, 28 October
By raising demands on the eve of the constituent assembly elections, the Maoists are accused of being against polls. Why are you going against the very agenda you raised?
On a superficial level, it looks like the CPN-M was behind the delay in elections. But if you take a closer look, you'll see that the NC and other parties are the main culprits. Take a look at our demands, and see if they are legitimate or not. The parties are responsible for the election postponement because they refused to budge.
Don't you see that you are endangering the peace process and a return to war?
We have seen that danger. If the government tries to suppress our peaceful revolution with weapons then it will be clear that they have no desire to hold elections or change to a republic. I don't think they'll make such a stupid move. But history has shown that in extreme cases, people do resort to stupidity. So we haven't dismissed that possibility.
In the span of one-and-a-half years, what have you accomplished and what have you lost?
Our recently concluded fifth plenum answers this question. There were forces that tried to isolate us by labelling us terrorists. They have failed. The middle class no longer misunderstands us and we have established international relations. But there have also been losses. We have had trouble making the changes we wanted. We failed to make the people understand many of our agreements. Regressive forces have made use of that. Our weaknesses in madhesi, janjati and republican issues have been exposed.
Are you a hardliner?
No. There are right-wingers, middle-of-the-roaders, and leftist factions in our own party and they are in constant conflict.
So where do you stand among those factions?
We are revolutionaries and I fall into that category. Our party follows the revolutionary code. I am on the side of revolution and if the party line goes against my beliefs, then I will stand with the revolution.
It is said that you have tried to establish yourself against Chairman Prachanda.
That is also part of a conspiracy. I do not surface in public much, and that is my weakness. This rumour has spread because certain factions wish it.
You have said that you do not want a republic like that in Iraq or Sikkim.
We want a Nepali republic, where Nepalis make the decisions. Foreign help will be required, but not foreign direction. If foreigners try to direct us instead of just helping us, it will be an attack on our national integrity.
You have maintained that there is an Indian hand in everything, but we do not see you opposing it.
Our line on India is clear. There are many treaties and agreements with Nepal that need to be changed. We don't want to ruin our relationship with India, we want to make it better in the future. But our party will oppose India's incorrect actions. Certain factions in India are hatching a conspiracy against the movement of the Nepali people. This is an attack on our independence. The madhesi incidents are also anti-national.