Surya Bahadur Thapa Interview: Hidden Messages?

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle’s Web Log

Surya Bahadur Thapa has appeared in TV today in a very suspicious manner to defend the king. Former Prime Minister Thapa, who formed his Rastriya Janashakti Party after the royal takeover of Feb 2005, today told Kantipur TV’s Fire Side program (hosted by Bhusan Dahal) that the Interim Parliament has no right to take any action against the monarchy. “This parliament is not sovereign,” Thapa, a lifelong royalist who was instrumental in repressing democratic movement in the dark autocratic days of pre-1990 Panchayat system, said. “Only the Constituent Assembly can decide on big national issues. We shouldn’t give importance to who says what. The king can’t have any impact.” Thapa, who was nominated the Prime Minister by Gyanendra after the king with autocratic ambition, dismissed a democratically elected Prime Minster in 2002, also categorically said: “The time hasn’t come for republic.”

Thapa said: “When you talk about taking action [against king], you are taking about an individual. A person has given [the statement], how can you strike against the other [monarchy]?” Thapa said, “Let’s wait for a few days and see how the government acts [on the parliaments directive to take action against king].

Meanwhile the government today formally condemned the king for giving out the Democracy day statement without its approval or knowledge. “This is unconstitutional, undemocratic, unauthorized, condemnable and contentious,” government spokesperson and information minister Dilendra Prasad Badu told reporters. “The cabinet has decided to take appropriate action against king based on political understanding [with ruling parties.]

These views from government and Thapa come at a time when rumors are doing rounds in Kathmandu that yet another coup, from military, is being mulled in foreign land. Even Prachanda mentioned about such rumors the other day. This must be noted that Surya Bahadur Thapa visited India for about three weeks recently. He came back to Nepal two weeks ago. We have no information what Thapa was doing in India and whom he met. There are many such forces who will not hesitate to exploit and sabotage the current fluid situation in Nepal? Is there any coincidence between Thapa coming to the press and the dubious Upendra Yadav of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (MJF or MPRF) re-starting the agitation in Terai for no reason? Will any sensible person believe that MJF is restarting the agitation that clearly threatens the social and communal harmony in Nepal just because they didn’t get Home Minister’s resignation? In addition to this, there is no surety that Yadav will not launch another round of agitation after the Home Minister resigns. He might come with another excuse as he as done in the recent past. That is because he is not deciding for himself; he is working for someone else who wants to create havoc in Nepal.

Thapa was asked if he was leading an alliance of pro-king groups. He didn’t categorically deny but said: “Kathmandu is a country that is engulfed by gossips and rumors etc.” He said a broad democratic alliance was necessary to save the sarbamanya prajantra (democracy of wide acceptance) and [to act] against the dictator.” He didn’t elaborate about sarbamanya democracy but it could be easily understood that he was dismissing the democratic republic (or loktantrik ganatantra) and using the “sarbamanya prajantra” term instead.

“Who is that dictator?” Thapa was asked.

“That will show up itself in a few days,” Thapa said.

“Who do you think monarchy is closer to: democratic forces or dictatorship?” Thapa was asked.

“You can’t see him closer to either force if you see the statement,” Thapa said. “Monarchy is not the topic for debate. [This whole debate on monarchy] is just a diversion from the main issue.”

In the interview with KTV Surya Bahadur Thapa cleverly avoided answering the question on the possibility of CA election by mid-July though he repeatedly stressed on the argument that only CA can do whatever is needed to be done. “Do you think CA election could be held by Jestha?” Bhusan asked. Thapa replied: “No one can end this uncertainty. Only CA can. The sooner the CA comes, the uncertainty will go. But whatever activities are happening….sovereign people are now hostage of Maoists.”

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Nepal Government Will Give Additional Rs. 50m to Maoists

The government today (25 Feb) decided to provided Rs 50 million per month to the Maoists for the management of Maoist cantonments that are set up at different regions across the country. In a meeting of the Maoist Cantonment Management Committee today, it was also decided that each Maoist combatant would be provided with a daily allowance of Rs 60.

The CPN-M today also submitted the expenditure details of Rs 35 million that has already been provided to the party by the government for the purpose of camp management. Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said that whatever problems being faced by the Maoist combatants would be solved by the government after holding discussions with the Maoist leadership.

The government earlier had stopped allocating additional funds to the CPN-M after the latter did not provide the government with expenditure details. Today’s meeting also concentrated on the other problems that have been noticed in the Maoist cantonments.

Criticizing the government for not providing enough food, shelter and other essential amenities and stating that the living conditions in the cantonments were extremely poor, thousands of Maoist combatants had deserted their cantonments a few days ago. But, following criticism from all quarters including the government and the UN, the combatants returned to their respective cantonments.