Joint political proposal will be modified and presented as party’s common document

Standing Committee member of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pampha Bhusal represents the party from Lalitpur Constituency No 3. She is hopeful that Bamdev Gautam’s dissatisfaction with the joint political document presented in the party’s Standing Committee by the NCP Co-chairs KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal will help enrich the document. She hopes feedback from members of the Standing Committee will be incorporated and the party will implement the joint document. Rewati Sapkota of The Himalayan Times caught up with her to understand her views on issues confronting her party: Excerpts

Do you think the joint political document presented by your party’s Co-chairpersons KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal will satisfy party leaders who are unhappy with the party leadership over the unresolved unification process and government’s poor performance?

The joint document should be seen in a broader context. The Standing Committee meeting took place after a long gap. This meeting will continue on Monday and try to resolve issues related to party unification. The meeting will also review the government’s nine months in office and the party’s upcoming plans and programmes. The joint document will clarify some issues. It will be modified after getting feedback from Standing Committee members.

 Do you mean the joint document is not a comprehensive piece?

The joint document should analyse issues minutely. Standing Committee members will seek clarity on several issues and I think the two chairpersons will have to satisfy them. We can ask the chairpersons to modify their document by incorporating feedback from Standing Committee members. The feedback of Standing Committee members will help enrich the joint document. Our party intends to work as a bridge between the government and people by steering politics for prosperity of the nation.

How do you view BamdevGautam’s political document? Are the issues raised in the document merely his suggestions or manifestation of anger against the leadership?

I think Gautam’s document contains his suggestions because he told the Standing Committee meeting that his document would help enrich the joint document presented by the two chairpersons.

Why did the leadership hold meeting of the Standing Committee after so many months ignoring the leaders’ calls for such a meeting earlier?

The main leader of our party is leading the government. It was delayed due to the prime minister’s foreign trips and major festivals. In the meantime, the task forces that were formed to expedite the unification process, particularly the unification of the lower committees, had not finished their work.

Can this Standing Committee meet pacify those leaders who have criticised the party and the government for poor performance?

The dissatisfaction of some leaders is not a big issue. The Standing Committee meeting will address all issues, including the party’s performance and unification. The two chairpersons told the meeting they were in favour of forging collective understanding to implement the party’s policies collectively. It is true that we are behind schedule as far as the unification process is concerned, but from now on, we are going to expedite this process and I am sure we will be able to move all the processes ahead smoothly without experiencing delay. The chairpersons have assured us that the party unification process, including unification of the party’s sister organisations, will be completed within a month. We will soon launch a campaign across the country to give the message of unity to the party’s rank and file. Our party will help the government implement the government’s policy and programmes. The party’s efforts will boost the government’s performance in the country.

 Will you raise issues related to women’s inclusion in the party’s structures in the next Standing Committee meeting?

Inclusion is a secondary issue. The party’s main objective now is to complete the unification process from top to bottom. Marginalised sections of society, including women, Dalit, Janajati, Madhesi, youths and others will be duly represented after the party’s General Convention.

Laws have stipulated that political parties should have 33 per cent representation of women in all structures of the parties and I am sure that this requirement will be fulfilled after the party holds its General Convention. I am of the view that women’s participation should not be limited to 33 per cent; it should rather be increased up to 50 or 60 per cent.

When will the next General Convention be held?

Our General Convention will be held within two-and-a-half years from the date of party unification. Our party has, however, not announced the General Convention date.

How can your party, which is yet to unify local committees, hold the General Convention within two-and-a-half years?

We can hold the GC when the party’s unification is complete. As communists we will adopt communist style of functioning. We will shoulder our responsibility honestly without resting.

The government’s policies and programmes do not reflect the views of the party. What is your comment on this?

We are a federal country with three tiers of government. The public’s expectation from our governments at the central, provincial and local levels is high. The government has started policies and programmes, but it faces challenges in implementing those policies.

The government should implement federalism at a higher pace and it should learn from its own experience. Politically we have completed all the processes necessary to establish federalism but we have not completed the transition in the administration sector.

Government’s objective is to establish a prosperous country and it has started marching on this path. The government will implement major parts of the party’s manifesto within its five years tenure.

The policies of your party’s government do not match your party’s manifesto? Why this gap?

All contents of the manifesto cannot be implemented within a year because in the manifesto we state what we promise to do in five years, 10 years, 15 years and 20 years.

Most leaders of the parliamentary panels are led by women but some lawmakers say that those panels have failed to play their roles effectively. How do you react to this?

It’s not a fair comment. By law, the federal parliament needs to ensure 33 per cent representation. There is 40 per cent women’s representation in the local levels now. Women should either be chiefs or deputy chiefs in the local levels. Thirty-three per cent women’s representation has not been implemented in the executive, but I think this provision should apply to the executive too. Women’s participation in parliament is not enough.

I do not think women led panels’ performance is poor. Panel chairs, whether they are male or female, should follow certain rules and I think women chairpersons are also doing the same thing.

Recently, parliamentary panels had to postpone their meetings due to lack of quorum. How do you react to this?

Some panels’ meetings were affected because lawmakers had gone to their respective constituencies. This is time for lawmakers to select their Constituency Development Programmes. Lawmakers are also busy forming users’ groups to implement Constituency Development Programmes. All the lawmakers will return to Kathmandu after two weeks when the new session of Parliament will probably be summoned.  Parliamentary panels will be able to conduct its meetings effectively.

You said that the new session of Parliament will start after two weeks, but the government is trying to bring a second ordinance to address police recruitment in provinces through an umbrella law. Why this contradiction?

The ordinance is a kind of a draft of the act that will be enacted by the Parliament later. The ordinance will be presented in the House later. The ordinance will have to be replaced by a law soon. You can understand that the ordinance is a kind of preparation of the bill as per constitutional provisions.

What do you think is the major problem your party is facing?

The party’s unification process has been delayed. There are party members at the three levels, but the party has not formed formal structures yet.

After creation of the NCP (NCP), the old structures of the erstwhile CPN-UML and CPN-MC have been dissolved, but new structures have not been formed yet. This has dissatisfied the party’s rank and file at the lower levels.

The party Secretariat has finalised the unity process for central and provincial structures, which the Standing Committee will endorse. The Standing Committee will allocate responsibilities to central committee members. The provincial committees will recommend members of the districts committees.

What will be the outcome of this Standing Committee meeting?

It will help forge common understanding within the party. Party leaders who have some queries and grievances will have chance to seek clarification from the leadership. The meeting will also help our party implement fiscal federalism and promote economic development. Those are also the party’s major agenda.

What are your views on the note of dissent written by Madhav Kumar Nepal against the party secretariat’s meeting and 22 central committee members’ memorandum to the party?

If there are issues, they will be discussed in the party committee. Some leaders want to add something to the political document some other leaders want to remove something from the document. The joint political proposal will be modified and will be a common political document of the party.