Upendra Yadav, Chairman of the newly formed Samajbadi Party Nepal, has been an influential politician in Nepal. Also a Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister for Health, Yadav has remained at the helm of Nepali politics, especially in the Madhes. Khabarhub talked with Yadav about the future course of the new party. Excerpts:
You were engaged in unification talks with Rastriya Janata Party. However, your party, Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum, went for a merger with Dr. Babau Ram Bhattarai’s Naya Shakti Party. Wasn’t that unexpected?
Unification with Dr. Bhattarai’s party wasn’t an unexpected turn of events. This happened following a series of dialogues and brainstorming. Dissatisfaction and uncertainty have prevailed in all sectors, including politics. We believe that the country cannot remain in the status quo. Therefore, there has to be a way out. Something had to be done to bail out the country from the current situation. Therefore, we decided to unify with the intention of emerging ourselves as an alternative force to avert possible unfortunate circumstances.
Did you say unfortunate circumstances? Can you elaborate?
As I said, the country, which has a multi-national identity, cannot move ahead in the current situation. This is a part of the move that we have been taking to consolidate federal set up, and to provide rights to the provinces. Or else, the federal set up will collapse. The system has been totally messed up. Confusion is everywhere. The parliamentary system, which is heading towards catastrophe, is not in a situation to deliver.
People took to streets to overthrow the Rana regime, the Panchayat system, and the institution of monarchy to establish a republican set up. What kind of system are you talking about?
The country now needs a Presidential form of governance. Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is ready to accept the system. Dr. Bhattarai and I have a similar perception. Senior leaders of NCP, too, do not contradict with it. Nepali Congress, I would, say is a gutless party. If we all come together, NC will have no option left than to join us sooner or later.
Despite being in the government, you are talking like an opposition. How justified is your opinion?
Our priority is the street, not the government. We extended conditional support to the government by signing a two-point agreement. Our priority is to amend the constitution. We are still hopeful. However, we will walk out of the government anytime. We are now in a wait and a watch situation.
Does this mean that the count-down has begun?
This entirely depends upon the Prime Minister. If the government disagrees to amend the constitution, we will be compelled to walk out.
If so, what type of alternative system are you talking about?
See, we do not believe in the current parliamentary system. We have been working towards that end both inside and outside the parliament. We want to establish as an alternative force with a different ideology. Both systems, capitalist and communism, have been a total failure here. Communism cannot be an alternative to capitalism. In fact, Prime Minister K P Oli, too, is dissatisfied with this system. Since we, including Dahal, Dr. Bhattarai and I, are in favor of a presidential system, PM Oli will have no option than to join us.
Does this mean that the current system will be a failure in Nepal?
We have experimented this futile system. The country cannot prosper with this system in place since it failed to give political stability and economic prosperity. Moreover, it has failed to narrow down social disparities.
How do you analyze the country’s overall political scenario?
Since the current parliamentary system has been a failure, we are looking for an alternative system – Presidential system. We are also holding talks with the Rastriya Janata Party leaders. The environment towards that end is gradually gaining momentum.