“Wrong interpretation led to bad decision”

Consulting an expert led to misinterpretation

Dhiraj Basnet

August 5, 2022


“Wrong interpretation led to bad decision”

KATHMANDU: Maoist leader Janardan Sharma has returned to the Ministry of Finance. There is an allegation that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ brought the ministry to him to finish the incomplete work in the setting.

Analysts have started to say that the economy, which has become crisis-oriented during Sharma’s one-year term, is more at risk with his return.

In this context, Khabarhub’s Dhiraj Basnet talked to influential lawmaker and Maoist Center leader Gajendra Mahat to find out more about the party’s cause for re-nominating Sharma as a Finance Minister as if there is none capable of it, and also discuss the party’s strategy for the forthcoming general election. Excerpts:

Janardan Sharma has been assigned the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. Is it for his good performance or because of not finding any other capable candidate in the party to execute the role?

He has no fault, so why remove him from the Ministry of Finance? Various committees were formed to investigate the allegations against him, but no evidence was found against him.

A finance minister has to consult with everyone. No one is an expert in himself. When he consulted an expert, the interpretation was wrong.

Maoist Center defended the allegations against Finance Minister Sharma and accused the main opposition UML of appointing party cadre M. Adhikari as the Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank. What type of politics is it?

The allegations against Finance Minister are found false by the parliamentary committee itself. As far as the issue of Maha Prasad Adhikari aka Maha Prasad Adhikari is concerned, it is the controversy created by UML itself.

It should have thought about the legal provisions before appointing the Governor to the party committee. If M Adhikari is not the NRB Governor Adhikari, who is it then? UML should offer the details of the person called M Adhikari. Not only this, but the opposition party has also said that the cadres can be governors or even judges. This is a mockery of the system.

There is an allegation that the conflict between political parties has brought Nepal’s economy to a miserable state. What do you say about it?

Obviously, when someone is appointed to key posts like Minister or even Governor, people talk about them. As far as the issue of Finance Minister Sharma is concerned, he has caused no problems to the system.

There is no problem regarding the Minister of Finance. The problem was there when Yubraj Khatiwada was there, it was there when Surendra Pandey was there, and it was also there when Ramsharan Mahat was there.

However, now the government has been reducing imports. Now every country is suffering because of the war between Ukraine and Russia. Even the American or European economy is facing difficulty.

Do you think that the inquiry committee has properly investigated the Finance Minister Sharma-related case?

Despite the Finance Minister’s claim that the allegations against him are false, various inquiry committees were formed and an investigation was carried ahead. It is said that Raghunath Ghimire was there, if there is evidence, he can be called and questioned. Asking him or tracing his activities can easily help one find the truth. Making false accusations against the minister out of biasedness is unacceptable.

The government introduced the private sector in the fuel supply and distribution sector after the appointment of Finance Minister Sharma. What do you say about that?

The issue of introducing the private sector to fuel business has been raised for long. If Nepal Oil Corporation is not capable, it will be given to the private sector. For this, the Finance Minister, the Prime Minister and the whole cabinet decide. It is not decided by Finance Minister Sharma alone.

The election date was not fixed until your leader became a minister. Will it be fixed now?

The date is still under discussion. The Constitution has the provision of holding it every five years. The five years of the incumbent parliament go up to March or April.

Our party Chairman has already said that we want the election in December. It has to be decided considering the national situation.

Even in the recent local level election, some of the representatives have not been in office for five years. Yet the election was conducted. We will discuss this issue in our Standing Committee meeting.

Don’t you think your leaders’ intelligence has been weakened by the top leaders?

I do not seek the role of a minister or prime minister. Everyone has their own distinct role in the party.

How was your tenure, how do you rate yourself?

Linked to my tenure is the country’s tenure. There was a high expectation from the previous government. The people expected political stability and good governance after the communist parties united and formed the government.

However, the KP Oli-led government did not work for the people. This government was formed to prevent UML Chair Oli’s attack on federalism, secularism and republican state as well. We do not have very high expectations from this government.

This government is merely for day-to-day operation till the election. Unfortunately, it is in the hands of brokers.

Today is a country run by the sycophants of the Prime Minister. There are middlemen influencing government decisions.

It cannot be corrected by one or two people. It needs a communal effort for reform; otherwise, the country will be in a very difficult situation. If due action is not taken on time, there will be nothing left for remorse. The corrupt sycophants shall continue their reign influencing the top leadership.

Was your 10-year-long people’s war meant to establish such a rule? Where are your achievements?

With the 10-year-long people’s war, we brought federalism and changed the system. However, this did not bring substantive change in the livelihood of the people, only the political situation changed. It’s being reviewed now.

We signed the agreement postponing the people’s war with the hope that the people’s agenda will get priority. We never imagined the situation would be like this.

After the establishment of the Maoist government in 2008, people, middlemen, brokers, employees, and traders were all very cautious. The evil intent people were frightened and nervous. We failed to take action against them in time which led to the present chaos.

Are you implying that the Finance Minister also became the victim of such people?

The Finance Minister is not a person who is an expert in economics or has a doctor’s degree. So, he also needs advice. This issue is outdated now.

Does it mean that the tax rate has been widely changed under the influence of the middlemen?

A minister does not have to ask the staff. It need not be decided by asking all employees, businessmen and thieves. If I were a minister when bringing the budget, I would consult all, and some of them could be the ill intent people.

One is likely to fall prey to such people. However, one should take precautions. Blaming the Finance Minister now makes no sense, as the probe committee comprising the experts of the field found nothing against him.