KATHMANDU: After the resignation of Rabindra Mishra from the post of Bibeksheel Sajha Party Chairman, Samikshya Baskota has been elected to the post of chairman.
Conceived with the notion of abolishing the then mainstream party through the pro-public agenda, Bibeksheel Sajha seems struggling to explore its firm stand so as to make it a distinct force.
In this context, Khabarhub’s Chandrakant Neupane approached the newly-elected chairman Baskota to discuss the Bibeksheel Sajha party’s plan to regain the trust, strengthen the party and establish it as a distinct party with visionary programs to lead the country ahead. Excerpts:
After the election date was announced for November 20, all the political parties have focused on the election. What is your party doing?
We are also working for the election. We have just completed the process of party registration for the forthcoming election.
In addition to registering the party at the Election Commission, how are you selecting the candidates for the election?
Party registration at the Election Commission is a preliminary condition for the election. It is a normal process. We plan to intensify the discussion in the party, and respect and settle the different opinions in the most democratic way possible.
We all agreed to take the balance as our election symbol. We are working on the criteria for the people to contest from our party. Everyone knows that our candidates are more trustworthy and competitive than the candidates of other parties.
Bibeksheel Sajha which came to the political arena claiming it to be the alternative force to take politics to the right course is currently split and broken. It had a poor show in local elections. How has it planned to move ahead?
There are a few challenges to the party. There are differences of opinion. These 5 years of alternative politics have taught us everything about polarization.
At the same time, we reached the top in the terms of public support and their faith in us. Now it has to be taken up, we have moved forward with the belief that we can easily solve all the challenges.
You still think your party has the glory and public faith it once entertained. However, the people think the party is lost somewhere. How can you regain public faith?
People have promised to vote for us if we still come forward with good plans. People have expected a lot from us based on what we did yesterday.
Even when the party has fallen like this, we are encouraged to rise again based on the votes cast by our supporters.
Now the issues of the alliance have been raised a lot and all the parties are thinking that they should join forces that agree with their views. Do you go forward alone or grow together with like-minded people?
We have held meetings at various stages. Rather than contesting alone, we are in the process of moving forward by collaborating with newly arrived parties and independent candidates.
This support for the independent candidates is the result of the seeds Bibeksheel Sajha planted in 2017. We are happy with that. We will discuss with the new aspirants committed to the agenda of change and decide who to ally with.
Central coordinator Milan Pandey once said that he would unite with the CPN-Unified Socialists, later the rumor disappeared, what is Bibeksheel Sajha’s stand now?
I don’t know about the unity with the Unified Socialists and even if Milanji has approached, whatever efforts he has made are his personal efforts. He has no role to play in prudential sharing in his current position.
We can collaborate later based on his goals and issues. After the death of Ujjwal Thapa, there is a conflict within them as to who takes ownership of Bibeksheel Sajha’s agenda. Now there are many people who say that we are the real ones at our party.
Does the Bibeksheel Sajha accept the king or not and what will be the main agenda when going to the elections?
The Central Committee meeting of the party agreed to go demand revocation of federalism, and abolishment of corruption.
We believe in transparency, multiparty democracy, and justice for all. Monarchy is not our agenda. Our outgoing Chairman Rabindra Mishra raised the issue after resigning from the post. We respect him.
If you don’t follow Rabindra Mishra’s line of ‘nation above notions’, he (Mishra) will go with Rajendra Lingden with some groups, will not it further weaken the party?
Anyone can have their own opinion. But we have many such challenges and we move forward as we can overcome them. His (Mishra’s) personal opinion is highly respected. But Bibeksheel Sajha will not raise the issue of monarchy again.
We passed the ‘nation above the nation’ with a two-thirds majority. The proposal demands the revocation of province-level structures and the strengthening of local levels.
On the issue of religion, the document has advocated for a referendum. That is the document passed by the central committee. It will be further discussed in the general convention.
If someone likes his (Mishra’s) opinion, then it’s okay. If they have the alternative opinion they are free to raise them in the concerned forum and get them ratified.
There is a wide public observing our performance. They have trust in us. We should not disappoint them. We should meet their expectations and take the country ahead.
Will not you be against the Constitution and federalism when you demand this?
Since we are in Nepal, we cannot say that we do not follow the law, but the ideas carried by the party may be different.
We demand consideration of federalism, we have called for the abolition of provinces and the restructuring of local levels in federalism.
If you don’t like federalism, then should you have demanded the empowerment of local levels and redefining the role of the center work from the center. Why didn’t say so?
We say that the provincial government is a pendulum. The power is centered either on the federal government or on the local levels.
There is no role for the provincial government; the provincial government is a financial burden to the nation.
Citizens have said that the local level should be strengthened, but many questions have been raised against the provincial government. We have raised this issue.
What is your agenda in this election?
We make it public through group discussions. Right now we have raised the issue of the provincial government. We believe that the state should take responsibility for its citizen’s education and health.
Many people in your party accuse Rabindra Mishra of destroying the party statute and party organization, do you also believe the same?
When he (Mishra) came up with his agenda, he said that he would present his ideas to the central committee, and would accept the decision even if the committee decided against it. So, one should not make such accusations. He discussed with the central committee and presented his ideas.