'Big parties pretend not to grasp perils of federalism'
JAN 04 - Rastriya Jana Morcha (RJM) Chairman Chitra Bahadur K.C. has been a stalwart of the Communist movement in
What is the basis of the anti-federalism movement?
K.C.: We should understand that there are different models of state structuring. Initially, there were only unitary states and even today, nearly 175 countries follow unitary state model. Only around 25 have adopted federal model. There are basically three reasons for adoption of federalism. One, scattered sovereign states have been brought together under a federal setup (as in the
Two, some countries like
Whatever the reason for federalising, history shows that the unitary countries that have adopted federalism are either no longer in existence (
Those countries that went into a federal setup and had the infrastructure to sustain it, they have flourished. But those countries which had no reason to go into a federal setup or didn’t have the right set of circumstances for it, they have floundered and witnessed civil wars. Take the cases of
Even though the Interim Constitution has provisioned for a federal democratic republic, all powers are still concentrated in Singaburbar.
What do you propose should be done to empower people in real sense of the term?
K.C.: As I said, the answer to
Then there have been talks of distributing states on the basis of ethnicity. With over 100 ethnic groups, whom to you allocate states to and whom do you leave out? And will those who are left out agree to such a setup?
Besides, it’s the CA which should decide the state structure. But there has been no debate in the CA about it. There should be at least 1-2 years of discussions regarding the benefits and drawbacks of federal system. If such broad-based discussions had been held, people would have understood how unsuitable federal system is for
The country is already a federal democratic republic. In this climate, how meaningful is your slogan of anti-federalism?
K.C.: Our anti-federalism protests started after the country decided to adopt a federal set up. We believe that either Nepalis will have to say no to federalism or federalism will deny
You say the country will disintegrate if it federalises. But only a few fringe parties support your position. Why do you think the big political parties don’t understand this fact?
K.C.: They pretend not to, but they do. There are two types of people in the big parties. One: those who believe that the unified, feudal state with corrupt bureaucracy will improve for the better when the country federalises. They believe a federal set up will empower the marginalised and bring sovereignty back to the people. They genuinely believe in the goods a federal
The second camp is comprised of those who have been forced to accede to federalism as their mother parties have opted for it. They equate opposing federalism to opposing their parties. They are sceptic about the federal setup even though they cannot express themselves openly.
Overall, how do you assess the role of big political parties vis-à-vis federalism?
K.C.: I believe most of them realise what a dangerous proposition federalism is to
And how do you see peaceful struggles of different ethnic groups?
K.C.: We support all ethnic groups who have been fighting against historical discrimination and social, political and economic exclusion. But just because they have been wronged isn’t any basis to divide the country.
The Maoists say that many ethnicities have developed as nationalities and hence deserve to run their own affairs.
K.C.: This is a totally wrong and misleading concept. There are still adivasis and janajatis in
Do you believe you will be able to convince others of your position?
K.C.: See, all speakers of truth are first in the minority. Those who first said that the earth is round were persecuted. People avoided us when we spoke against the Rana and Panchayat regimes. They used to make fun of us: what was the use of protesting when the king himself had introduced it and the issue was supposedly done and dusted? But in time people came around to seeing the deficiencies of the Panchayat and Rana regimes.
Likewise, the people who now harbour the illusion that federalism will cure all evils will one day realise their folly. People will one day rise up against federal system to protect the country’s sovereignty, nationalism and national integrity. It isn’t all that important how many members of CA support us. More important is the legitimacy of our issue, as it is the people who are the ultimate deciders, not the parliamentarians.