- Our country is sinking and people don’t know what to do.
- Naya Shakti is like old wine in a new bottle.
- Initiating a movement is more important than contesting elections, for now.
- There’s a need to corner existing parties and their leaders.
Call it a pilgrimage, of sorts. Though living in the United States for 26 years, Darshan Rauniyar visits Nepal once every year.
During each such visit, Rauniyar feels Nepal is going further backward. So, what is the reason behind this? Rauniyar, a politician from the Democratic Party, feels lack of a visionary leadership is to blame. Does he plan to address this slide? He does (so he says). Already, he has initiated a campaign named Movement for Change.
Onlinekhabar‘s Rajkumar Shrestha and Abhaya Raj Joshi caught up with Rauniyar in Kathmandu to talk about the latest political developments and his plans to arrest the slide. Translated excerpts from the interview.
What’s your take on political developments in Nepal?
I visit Nepal every year. And every year, I find the country going down. In fact, our country is sinking and people don’t know what to do. All this is because of the absence of a visionary leader in Nepal. Prithvi Narayan Shah was one such leader, who unified Nepal and gave us a country. King Mahendra wanted to do something. BP (Koirala) fought for democracy, Ganesh Man Singh dedicated his life for multiparty democracy. After that, there was a void in Nepal. I have seen no such leader in Nepal in the past 20-30 years. No one has the agenda for economic development, every politician only talks about political issues.
Lee Quan Yew made Singapore what it is today. Sheikh Mohammed transformed a desert into Dubai. That’s called visionary leadership. We need that kind of leadership. With such a vision in mind, I have been conducting a campaign named Movement for Change, for two-three years. I had thought some leader will emerge from this campaign, in vain. This means people like us will have to come to the fore. I am initiating discussions for the same.
Can you elaborate?
We have to lead. This is what I want now. Why are you people keeping quiet? I am surprised at the state of affairs here. How can you live like this? Do you know what life is? My blood boils when I come here, when I see the country in this pass. In foreign countries, people are making progress and here we are, struggling for water, electricity and two square meals a day.
In every house, there’s a person who shows the child the way. But for Nepal, there was none. Now, we will bring that leadership, visionary leadership, to Nepal. I am ready to lead the country….
You will come to Nepal to engage in politics?
For four years, I have been monitoring Nepal closely. I have been to villages. What I have seen is the need for a visionary leader.
If people are ready to support me, I am ready to leave America. This is because someone has to come to the fore and engage in politics. Youth leaders with political parties will do nothing. I have talked with them all, they don’t have a vision. That’s why I am talking to the people here. If people are ready to support me, I am ready to sacrifice for the country.
You said you are interacting with people. What feelers are you getting from your interactions thus far?
I enjoy strong support. I would not have come back if that was not the case….
What will you do? Establish a new party or become a part of existing one?
I think there should be an alternative force. Dr Baburam Bhattarai has established Naya Shakti. He has put forth development agendas. In my view, here we need an alternative force. Existing political parties and leaders cannot lead it. Look at Baburamji’s background. In fact, the country has come to this pathetic situation because of the Maoists. We have to accept this. He became the Finance Minister and Prime Minister, but what did he do in terms of development? Naya Shakti is like old wine in a new bottle.
First of all, Baburamji should answer three questions. First, they started an armed conflict in a small and peaceful country. After the killing of 17,000 poor, uneducated people, they came to power. They (leaders) used to live in jungles, now they live in bungalows. Still, they have not apologised to people. Is Dr Baburam ready to confess that he made mistakes, is he ready to say to the people: I am sorry for the loss of 17,000 lives?
Secondly, there are talks of his wife’s involvement in corruption. How did they amass property? Is he ready to return the property? These days, he is busy visiting Nepal and foreign countries in the name of Naya Shakti? Where does money for all this come from?
Can he be transparent about this?
Third, what is his vision? I do not know what it is. Is it Maoism, capitalism, democratic vision? How will he form government and run it? Some people are following him, hoping that his party will do something new. But I don’t think this force will solve problems. We need to adopt a different approach. People like me should come to the fore. There are no such people around here.
Have you talked with the diaspora about this?
I have talked with Nepalis based in America, England Australia and other parts of the world. I have received strong support from them. Here too, I have received strong support. They all have promised to support my leadership.
So, you are planning to contest upcoming elections?
Initiating a movement is more important than contesting elections, for now. This is because people here have lost hope, they don’t know what to do. We need to do something during upcoming elections. Currently, I am in discussions about the way ahead, the future course. But let’s be clear on one thing: There’s a need to corner existing parties and their leaders.