Santosh Pariyar: RSP is not anti-federalist

Pratik Ghimire

Pratik Ghimire

Santosh Pariyar: RSP is not anti-federalist

Newly-formed Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) has joined the government despite internal differences on the matter as well as divergent public opinion. Chairman and leader of RSP’s parliamentary party Rabi Lamichhane is helming the Ministry of Home Affairs amid lots of expectations and speculations from different quarters. The nascent party has also come under criticism for not unveiling its ideology and showing anti-federalist tendencies (The party did not contest provincial elections). Pratik Ghimire of ApEx talked to Santosh Pariyar, a member of the House of Representatives representing the party.

Are you happy with your party joining the government?

I don’t find any reason to be unhappy as this decision was made after discussions within the party committees and parliamentary party committee. We are in mainstream politics and joining the government is the only way to deliver on the promises we made. 

This decision has caused disputes in your party. Will it impact the party’s future?

Different members of a democratically-run political organization can have different views. That is the beauty of such an organization. I don’t think this (difference of opinion) will have a negative impact on the party. It doesn’t mean there’s no room for opinion that is different from the party line. Differing voices are equally important because we built this organization together, after all. These disputes can be resolved through intra-party talks.

How will we perform from the positions of power? That is what matters the most. If we can bring peace and prosperity, we will definitely emerge as a successful party.

Will this focus on the government not hamper the expansion of party organization?

Though a new party, we have a large number of members with only a handful of members in the parliament. Also, only a couple of us will be in the cabinet. There are more capable members to run and expand the party structure. We will run both the government and the party in a balanced manner.

People have high hopes from the ministries you get. How will you meet them?

That people have faith in us is a matter of pride for us. Now, it’s time to not let the people down. Our major priority is a corruption-free nation because corruption has become a (kind of) culture here. Corruption has prohibited people from fulfilling their basic needs like education, health and employment. We will work and deliver on each promise we made during the election campaign.

Is your party anti-federalist?

This is a wrong narrative. We are not anti-federalist. We have asked for a directly-elected provincial chief and advocated a better provincial system. Our demand is that provinces not be turned into recruitment centers. Then how can we be against federalism? 

We didn’t vote in the provincial ballot because we were not in that particular race. Being a political party, why would we vote for other parties? This was the real reason, while a wrong narrative prevailed. We couldn’t clarify our stance and that was, I think, our mistake.

As for our ideology, it is inclusive democracy with social justice. How they define it with existing trends like leftist, rightist or centrist is up to the people and political parties.

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