Maoist leader Jayapuri Gharti, who has been named Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare, boycotted the oath-taking ceremony.
Along with Gharti, two other ministerial nominees also boycotted the ceremony. All of them are from the Maoist party hardline faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya.
Gharti has argued that she is in politics not our of vested interests, but to fight for the cause of women and the betterment of society.
"So oath-taking is not the major issue; the issue is whether reservations for women are ensured," Gharti said. She is also against the party´s decision to send into government those defeated in the CA elections. "What is the meaning of getting elected by people if losers also get equal political opportunity?" she asks. Excerpts of an interview:
When will you take the oath?
I am not sure. I don´t see the significance of joining the government unless there is guarantee of 33 percent participation of women in state organs. The party should also ensure that the issue is addressed. Oath-taking is not the major issue. If they address this issue I´ll take oath, if not, I won´t.
You did not raise the issue before. You have been pushing for inclusion only since you were nominated for a cabinet berth. Why?
The issue of 33 percent reservation for women is nothing new. We raised the issue during the People´s War and it was also the agenda of the 19-day People´s Movement.
Following this spirit, our party inducted 40 percent women in the Interim Parliament, and later 33 percent in the CA.
The party followed the same principle while nominating candidates for various CA and parliamentary committees.
The interim constitution ensures participation of women in state organs. We had also raised the issue during the formation of previous governments.
I raised this issue not to fulfill personal interests but to uplift marginalized women. We have two issues: 1) the new constitution should ensure 33 percent participation of women; 2) the principle of 33 percent should be followed during the transition phase also.
What are you doing now? Are you holding meetings with the parties and the government?
We had no way to put forward our views. So, 196 women spontaneously descended on the rostrum in parliament and raised slogans demanding proportional representation for women.
Speaker Subas Nembang has drawn the government´s attention to our decision. We have been waiting for the government´s response. We are also discussing the issue with party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
But it is said you did not take oath as that was the decision of your faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya.
That is absolutely wrong. The decision to nominate me was taken jointly by the chairman, Baidya, Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa.
I was clear from the very beginning that the decision to send me into the cabinet of 11 ministers in total would be difficult to defend morally. Even if I join the government, there would be only two Maoist ministers in the cabinet.
Mahendra Pasawan, nominated Minister for Industry, did not participate in the government as Peace Minister Bishwanath Sah, whom Pasawan defeated in the CA election, was given a more important ministry. Sah had not even garnered the minimum vote needed to save his deposited with the Election Commission.
The political parties were able to make a provision for 33 percent participation by women due to the Maoist demand. Why do the government and the Maoists want to deprive us of that right?
The party should formulate clear policy on reservations for women. For now, the party should ensure 33 percent share for women.
We are ready to fight for our rights legally. I won´t take oath unless the government and the party address the issue.
So you are for a legal battle?
Yes, if the government and party don´t address our problem, we will resort to a legal process. All women CA members, cutting across party interests, have come together and formed the Joint Struggle Committee. We have 196 lawmakers. We are coming up with struggle programs.
Do you disagree with the chairman´s sending into government those who were defeated in CA elections?
Mahedra Pasawan has raised this issue very seriously. What is the meaning of getting elected by the people, and what is the difference between losers and those elected? The issues should be debated in the party very seriously. It has to be debated once again.
Our party had decided not to send election losers into government, but that was not implemented. What type of political culture are we promoting?
I totally agree with Mrs. Gharti; the right principles in human being and social lifestyles are solid rocks to not passing over.
But in the meantime I have another special question for the new Minister: as the role tells, she have to put in relevance also the rights and walfare for all the children that havenīt got a normal life and love; what she will think to do? she will join the cause also taken as for the 33% women quota? Thanks in advance