In 2005 and 2006, in addition to the authoritarian regime that [King] Gyanendra had imposed on us, there was violence all over Nepal due to the Maoist ‘People’s War’. It was causing unnecessary deaths, disappearances of people and humanitarian crimes. The Maoists were making all kinds of demands for a new constitution. Some of these were what we as civil society actors were also demanding, and we began to think of ways to bring them to the table to talk peace, to talk about regime change of a sort that would also be acceptable to the established parties.
We faced challenges in making a clear demarcation between the parties and ourselves. The movement called for by the political parties did not pick up speed on its own. People were fed up with them, just as seems to be the case now. The civil society activists who used to come to our meetings were professionals wanting to talk shop, but we had to have mass meetings to mobilise people’s support. We went to the people, from house to house. In many places, I remember people saying they would support us if it was our programme. And we had to explain who we were – civil society actors who mediate concerns between the people and the parties; but we are not political parties, we do not run the government. Because we explained this and perhaps because of our actions, we got the support that we did.
Politicians have to run the party and have to provide the spoils of office to their supporters. I am not a politician. I am truly independent. I love being a citizen. That is the most powerful position in the world.