Despite claims to contrary, BRB returns empty-handed


Could it not be that references to ‘past agreements’ might include the afore-alluded to compact?

By M.R. Josse

MR JosseKATHMANDU: This sequel to last week’s column, which appeared while Maoist functionary Baburam Bhattarai (BRB)’s much-ballyhooed mission to India was in progress, is penned after his return.

At the outset, let’s examine what he achieved. First and foremost, he was snubbed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with whom his publicists had informed a meeting had been arranged.

While Indian President Pranab Mukherjee received BRB briefly, much more significant is that Mukherjee – a key figure in the Indian government when the regime-change-in-Nepal game via the India-facilitated 12-point pact of November 2005 was formalised – told him (according to his own admission via phone calls to a couple of Kathmandu dailies) that, as India’s Nepal policy had been elucidated by PM Modi, he had nothing more to say on the subject.

Since Modi has not – ever – suggested that India should, a la 2005, intervene in Nepal’s domestic politics, BRB’s plea for precisely such a course of action – publicly voiced by him at a lecture moderated by Shyam Saran, former Indian foreign secretary/ambassador to Nepal – the central purpose of his latest Bharat darshan was NOT accomplished.

Incidentally, his meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj was hardly more productive, from his point of view: she, too, told him that as India’s stance on Nepal had already been articulated by her prime minister she had nothing more to add!

Incidentally, in recent times, the official stance of GOI has been explained by occasional statements issued by the External Affairs Ministry or by explanations in parliament where the overarching point is that matters concerning Nepal’s constitution drafting process are entirely Nepal’s own business.

Subsidiary, and anodyne, considerations sometimes mentioned are the hope that a constitution will be adopted through dialogue between all concerned, keeping in mind past agreements and the mandate of the 2013 general election.

At this juncture it is worth bearing in mind that while reference to past ‘agreements’ have generally been interpreted as those between political parties, one may wonder – especially after former King Gyanendra’s recent assertions and RPP’s Pashupati Shumshere Rana’s disclosure that while the Karan Singh mission of April 2006 had resulted in an agreement by political parties for the retention of the monarchy in some form, it was later overturned by the then foreign secretary Shyam Saran.

Could it not be that references to ‘past agreements’ might include the afore-alluded to compact?

Be that as it may, Saran’s public statement, while presiding over BRB’s talk, expressing doubts that India could replicate a November 2005 drama today hardly suggests that BRB’s plea for Indian intervention in Nepal’s political domain fell on retentive ears.

Given that Saran was one of the principal advocates for the-then Indian government’s demolition of its long-standing ‘two pillar’ policy vis-a-vis Nepal, Saran’s standoffish statement on the subject the other day could hardly have been what BRB wished to hear.

Saran’s anointing BRB with the mantle of ‘a nationalist’ would be worth consideration were his pro-Indian leanings, of ancient vintage, not universally known. As it is, not only is BRB hardly considered ‘a nationalist’ by ‘traditional forces’ in Nepal; even his former colleagues Baidya and Netra Bikram Chand have dubbed him India’s ‘stooge’ or ‘agent’!

One has already noted that in India, BRB changed his ‘Khulla Manch’ tune of revolt: was he scolded for doing so by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, a meeting with whom has not been highlighted by BRB’s aides?

In comments to the Kathmandu Post (7 March), BRB downplayed the wave of criticism that greeted his advocacy for Indian intervention saying, misleadingly, that “neighbouring countries” have an important role to play in Nepal’s peace process.

Firstly, his call for intervention was directed solely at India, not at Nepal’s “neighbours”; and secondly, China, Nepal’s other immediate neighbour, as all know, strictly follows the doctrine of non-interference in other’s internal affairs.

Finally, the familiar smell of intrigue and intra-party disagreements has come wafting from BRB’s senior colleague and travel companion Krishna Bahadur Mahara’s cutting short his visit, (Kathmandu Post, 5 March), reportedly because “he felt humiliated after Bhattarai refused to incorporate him in meetings with Indian bureaucrats and politicians.”

Those serious accusations only reminded me of BRB’s stealthy meeting with Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh and his principal aides, on the sidelines of a NAM summit in Tehran in 2012 – keeping Foreign Minister Narayan Kazi Shrestha out in the cold!

From People’s Review Weekly


  1. Very analytical article! BRB’s over-smartness has ditched him. One feels ashamed when an intellectual like BRB can go so low talking in the foreign soil, humiliating national leaders and inviting foreign intervention, which may lead to the extent of compromising national sovereignty. Is it any wonder if he has been portrayed as incarnation of the infamous Llendup Dorje!