Why did Baburam Bhattarai meet Oli ‘secretly’?

NL Today

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A recent meeting between Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and Dr Baburam Bhattarai has raised a question of his intention. Why did he keep his meeting secret until it was revealed by a leader close to the PM? Why did he choose to meet him at midnight? 

What had happened?

Mahesh Basnet, a CPN-UML leader close to Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, in a recent TV interview disclosed that over the past few days Bhattarai had gone to meet PM KP Oli in Baluwatar in the middle of midnight twice. Basnet further claimed that Bhattarai during the meeting asked Oli to enable him (Bhattarai) to become the Prime Minister of a consensus government.

Following the revelation by Basnet, Bhattarai tried to come clean and wrote on Twitter justifying his meeting with KP Oli: “To show a way out for the country in crisis, I met Prime Minister KP Oli, not KP Oli. I asked him to form a national government in the leadership of someone who is not the incumbent or ex PM. He did not agree to it, so I did not inform anyone else.”

Issues and questions

First, Dr. Bhattarai’s justification that he tried to convince the PM for the national consensus government falls flat. Even an ordinary citizen can tell that K P Oli is not in the mood to be away from the position and power. In this context, his lame explanation is not strong enough to convince the people. 

Second, this claim smacks of double standards. If his party – Socialist Party Nepal – had not supported the Oli government in the past, perhaps the situation would have been different now. In public, he appears to be a leader standing against Oli but could it be that he is supporting KP Oli just like Mahanta Thakur and Rajendra Mahato are doing? 

As a matter of fact, many leaders tend to make a secret deal and make it public or offer explanations only when questions are raised.

Third, if the purpose of the meeting was just to talk about the national consensus government, it could be held during the day. Why did he meet the PM secretly? Why did he try to keep it secret? Is he playing a double role in the whole episode of vote of confidence? 

No responsibility? No transparency?

Dr. Baburam Bhattarai meeting the PM secretly is a recent case in point. As a matter of fact, many leaders tend to make a secret deal and make it public or offer explanations only when questions are raised. Political stand, values, principles everything is ignored in the name of ‘politics’. 

It should be recalled that PM Oli had met India’s R&AW chief Samant Goel when he was in Nepal in October 2020. The meeting was kept secret. Only when the people started to raise questions, did his aides confirm that the meeting had taken place. But what was discussed in the meeting has not been revealed yet.