Kathmandu: It was not a faux pas.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda was addressing a public program to launch the book Roads to the Valley: The Legacy of Sardar Pritam Singh in Nepal written by Kiran Deep Sandhu, the daughter of Pritam Singh, in the capital on Monday. And while appreciating the role Pritam Singh played in enhancing Nepal-India relations, he ended up saying something that has become a matter of controversy and widespread condemnation in Kathmandu.
Sardar Pritam Singh has played a special and historic role in enhancing Nepal-India relations, especially people-to-people ties, the PM said. He keeps interests not only in transportation and education sectors but also in politics, the PM went on saying.
“He [Singh] once made several efforts and hard work to make me the prime minister. He went to New Delhi several times [to make me prime minister] and continuously held several rounds of talks with political leaders in Kathmandu for that purpose,” he said.
While CPN-UML and senior vice president of Rastriya Prajatantra Party Rabindra Mishra have called the remark an act of treason, RPP Nepal chair Kamal Thapa said it is an example of self-surrenderism.
This is not the first time he has tried to appease India. In February, 2021, he had made a similar remark. While speaking to journalist Rishi Dhamala in his television show he said that a new coalition without CPN-UML would be ‘comfortable’ for India.
UML chief Oli was at the helm of the government at the time.
This time, however, Prachanda’ remark that Pritam Singh lobbied with New Delhi to make him the prime minister has earned him a fair share of condemnation from the political parties, civil society as well as the social media users. He has been criticized for spreading the message that not Nepal’s sovereign parliament and sovereign people but New Delhi decides who becomes the prime minister of the country.
Main opposition CPN-UML has raised strong objections to the PM’s remarks saying that this amounts to nothing less than a treason. “The Prime Minister is elected by the parliament. The remark that the PM is made by India is objectionable,” Mahesh Bartaula, the UML spokesperson told Nepal Live Today. Apparently, UML is going to raise this issue in the parliament as well.
Kamal Thapa, the chairperson of Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal, has also objected to the PM’s remarks. “This is an example of self-surrenderism (atmasamarpanbad),” Thapa wrote on Twitter. “He has shamed the entire political sphere of Nepal.”
Likewise, Rabindra Mishra, senior vice president of Rastriya Prajatantra Party, has also called the PM’s remark a treason.