Nepal’s battered prime minister, K P Sharma Oli, was under fresh assault on Thursday, including three former prime ministers and his own party leaders, to meet with Indian R&AW chief Samant Kumar Goel without keeping them in the loop.
Former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who is also Executive Chairman of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, Jhalanath Khanal and Madhav Kumar Nepal, former Deputy Prime Ministers Bhim Bahadur Rawal and Narayan Kaji Shrestha held separate group meetings, and some of them took to the social media to condemn Oli. They asked him to provide details of the meeting with the R&AW President, which lasted more than two hours, almost until midnight on Wednesday.
Goel and his team had flown to Kathmandu on a special flight. They were also said to have met opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, and Madhes-based leader Mahantha Thakur separately during their almost 24-hour stay in Nepal, where there is fresh political turmoil.
The R&AW Chief’s visit, ahead of Indian Army Chief General M M Naravan’s scheduled visit next month, comes at a time when India and Nepal are trying to restore relations, severely damaged following an escalation of border disputes, and Nepal’s publication of a map this summer to include areas of the Indian state of Uttarakhand.
Prachanda, it is learned, told his followers that while he is responsible for holding the unity of the party intact, Oli’s “misdeeds” will force him to take the government to the mission.
“This meeting, leaving the party and the ministry concerned in the dark, calls for an explanation from the Prime Minister,” Prachanda said to the meeting, which included two ministers.
Khanal and Madhav Nepal, it is learned, also said that such a meeting between the Prime Minister and the R&AW Leader “was clandestinely counterproductive to national interests.”
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s press advisor, Surya Thapa, said that Goel had a “courtesy meeting” with Oli. He said that Goel underscored the smooth ties between Nepal and India, resolved outstanding problems through dialogue, and continued mutual cooperation. He didn’t explain it anymore.
Former Foreign Minister and NCP Central Secretariat Member Narayan Kaji Shrestha wanted to know the essence of Goel’s visit – whether it was in a personal or official capacity – and the agenda for discussions with the Prime Minister.
Bhim Bahadur Rawal, former Minister of Defense and member of the Standing Committee of the Party said that the timing and manner of the meeting were “not acceptable.”