Baburam Bhattarai: He was the foreign secretary of India when the 12-point agreement was signed and the Indian ambassador to Nepal before that. It's natural for him to meet those he knew then. I played an important role in the peace process and interim constitution writing. Chairman Prachanda was at the centre of leadership but I used to lead the talks team in practice. Although Saran came on the eve of the PM election, his concern was the peace process. He expressed his concerns about the peace process with me, and then separately with chairman Prachanda.
Did the party arrange separate meetings with Saran?
That's right. It was the party's decision, and I briefed them afterwards. I was taken aback by the comments made by an individual; it is also against party discipline.
Are you saying the party should take action against Barshaman Pun?
Naturally, it is a subject of discussion in the party. It is vicious to speak like that, I call it an infant child disorder, like Lenin used to say. I don't want to give it much importance. What could be more childish than distorting the truth?
Your chairman is running for prime minister under a majority system while you support a national consensus government. But your meeting with Saran has been viewed as an attempt on your part to become prime minister.
This is a false and baseless allegation. Peace and the constitution are the needs of the hour. All energy should be concentrated on constitution writing and institutionalising past achievements; for this a consensus government is inevitable. As the biggest party, we should get the leadership of a national unity government. The process now is a majority system but the ultimate goal is a national consensus government. I am in line with the party line.
What is the way out then?
With the failure of the fourth election, we have decided to initiate an attempt for consensus. We proposed the withdrawal of our candidacies to the NC on Monday morning.
What did the NC say?
Ram Chandra Poudel did not really respond; he gave us a wishy-washy answer.