Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
"It’s an internal matter"

What is Baburam Bhattarai's status in your party now?
The change in anyone's status and their responsibilities is our party's internal matter. We don't make them public.

How come, then, you used his position and status in previous press statements?
After our last politburo meeting, there have been changes in the responsibilities of our comrades belonging to all ranks and files. So it is natural to have changes and when that happens there is also an adjustment in policies.

What is Bhattarai's position after the change?
He is still with us. He is devoted to the movement. There is no truth in the rumour that there are differences between Comrade Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai, that actions have been taken against Bhattarai and he has been ousted. The truth is he and the others are still working with Comrade Prachanda.

But you have still not answered my question: what is Bhattarai's present position in the party?
We don't reveal everyone's position within the party. We do so only of those we find necessary. That is our internal matter.

If an issue such as this is an internal matter, then how can the people trust you when you talk about democracy for instance?
We have never lied to the people about our political mission, the ongoing war and our principles.

But wasn't it on these very principles that Bhattarai had differences with Prachanda?
I don't say that there is no difference in the party. But they are not as (serious) as they have been projected outside.

If these differences are not serious, why has Bhattarai been detained by what you call the People's Liberation Army?
It is not true that he has been detained as such. Even Bhattarai's own statement has made it clear that he has not been kept under detention. To keep our leaders safe from enemies, they are provided with security.

That means Bhattarai was just talking off the top of his head when he said he was 'surrounded' by the liberation army?
He has only said that he is with the people's liberation army. Even Prachanda is with the liberation army and so are all the leaders. The fact is that there is a healthy debate on principles related to the progress of our party and movement.

You call it healthy but in the 13-point disagreement Bhattarai submitted to the party's plenum, he argued that a wrong, unhealthy and opportunist trend was emerging.
The issues mentioned in the 13-point or any other such points do not mean that there is unhealthy criticism within the party. The views and differences are being discussed, and all that Bhattarai has said does not prove that the disagreement is actually unhealthy.

Bhattarai says groupism and not political thoughts or principles, is deeply rooted in the party.
We have not said that our party has no problem at all. There are many problems but we have been solving them one by one.

In that case, would you allow us to talk with Bhattarai?
Yes, there is nothing barring us from that. We don't side with any person in the party.

Does that mean Bhattarai and Hisila Yami are undergoing corrective measures now?
We are all committed to corrections because we have a very big mission to accomplish and there is nothing surprising about it.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)