Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Dahal invokes India

Special Editorial, Nagarik, 23 December

Seven months after having to quit the government, a desperate Maoist party has openly asked for foreign interference in Nepal's internal affairs. This has wounded Nepali self-respect and made the fluid political transition even more unstable. Dahal's speech was unprecedented in Nepal's history, no other political party had ever dared make such an irresponsible statement. It proves just how insecure a leader who was elected from two constituencies has now become. He publicly stated that India is Nepal's 'malik' and made all Nepalis hang their heads in shame. It also exposed the hollowness of the Maoist movement as being one just to get back to power. Dahal's extremist rhetoric was not just undiplomatic and provocative it also exposed the absurdity of a political party of a country talking directly with a foreign country. And if India doesn't invite Dahal for talks, are the Maoists going to punish the Nepali people with an indefinite shutdown? Does he want to hold the Nepali people hostage? The Maoists need to urgently retract such sweeping statements of surrender and anti-nationalism. They need to stop calling for foreign intervention and get back to the work at hand: to write a new constitution through the elected assembly.

Rajdhani, 24 December

Foreign interference in Nepal's internal affairs is growing, and this is creating a backlash. All political parties should take this issue seriously. Foreign diplomatic missions in Nepal must also be bound by the Geneva Convention. There are numerous examples of countries that have expressed their opposition and even taken sterner action against those flouting diplomatic norms. Sudan recently expelled senior UN officials, accusing them of interference. In Nepal, attention needs to be paid to regulate funds brought into the country in the name of development and clear guidelines put forth about how such monies can be used. The government also needs to urgently respond to diplomatic bullying. Prachanda's public announcement that he'd talk directly to Indian 'masters' to resolve Nepal's domestic political dispute is not just absurdly funny, but also objectionable.

Editorial, Kantipur, 23 December

By publicly calling on negotiations with India to end the political deadlock in Nepal, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has linked domestic politics with external relations. Dragging India into the debate has invited controversy. By announcing an anti-Indian protest starting this week, he has descended to the level of dealing directly with India. But today's priority is to find agreement between domestic players in which an external force can only help. Dahal's threat risks giving an entry point and too much importance to India in Nepal's internal affairs. The fact that India wants an open and formal say in Nepal's internal affairs is not hidden from anyone. Dahal's proposal to deal directly with India now makes it easier for India to do so. To be sure, India wants the Maoists to make a 'course correction' by permanently renouncing violence, disbanding the YCL and stop talking about 'state capture'. But instead of allaying Delhi's fears, the Maoists became even more hardline and started to cosy up to the northern neighbour China, which led to Delhi's hardened position vis-?-vis the Maoists. All this is the result of political disunity weakening the state and therefore increasing the influence of outside players. If every political leader in this country starts looking beyond its borders for decisions, there is a danger Nepal's sovereignty will be seriously eroded.

Nepal Samacharpatra, 24 December

Pushpa Kamal Dahal accused India of interference and said since the NC -UML and other parties were working under Delhi's instructions he'd now talk directly to the Indians. Instead of being confined within tripartite negotiations, this statement has internationalised Nepal's internal problems. Such remarks from a senior leader aren't just irresponsible they also put bilateral relations with a neighbour in jeopardy. Nepal's political parties should start seeking solutions to their lack of mutual trust and not turn to foreigners. A neighbour will obviously seek to further its own national interest if we allow it to mediate a domestic quarrel.

Interview with Pushpa Kamal Dahal, BBC Nepali Service, 23 December

Rabindra Mishra: In what capacity will you hold talks with India?
Dahal: Having gone through the media reports today, I realised they did not understand my speech yesterday. It was a sarcastic political comment on the political parties for not having their own stand and waiting for directives from Delhi. It was purely a political satire. Second, Delhi also has its own problems and therefore I pointed out the need for talks with Delhi.

You say controversial things then blame the media for misinterpreting you. You have announced the beginning of talks with Delhi from the podium.
The speech is not against the spirit of dialogue with political parties but it is against Indian interference.

The government holds talks but if the leader of the opposition party says he wants to talk about the 1950 treaty, will India take it seriously?
It does not matter if they listen to me or not. I put forward these issues when I was PM and I raise the same issues as an opposition leader. The real problem is the political parties cannot seem to decide on their own.

We know you took refuge in India during the insurgency, visited the Indian embassy in Kathmandu, and we all saw you hug the Indian PM Manmohan Singh.
The way you mix things up is wrong. I talked to India about unequal treaties, water resources and hydropower development and directly rejected suggestions offered to me which were against the country's interest. But I did not feel that I was the free leader of an independent country.

Nagarik daily says you openly called on a neighbour to resolve our internal conflicts and that this was unbecoming of an an elected leader.
There cannot be an uglier misinterpretation of my speech. I only said I wanted talks but it was distorted. This is yellow journalism.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)