Seven statements that landed Dahal in trouble

Kiran Poudel 08 Jul 2023
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Seven statements that landed Dahal in trouble File Photo

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister and CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is a leader who frequently finds himself embroiled in controversy due to his speeches. Sometimes he is criticized for delivering superficial speeches, even on sensitive issues.

He has even faced lawsuits because of his speeches. Since joining the peace process, Dahal has been known for making controversial statements.

Recently, he sparked controversy by claiming that an Indian-origin businessman helped convince the Indian leadership to make him the Prime Minister.

Listed below are some of the controversial statements made by the former guerrilla leader:

India’s help to become Prime Minister

Speaking at the launching ceremony of ‘Roads to the Valley: The Legacy of Sardar Pritam Singh in Nepal’ in Kathmandu on Monday, Dahal stated that Singh visited New Delhi, India, several times to support his appointment as Prime Minister. Dahal said, “He (Pritam Singh) worked hard to make me the Prime Minister. He also visited Delhi on multiple occasions. He continuously discussed the matter with the party and leaders in Kathmandu.” Dahal’s statement has caused an uproar, with the opposition insisting that House proceedings should not continue until he resigns. Some leaders from the ruling coalition have also expressed objections to his statement. Dahal’s secretariat has issued a statement clarifying that his speech has been misinterpreted.

Proposal to resolve the border dispute

During his recent visit to India, Dahal suggested that Nepal could consider exchanging the Kalapani area with India to gain land access to Bangladesh through its territory. Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Dahal stated that he and Modi discussed possible ways to resolve boundary issues through a land swap, which would enable landlocked Nepal to gain access to the sea. Dahal faced criticism for this statement.

Meeting Shinzo Abe in Nepal

During his visit to Japan in August of last year, Dahal claimed that he had conversations with former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe two or three times in Nepal. Referring to the late Japanese leader, Dahal said that he was trying to arrange a meeting with former PM Abe while preparing for his visit to Japan. Dahal later corrected himself after learning that Abe had never visited Nepal, stating that he had been in contact with Abe through different channels. Dahal received backlash on social media for his irresponsible statement.

A ‘comfortable’ government for India

After the Supreme Court reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives by the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Prachanda stated in a television interview that it would be easier for India and China to work with the government formed by Nepali Congress, his faction of the Nepal Communist Party, and the Janata Samajbadi Party. He said, “What I see now is that the alliance between us, Nepali Congress, and Janata Samajbadi Party is a comfortable equation for India. This is certainly going to be comfortable for China as well.” His statement sparked controversy, and many leaders strongly objected to Dahal’s remarks.

Taking responsibility for 5,000 insurgency-era deaths

During a program held in Kathmandu three years ago, Dahal stated that he would take responsibility for 5,000 deaths that occurred during the insurgency. He said, “It is said that I am responsible for 17,000 deaths during the conflict. This is not true. The truth is that the state killed 12,000 people. If you ask me to take responsibility for the remaining 5,000, I will take that responsibility. I take full responsibility for all the good and bad incidents that happened during the armed conflict.” A petition filed against his statement is currently pending in the Supreme Court.

Criticizing US intervention in Venezuela

As the co-chairman of the Nepal Communist Party, Dahal issued a statement criticizing US intervention in Venezuela’s international affairs. He deemed the incident an unacceptable intrusion into internal affairs and an attempted imperialist coup. Dahal’s statement came after opposition leader Juan Guaid√≥ declared himself as the interim president on January 23, directly challenging the country’s leadership, just two weeks after Nicolas Maduro was sworn in as the President of Venezuela for a second term.

Inflating the number of combatants

In a video released soon after the Maoists entered the peace process, Dahal can be heard discussing how they exaggerated the number of Maoist fighters. He said, “Some say the number of fighters has decreased. But I don’t see it that way. We know the reality, don’t we? We were between 7,000 and 8,000. But we shouldn’t reveal this reality to outsiders. We claimed the number was 35,000. Even after the UN verification, the number came down to 20,000. If we had provided the actual number, it would have been around 4,000.” This speech continues to stir controversy even today.

Published On: 08 Jul 2023

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