Muni spills all; but how much of all that is true?

‘B P (Koirala) had actively supported the government of India during the war for Bangladesh and also in the process of democratisation and integration of Sikkim’ writes S D Muni, a well-known Indian academician with substantial influence on India’s Nepal Policy.

In his latest book–‘Dabbling in Diplomacy’– Muni makes the above claim, part of it claimed to be factually incorrect, going by some of B P’s close relatives and leaders in the Nepali congress, the party that he had founded.

“I have not read the book, but if Muni says B P supported Sikkim’s integration in India, it is factually incorrect. What is true is yes B P actively supported the war for liberation of Bangladesh,” a member of the extended Koirala family told Desh Sanchar, not wanting to be ‘named’ now, but promising to respond formally after reading the book.

B P Koirala had returned to Nepal in December 1976 after nearly eight years in exile in India with a call for national reconciliation in the aftermath of Sikkim’s integration. His reconciliation call was a prescription for the Monarchy and Nepali congress to work together to safeguard its ‘independence’, and implied fear was that conflict between the forces representing nationalism and democracy might invite external threat.

Muni also makes claims about so many Nepali politicians seeking his favour to acquire constitutional posts, like Damannath Dhungana in 1991.  ‘–Damannath Dhungana asked me to support his case with Girija Babu for the post of Speaker of the parliament’, he claims, adding ‘I met Girija Babu to convey Daman’s preference.’

Muni mentions about surprise visit from Rameshnath Pandey to his JNU residence soon after the formation of Girija Prasad Koirala government asking him to recommend for a ministerial berth, something Muni apparently did not oblige.

Muni also claims that India’s senior minister and congress leader Pranab Mukherjee who became president in 2012 for five years was instigating then President Ram Baran Yadav ‘not to let Bhattarai become Prime Minister’.  The Indian Prime Minister’s office and the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu ,however, supported Bhattarai when he emerged as the Prime Minister candidate in 2011.

Apparently, he conveyed Dr Bhattarai’s complaints to then National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon’, admitting that ‘The examples of India’s Interference in Nepal, however, are numerous and varied.

In another context, Muni quotes Shyam Saran when he was India’s ambassador to Nepal as saying his brief is ‘to extract as much concessions as possible from the king when he is under pressure. I have asked the king to let India open a consulate in Birgunj and he is going to grant this to us.’ Muni’s discussions with Saran that time had revolved round his prescriptions that India must engage with the Maoists and contain Monarchy.

Muni alleges that K P Oli, like the Nepali monarchs, has learnt the art of using anti-India nationalism to safeguard his personal personal power, and blames that the way he raised the border issue has complicated the bilateral relations.

Muni also accuses Oli of breaching the sanctity and confidentiality that effectively sabotaged a planned telephonic conversation between the two Prime Ministers by unilaterally releasing the ‘new map’.

Muni has said earlier, and repeated in the book, about how Prachanda and Bhattarai approached him to connect them with higher Indian authorities, brokered the deal under which Maoist top leaders gave in writing to then India’s NSA Brajesh Mishra a letter committing not to go against India’s interest, a substantial step that led to Indian collaboration with the Maoists two years later.