KATHMANDU, June 4: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai is in the midst of the storm with the major political forces demanding his resignation, after the tenure of the popularly-elected Constituent Assembly expired without any proper constitutional alternative in place.
With Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), Broader Madhesi Front and a faction of his own Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) led by vice-chairman Mohan Baidya calling him to step down, PM Bhattarai seemed unfazed by the push while talking to Republica Sunday morning at his residence in Baluwatar.
Bhattarai spent Saturday night at a resort in Dhulikhel to take a break. “I took time off to do some reading and writing,” the fresh-looking prime minister said. “I did some random reading like books related to the eastern philosophy and the Mahabharat.”
During the respite, Bhattarai “pondered how the political leadership should move ahead and how the people should be kept united by addressing their aspirations in this situation.”
Responding to a query about his "caretaker" status, Bhattarai ruled out using the term "caretaker". “This government will continue to be the legitimate one until another legitimate government comes into existence.”
Bhattarai seemed quite reluctant in relinquishing his position, saying that it cannot be a democratic thinking to create a vacuum by making his government step down.
Saying that ethnic-identity-based federalism was the real bone of contention between the parties, Bhattarai accused NC and UML of failing to discard their traditional mindset.
“After the two parties refused to accept the ethnicity-based states and my proposal to impose a state of emergency to extend the CA, I had only one option left -- announce fresh election to CA,” Bhattarai further said. “I claim no one is as sad as I am over the dissolution of the CA,” he said. “But this emotional thing has no meaning.”
Asked if he has felt the pressure in the present environment of uncertainties, the prime minister, a patient of high blood pressure under regular medication, quipped, “I would feel content if the current transition is shortened and the country is set on the path of economic development.”