KATHMANDU, June 17: At a time when opposition parties have mounted protests against caretaker Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai´s visit to Brazil, his political advisor Devendra Poudel has defended the trip.
Bhattarai is scheduled to leave Nepal for Brazil Monday to attend Rio +20 summit scheduled for June 20-22.
"It is wrong to argue that a caretaker prime minister cannot attend any international events," said Poudel at a function at the Reporters´ Club in Kathmandu on Sunday, adding, "It is a childish argument."
However, Poudel stated that the prime minister would rethink his visit only if there is really a big problem in the country. "What would Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML do if they were in the government now," he questioned.
Poudel said that Bhattarai will meet leaders from India, China, the US and Europe on the sidelines of the summit and discuss Nepal´s situation.
Speaking at the same function, opposition leaders accused the prime minister of being irresponsible by deciding to attend the summit.
"When he should be working to build consensus, it is sheer irresponsibility on the part of the prime minister to make foreign trips," said CPN-UML leader Pradip Gyawali. He said that the opposition party will protest the prime minister´s trip by waving black flags at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
NC leader Mindera Rijal said it is ridiculous that the prime minister is making a foreign trip after announcing fresh elections to the Constituent Assembly (CA).
"His actions have justified that the prime minister did not announce the CA poll with the intention to actually conduct it," Rijal maintained.
He said there is no need for Bhattarai himself to attend the summit and that officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can represent Nepal.
Similarly, the chairman of Madhesi People´s Rights Forum (MPRF) and Former Minister for Foreign Affairs Upendra Yadav termed Bhattarai´s scheduled trip as against diplomatic norms and international practices. "It is against international diplomatic norms," said Yadav, adding, "I hope the prime minister will understand this as he holds a doctorate degree."