Prof Bimal Prasad was personal friend of many of the Nepali leaders, especially from the older generation of Nepali Congress. His proximity with Jai Prakash Narayan, a great friend of the Nepali Congress stalwarts like B P and Ganesh Man Singh during their days in exile in India , naturally brought him closer to the Party. His coming to Nepal as an ambassador was therefore a matter of joy for us. But that proximity was not always comfortable for us. However, given his own stature and that of our leaders here, they would sort out any bilateral problem--small or big--with utmost respect to each others' sensitivity.
I remember it was the unfortunate incident of raids by Indian Police at a house in Baneshwar. G P Koirala was the Prime Minister, and he consulted Ganeshman Singh, and I guess Kishunjee also about the gravity of the act, and its implications on Nepal's sovereignty as well as bilateral relation with India. G P was advised to call ambassador Prasad and tell him what the Indian Police did in Nepal was unacceptable, and that it amounted to inference in the sovereignty of Nepal. The ambassador did not disagree. He said it was not intended to undermine the sovereignty of Nepal, and what the Indian Police did was an over-act, an act with over-enthusiasm. He apologised, and assured this kind of act would not be repeated by Indian side.
In Delhi , Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao , almost repeated the same gesture , and told the Nepali side that what had been done by the Indian side was wrong and that it would not be repeated. The response was shared by G P K with the top leaders of the Party in a dignified and confidential way.
The Indian response also had a great positive impact on Nepal's politics. The UML and other opposition parties would have launched the attack on the Nepali Congress as a Party servile to India, and that it did not react or protest even when the Indian Police entered the Nepali territory and raided individual houses in the capital. The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) was in the opposition. G P had already signed the Tanakpur Agreement , and the matter was never brought to parliament although it involved an agreement on Natural resources. UML and the RPP were very critical of the Congress in general, and Prime Minister Koirala in particular. The Supreme court did not accept G P K's plea that it was merely a memorandum of understanding and therefore needed no parliamentary ratification. Even before the supreme court said it had all the implication of a treaty, the UML and other opposition were trying take political mileage out of this. The way government reacted to ambassador Prasad was largely influenced by that background as well. But the dignity and presence of the state was very much intact, and the change of 1990-91 was planned at home, and spearheaded by the Nepali actors unlike the one we saw in 2006.
Some times I however, wonder if Prof Bimal Prasad was the ambassador today, would the NC or our government dared to react in the same manner!
(Courtesy The Reporter)