Updated: Jun 7, 2021
Mr. Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, also known as Kishunji, was a gentle and humble human being besides being a committed politician. He was one of the main leaders involved in transitioning Nepal from an absolute monarchy to a democratic multi-party system.
Mr Bhattarai held the post of the Prime Minister of Nepal twice, once heading the Interim Government from 19 April 1990 to 26 May 1991, and then as elected Prime Minister from 31 May 1999 to 22 March 2000.
In his youth, Mr Bhattarai was a journalist. Perhaps that is why we connected so soon. We became good friends during the movement for restoration of democracy in the Himalayan kingdom. He was leader of the Nepali Congress Party. We used to have tea together on roadside shops and discuss happenings in the country. After democracy was established in Nepal, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai became its first Prime Minister. He lived in a simple ordinary house before becoming the Prime Minister. I went to his house for the first interview after he took oath. Several Nepali Congress leaders as well as leaders from other parties were present there to congratulate him.
I still remember, he took me to a small room that had a large very old steel box. We turned it into a table, I placed my recorder and mike over it, and he gave me his first interview as the Prime Minister of Nepal.
The Prime Minister’s official residence was a walking distance from my house in Kathmandu. During the initial period of my posting to Kathmandu, I did not have a vehicle. One day, I was walking back home from the Indian Embassy, and Mr. Bhattarai’ s official cavalcade crossed me. The car stopped a few metres from where I was walking. I still remember this incident vividly.
The Prime Minister lowered his window and gestured me to come, calling out my name. I went up to him and said, ‘what are you doing my dear friend, you are now the Prime Minister of Nepal’. He just parried my question, beckoned me to come inside the car and offered to drop me at my residence. While getting down from the car, I invited him to my residence for a cup of tea. Without any hesitation, he came inside and we conversed over a cup of hot tea. He was a bachelor and always referred to the Bhagavad Gita very fondly.
My friend, Mr. Krishna Prasad Bhattarai was such a down to earth personality.