A screengrab of a TikTok post which claimed home minister Rabi Lamichhane lauded PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal

After abandoning the Nepali Congress-led pre-electoral alliance and joining the UML-led coalition, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda,’ the chairman of the CPN (Maoist Centre), became prime minister for the third time on December 25, 2022. He received backing from seven political parties, including the Rashtriya Swatantra Party (RSP) led by Rabi Lamichhane.

The RSP chair accepted the deputy prime minister and home minister portfolios, despite having previously stated that he wouldn’t join the government under the leadership of the top three leaders of Nepal’s major political parties. After Lamichhane took his oath of office on December 26, videos purportedly voiced by Lamichhane lauding Dahal went viral on TikTok.

The voice in the video says:

The one who didn’t fear the king, didn’t bow down even when he had a price tag on his head, doesn’t accept injustice, eradicates oppressors, uproots discrimination, speaks out strongly against atrocities and is the messiah of the poor and the destitute, a pillar of support for workers, farmers and  the poor… Prachanda, are you the same person?

On December 26, 2022, a TikTok user  ‘@rajanneupane01’ shared a video of people congratulating Prachanda with garlands. The video received more than 20,000 likes and more than 300,000 views. It has been shared more than 500 times. TikTok user ‘@krishnamgr62’ shared the same clip on December 27, along with a series of photos that show the swearing-in of Prime Minister Dahal, with KP Sharma Oli, the UML chair and Rabi Lamichhane, sitting together. The video’s caption reads, “Honourable Prime Minister Prachanda in the words of honourable home minister Rabi Lamichhane.” It received more than 23,000 likes and has been shared more than 300 times as of December 29, 2022.

Nepal Check fact checked the viral video clip.

We first looked up  “rabi lamichhane on prachanda” on YouTube. It led us to a six-minute video released on July 28, 2020 by ‘@PrajwolSubedi6575’. The video offered context for the viral video. Lamichhane is seen in the video criticising Dahal. Although the clip was not from a credible source, it provided us with a hint. The background music for the video was taken from the television show “Sidha Kura Janata Sanga” [Straight Talk with the People]. Lamichhane presented the popular show on New 24 Television until a few years ago. 

A screenshot of an episode of Sidhakura Janata Sanga show hosted by Rabi Lamichhane

We found the original video using this clue. We followed the thread of the show Sidha Kura Janata Sanga on News 24 Television’s YouTube channel. We then found the show’s 564th episode, which aired  on July 23, 2020. The audio that went viral was taken from the show.

Referring to the Maoist insurgency, Lamichhane said in the episode: 

What was the significance of the sacrifice of the martyrs, who shed their blood in the hope of a brighter future? Was that for what we’re seeing now? I’m standing in Prachanda’s village today not to criticise him, but to remind him of a few things. The one who didn’t fear the king’s rule, who didn’t bow down even when he had a price tag on his head, the one who doesn’t accept injustice, who eradicates oppressors, uproots discrimination, speaks out strongly against atrocities, and who is the messiah of the poor and the destitute, the pillar of support for workers, farmers and all the the poor… 
Are you the same Prachanda? Or are you the one who appears exhausted and beaten, claiming that the prime minister [Oli] duped you into visiting Shital Niwas? Which Prachanda is the real one? If we can’t distinguish now, one wouldn’t be proud of history. One would rather express sorrow.

Rabi lamichhane

What was the context?

On May 17, 2018, the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) was formed following a merger between two leftist parties, the CPN (Maoist Centre) and the CPN UML. The move followed an agreement which saw Oli and Dahal co-lead the NCP. However, the intra-party squabble reached a climax in the summer of 2020, two years after the unification. 

The tensions reached a stage where Dahal and Oli had no substantial communication, according to a news report published in Kantipur on July 14, 2020. In this context, Dahal had visited Shital Niwas, the presidential residence and patched up with Oli. His party colleagues had questioned the visit. Dahal, on his part, said then-Prime Minister Oli duped him and forced him to attend the meeting at Shital Niwas, according to a report published on Onlinekhabar on July 19, 2020.

Lamichhane had brought up Dahal’s turnaround in this context on his show. Lamichhane questioned Dahal about his trip to Shital Niwas and the clarification in which Dahal claimed Oli set him up. Lamichhane, in order to expose Dahal’s flaws, also discussed and questioned his strengths. However, the context is missing in the viral TikTok video clip. Lamichhane had discussed Dahal’s flaws and strengths. However, the viral video has been trimmed in such a way that only the voiceover on Dahal’s strengths is presented, leaving out the part where he discussed his flaws.

ClaimClaimed byNepal check Verdict
Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane lauded prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.TikTok usersMissing Context
Nepal Check verdict after fact checking the claim that Home Minister Rabi Lamichhane lauded Prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.