-  Saturday 24 October 2020

Cong to send high-level team to Nepal

 -  Express India

New Delhi, Jan 30 2008 -  Under fire from the BJP for being a “silent onlooker” even as the CPI(M) assumed the role of an Indian interlocutor and “colluder” with Maoists in Nepal, the Congress has decided to send a high-powered delegation to the Himalayan nation from February 12-14. The delegation, headed by AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh, includes Veerappa Moily, Salman Khursheed, Shakeel Ahmad, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Sachin Pilot and Jitin Prasada. They have their task cut out — to express solidarity with pro-democracy forces and support the Constituent Assembly election scheduled on April 10 which will map the country’s political future, including the fate of the monarchy.

In what looks like an unambiguous message to King Gyanendra, the Congress delegation, which would meet representatives of all Nepalese political parties, including Maoist leader Prachanda, is unlikely to visit the King, according to sources. The Congress has also taken care to keep out any royalty from its delegation, including Dr Karan Singh, who heads the AICC foreign affairs cell, Jyotiraditya Scindia, MP, and Union Minister Arjun Singh.

All the three Congress leaders have deep links with the Nepalese royalty. Karan Singh had even gone to Nepal as the Prime Minister’s special envoy to meet King Gyanendra in April 2006, when the Himalayan nation was on the boil against the monarchy.

The main objective of the Congress delegation is to dispel the “myth” that the party had detached itself from the current political process in Nepal, especially in the context of the royal connections between senior Indian National Congress leaders and the Nepalese royalty. The Congress also came in for flak from Opposition leader L K Advani at a recent summit in New Delhi. Referring to the nexus between Maoists on both sides of the border and the Prime Minister’s concern about the threat from Naxalism to India’s internal security, he had said, “Why then has the UPA government remained a silent onlooker, with Communists in India playing the role of a colluder, when constitutional monarchy was disbanded under the pressure of Maoists?”

Advani said that the BJP backed the aspirations of the people of Nepal: namely, preservation of Nepal as a Hindu kingdom with constitutional monarchy. “Maoism and democracy are a contradiction in terms. The two cannot go together. The monarchy in Nepal was a symbol of its unique national identity and a source of its stability,” he said. The ruling Congress, however, has a different take on Nepalese monarchy. “He (King Gyanendra) has lost the plot. People want democracy. Had he gone along with all political parties, excluding the Maoists, he still had a chance. But he has lost the people’s trust now and we, the Congress, are with the people,” said party sources.

Although it was Nepal Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala who was learnt to have taken the initiative leading to the Congress delegation’s visit to Nepal, the Congress is not convinced about his politics, given his desire to keep monarchy alive as a ceremonial institution, said sources.

Source : Express India

Other articles by reporter Express India

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