Kathmandu, Dec 4: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ today revealed that there was pressure from some quarters in India to make Nepal a Hindu Rashtra.
Talking to journalists at his office in Singha Durbar, he said when they ask me to restore Nepal’s status as a Hindu Rashtra, my standard answer has been, ‘why don’t you with one point three billion population that has 80 per cent Hindus make your country a Hindu state first?’ He did not identify India but through all descriptions, it was the neighbour next door that was suggesting all this to him.
PM Prachanda challenged the advocates of Hindu Rashtra and Monarchy to bring about the changes in the political system through constitutional means as ‘there is nothing irreversible except the territorial integrity of the country, its independence and sovereignty.’
He said Democratic Republic is the best system invented by human genius and it cannot be substituted with ‘Feudal autocracy’ and called upon people including journalists who contributed to establishing it in the country.
Without mentioning India’s name but making it very obvious, he said ‘I have been telling people giving such advice from outside that Nepal is a democratic secular republic and will remain so.’ He said warning ‘collapse of Republic order will be the natural corollary if Secularism collapses.’
Referring to a recent suggestion by Sher Bahadur Deuba, Chairman of the Nepali Congress and the biggest partner in the ruling coalition, he said while it is true that Deuba said that but his party’s central committee stood by secularism and the ‘matter rests there.’
PM Prachanda said he is hopeful that the border dispute with India over Kalapani, Limpiadhura and Lipulek can be sorted out and he trusts assurances given by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to India from May 1 to June 3 this year.
Quoting Modi, Prachanda said the two sides should sort it out diplomatically through dialogue and based on evidences. ‘Best course will be for India to return the territory,’ PM Prachanda said, however ruling out such a possibility.
But he was happy that India is cooperating on previous agreements on hydro-projects. Next month, India’s Minister of External Affairs is coming to Nepal and the long pending DPR (Detailed Project Reports) of the 10,800 Megawatt Pancheshwar project will be made public, and the Asian Development
Bank has been approached for assistance. He will also be laying the foundation of another mega project–Budhi Gandaki–soon but did not divulge details.
When asked about reports of Nepalis being recruited in the Russian army and killed in the war with Ukraine, PM Prachanda said that the government of Nepal has written to all the governments it has diplomatic relations with not to recruit any Nepali in their army, with the exception of those it has formal treaty with. The issue came to light last week when the Russian Defence Ministry informed Nepali embassy in Moscow about six Nepalis in the war with Ukraine.
About the controversial deal made by Ncell and selling its share, he said while the government is seized of the matter and going to form a team to suggest the next course, he said ‘the buyers and sellers just cannot ignore the government and do whatever they like.’
To another question about the government stance on same sex marriage, he said ‘I am for it at personal level.’
PM Prachanda said he was open to review the government decision banning TikTok and solicited suggestions from all sides when the relevant bill came before parliament. ‘K P Oli was insisting that TikTok was ruining the society and Deuba concurred. Even I felt there was merit in that and decided to ban it.’
He said the demands of the provinces defining their jurisdiction on education, health and policing will be addressed. ‘I have even told the Chief Ministers that if they agitate, that will help me to take early decision which I should have taken long ago, actually during my first tenure as Prime Minister.’