Upadhyay denies working against national interest

Kathmandu, September 28

Proposed ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay today refuted allegations that he did not work in the interest of the country when he was Nepal’s envoy to the southern neighbour earlier.

During the parliamentary hearing today, Upadhyay said he would work in the best interests of the country and pledged to keep his job above his party’s interests. Udadhyay is also a senior leader of the ruling Nepali Congress. Earlier in May, KP Sharma Oli-led government had recalled him from New Delhi expressing dissatisfaction with his performance.

Meanwhile, proposed envoy to China Leela Mani Paudyal said he accepted the ambassadorial berth to Beijing in order to implement agreements that government had inked with the northern neighbour. Paudyal said his priority would be to implement all bilateral deals, augment trade between the two countries and facilitate construction of trans-Himalayan rail and road corridors as agreed upon during erstwhile PM KP Sharma Oli’s visit to Beijing in March.

CPN-UML lawmakers raised questions over Upadhyay’s morality for seeking appointment to the same post he held earlier, whereas Nepali Congress parliamentarians defended him.

UML lawmakers, including party Chief Whip Bhanubhakta Dhakal had questioned Upadhyay why the latter had not been able to improve Nepal-India relations while he was the ambassador. NC lawmakers, including party chief whip Chinkaji Shrestha, however, defended him, saying relations between the two countries didn’t deteriorate just because Upadhyay was in Delhi but because of India’s refusal to welcome Nepal’s new constitution and the subsequent border blockade.

Upadhyay said the cancellation of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s scheduled visit to India was wrong. The Oli-led government in May had cancelled the Head of State’s visit at the last minute. He said he was unjustifiably recalled though he was doing his best to protect and promote national interests as the ambassador to India.