Nidhi to visit southern neighbour India, Mahara set to tour China

Kathmandu, August 11

A meeting of the Cabinet held here today decided to send deputy prime ministers Bimalendra Nidhi and Krishna Bahadur Mahara to India and China, respectively.

Mahara told mediapersons after the meeting that the government decided to send them to neighbouring countries as the prime minister’s special envoys to brief the neighbours about the formation of a new government, contemporary situation and to improve relations with both neighbours. Mahara said the dates of their visits would be fixed soon.

Talking to journalists at his office later, Nidhi said the purpose of his visit to India was to invite Indian President Pranab Mukherjee to visit Nepal and prepare grounds for Indian visit of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who received invitation from his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the day he was elected prime minister.

He said his visit would also try to normalise ties between the two countries that witnessed a downturn after the promulgation of the constitution.

Nidhi said the purpose of DPM Mahara’s visit to China would be to prepare grounds for Chinese President’s Nepal visit.

On a different note, Nidhi said the government would probably move the process to amend the constitution within six weeks.

DPM Nidhi said the government was collecting data to address other demands of the United Democratic Madhesi Front. He said the government would take a decision within two weeks on other demands of   the front.

The front has demanded that the government declare those who were killed during protests as martyrs, bear the treatment expenses of the injured, form a probe panel to investigate into incidents of human rights violation and violence and withdraw cases against front leaders and cadres.

“There might be some other issues as well, but I believe the issue of provincial boundaries, marital naturalisation and representation in the Upper House are the major ones as far as constitutional amendment is concerned,” he added.

Nidhi said the new coalition was formed to implement the constitution and hold three types of elections before January 21, 2018.

He claimed that the CPN-UML was the main obstacle to the resolution of Madhes problems. “We have been saying from day one that Madhes problem is a national problem.

The CPN-MC has also been saying the same thing, but the UML never admitted that there is a problem in Madhes,” Nidhi said and added that the government would work with the UDMF on the constitutional issues and hold dialogue with the CPN-UML.

When asked to comment on UML Chair KP Sharma Oli’s rigid stance on the amendment to the constitution, Nidhi said, “As far as I know, he had told the Parliament that constitution is a dynamic document and he was ready to amend it.”

He said the constituents of the UDMF should join the government but the front might not do so till the constitution was amended. “The front leaders said they would support us to form a new government but would not join the government till the constitution was amended,” Nidhi said in response to a journalist’s query.