PM defends his controversial remark in India

There is no code as to what Nepali leaders should or should not speak in a foreign country

  • Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba

Kathmandu, August 27

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba defended his remarks on the constitution amendment bill in a joint conference held in New Delhi with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on August 24.

The PM said he was right when he said in India that the government put the constitution amendment bill to vote but the bill failed in the Parliament this time and the government would try again to amend the constitution when it would have two-third majority.

The PM said this at a press conference organised at the VVIP lounge of Tribhuvan International Airport after he returned from his five-day India visit.

“We believe that the constitution should be amended to address the concerns of Madhesi people. Can we not speak of our views on a particular issue?” a visibly angry PM said when a journalist asked him for his reaction to the main opposition CPN-UML’s denouncement of his remarks.

“I said that the constitution can be amended as per the wishes of the people and I hope the UML will also support such amendment,” the PM clarified. He said it was right for him to speak on the constitution amendment bill, as it was the government’s proposal.

The PM said there was no code as to what Nepali leaders should or should not speak in a foreign country and if such codes were formulated on the basis of consensus then he would abide by them.

The PM said his visit succeeded in enhancing bilateral ties and goodwill.

“My visit has succeeded in enhancing confidence between the two countries,” he added. “Assistance will increase for Nepal’s important sectors, such as energy, trade, connectivity, tourism for socio-economic development,” the PM read out from his three-page statement.  He said positive environment was built to effectively implement projects signed in the past.

Asked if he raised the issue of Rs 500 million compensation that India was supposed to pay to affected people of Koshi barrage, the PM said when the Indian side discussed high dam issue, he did raise the issue of compensation. “I told the Indian side that people had lost hope of getting any compensation.  The Indian side has pledged to look into it,” the PM said.

He said he apprised Indian leaders, including the chief minister of Bihar, of the damage caused by floods and both the sides agreed to form a team of experts to address the same.

The PM said both sides agreed to finalise detailed project report of Pancheshwar multi-purpose project within a month. The PM added that Nepal urged India to complete financial closure of Arun III and Upper Karnali hydel projects within the extended deadline.

He said the Indian side informed him that India had given final shape to the DPR of head regulator to be built on Tanakpur dam and link road to be built in Tanakpur area.

The PM said both the sides agreed to finalise letter of exchange relating to bulk cargo and railway service.  He said an agreement was reached to build a technical education centre in the far-western region and GP Koirala Pulmonary Disease Prevention Centre in Tanahun district.  The PM said Nepal would get additional 100 MW energy from India through Kataiya- Kusaha, Parwanipur and Raxaul transmission lines.

Earlier at Indira Gandhi International Airport, the PM was seen off by India’s Minister of State (independent charge) for Communications Manoj Sinha.